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Course book section (DB) : 12245, formerly 980
Route length: up to 1969: 8.3 km
since 1969: 7.9 km
Gauge : 1000 mm ( meter gauge )
Power system : 600 volts  =
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0.0 Hotel Lindenhof (until 1969)
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Trout Bridge (until 1969)
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0.4 Bad Schandau Kurpark (formerly Stadtpark, formerly Stadtmühlenplatz)
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Botanical garden (formerly plant garden , formerly Ostrauer Brücke)
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Depot switch
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Ostrava mill / campsite
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Mittelndorfer mill
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Forester's house
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Tailor switch
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Wet ground
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7.5 Beuthenfall
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8.3 Lichtenhain waterfall

Coordinates: 50 ° 55 '16 "  N , 14 ° 9' 29.8"  E

The Kirnitzschtalbahn is an interurban tram in Saxon Switzerland in Saxony . The meter-gauge railway runs from Bad Schandau through the Kirnitzschtal to the Lichtenhain waterfall . The train, which has been in operation since 1898, leads into the Saxon Switzerland National Park and is therefore primarily used for tourist purposes. It is operated by Regionalverkehr Sächsische Schweiz-Osterzgebirge GmbH (RVSOE) under the line designation K, although the line designation is not written on the vehicles.

Route description

The Kirnitzschtalbahn at the Lichtenhain waterfall

The route of the Kirnitzschtalbahn begins at the spa gardens in Bad Schandau and ends at the Lichtenhain waterfall south of the Sebnitz district of Lichtenhain , with seven other stops along the way . The entire route is single-track and laid on the side of the Saxon State Road 165 ( Kirnitzschtalstraße ). A little outside of Bad Schandau, between the second and third stop, the depot is right on the route . Crossings can take place at the two alternative points , these are located at the depot (so-called depot turnout ) as well as on the open route between the Forsthaus and Nasser Grund stops (so-called Schneiderweiche ). There is also a transfer track at each end point.



In order to promote tourism, the first plans to build a horse-drawn tram through the Kirnitzschtal came up as early as 1870 . In 1893 the "Executive Committee for the construction and operation of a motorized tram from Schandau via the Lichtenhain waterfall to the Kirnitzschschänke" was founded. A corresponding route was to be built from Schandau train station via Lichtenhainer waterfall, Felsenmühle and Neumann-Mühle to Kirnitzschtalschenke in Hinterdittersbach on the Saxon- Bohemian border. A continuation via Rainwiese (Mezní Louka) , Herrnskretschen back to Schandau as a ring line was also planned .

The route was approved on December 22, 1893, and on March 7, 1894, the Schandau City Council approved. The construction work should be carried out by the Continental Society for Electrical Enterprises Nuremberg . However, the type of drive remained in dispute for cost reasons - the Saxon government refused to operate with steam locomotives , but the Schandau city council did not rule this out. Since various conditions required construction to begin by April 1, 1897, the tracks were laid by May 1897. The decision on the type of drive lasted until 1898 - construction of the power plant did not begin until January 10, 1898.

In the end, only the route to the Lichtenhain waterfall was built. The originally planned route was not implemented later due to cost reasons. The route from the Schandau train station to the city center was never built due to protests by local traders, ferrymen and innkeepers, so that the planned freight traffic was never started. The rush hour traffic therefore played no role.

Track opening

Lichtenhain waterfall terminus around 1910
Kirnitzschtalbahn depot (2011)

The first six railcars arrived in May 1898 , built by Waggon- und Maschinenfabrik AG vorm. Busch, Bautzen . On May 27, 1898 (Whit Saturday) at 12:00 p.m., the first carriages drove from the center in Schandau to the Lichtenhain waterfall, whereby the journey time was extended to around 45 minutes due to some derailments . The Kirnitzschtalbahn was from the beginning a pure excursion train; at that time it only ran from May to October. In the opening year, 80,000 passengers could already be counted.

Beginning time, problems

After the line was opened, derailments remained a problem - each car therefore had a winch and wooden blocks. However, quite often damage to the traction motors and pantographs made operation problematic. Nevertheless, the number of passengers rose to 200,000 by around 1920, and the weak passenger numbers during the First World War and the period of inflation were also survived.

The night of July 26th to 27th 1927 was one of the most serious events of the Kirnitzschtalbahn, at that time a fire destroyed the depot and the entire vehicle fleet. In the middle of the main season, operations were idle for around two weeks. During this time there were first plans for decommissioning. It was not until August 12, 1927 that operations were resumed with borrowed wagons from the Lößnitzbahn . These then operated in the Kirnitzschtal until the end of the season on October 31, 1927. At the beginning of the 1928 season, eleven of its own new MAN vehicles were available again.

In 1939 the closure of the railway was once again up for debate, and a switch to trolleybus operation was planned. With the outbreak of the Second World War , the plans came to nothing. On May 6, 1945 traffic was stopped due to the war.

Post-war, temporary recruitment

Traffic was resumed on June 7, 1945.

On June 23, 1969, the Kirnitzschtalbahn was shortened by around 350 meters to its current length. At that time, the inner city route in Bad Schandau was closed due to the increasing volume of traffic. In addition to the previous terminus at Hotel Lindenhof , the intermediate station Forellenbrücke was also closed. At the same time, the new transfer terminal at Stadtmühlenplatz - now the Kurpark - was put into operation.

Shortly after the shortening, another accident happened on July 21, 1969: At that time, a railcar overturned due to a widening of the track and fell down the Kirnitzsch embankment - all occupants were injured. After checking the route, it was officially closed due to further defects in the superstructure. The repair was delayed further and further due to a shortage of materials and other planned economy factors, so that the traffic could not be partially reopened until July 25, 1972. However, no further superstructure renovations were made. In 1973 there was a head-on collision between two railcars.

As a result, the tension rod system that was still in use was introduced in the same year . With this procedure, only the railway whose driver has the appropriate staff for the relevant section is allowed to drive on a certain route section. The route is divided into three sections: Kurpark - Depotweiche, Depotweiche - Schneiderweiche and Schneiderweiche - Lichtenhain waterfall.

In 1982 another shutdown of the company could be averted for a short time. However, after a train derailed in 1985 and the line was inspected again, traffic had to be stopped again due to further track damage and corrosion damage to the overhead line masts . The operator VEB Kraftverkehr Pirna was aiming for a shutdown. However, after massive protests from the population, this could not be carried out.

Since 1986

A three-car train at the Waldhäus'l stop, 2003

In the years 1986 to 1990 the operating facilities of the Kirnitzschtalbahn were comprehensively renewed. On August 16, 1986 operations were partially resumed. The entire route was reopened in 1990. In 1993 a photovoltaic system was put into operation, with which part of the traction current is obtained. Another reconstruction of the line took place in 2003/2004. With a length of just under eight kilometers, the Kirnitzschtalbahn is the smallest tram operator in Saxony. It runs all year round: one course every 70 minutes in winter and three courses every half an hour in summer. There is also a frequent bus service running through the Kirnitzschtal valley parallel to the train.

On August 7, 2010, the Kirnitzschtal was hit by a severe flood. The route was partially submerged and retaining walls were damaged. The entire historic rolling stock suffered engine damage, so that the operation of the railway was temporarily stopped. Since August 28, 2010, the regular service between Kurpark and Beuthenfall has been resumed according to a special schedule, with restrictions, but the usual 30-minute intervals were guaranteed. In December 2010, the Dresden Regional Directorate approved funding of 1.8 million euros to repair the flood damage. Since December 14, 2012, the train has been running again to the Lichtenhainer Wasserfall terminus .

In the regional plan Upper Elbe Valley / Eastern Ore Mountains the following planning target is: The Kirnitzschtalbahn should receive as a historically important transport for the development of parts of the Saxon Switzerland and the current endpoints beyond the Elbe ( ferry , train , Saxon Steamship Company ) and to Neumannmühle extended become. In a feasibility study it is now to be examined whether and in what way an extension of the Kirnitzschtalbahn between the national park station Bad Schandau and the Neumannmühle in the Kirnitzschtal as well as its further development into a modern means of transport integrated into the local public transport will contribute to the environmental compatibility of visitor traffic in the national park region of Saxony Switzerland can be done.

Passenger numbers

  • 1898: approx. 80,000
  • 1922: approx. 200,000
  • 2008: 209.721
  • 2009: 203.118
  • 2010: 155,817 (restricted operation due to flood damage)
  • 2011: 170,794 (restricted operation due to flood damage)
  • 2012: 191,964 (restricted operation due to flood damage)
  • 2016: 201.278

Source: Passenger numbers 2008–2012 Pirna District Office


The historic railcar 8 (built in 1938) in front of the depot
A Gothawagen being moved in Bad Schandau
Car number 9 on July 29, 2018

The initial fleet consisted of six glass-enclosed railcars and six sidecar without panes with curtains. These vehicles were made by Waggon- und Maschinenfabrik AG. Busch, Bautzen . All twelve vehicles fell victim to the depot fire of July 27, 1927 and had to be replaced by rental vehicles from the Lößnitzbahn from August 12, 1927 . In 1928 the Lößnitzbahn vehicles were able to go back to Radebeul , eleven new MAN railcars and sidecars had arrived in Bad Schandau. Only one "Loessnitzbahner", a loan , remained as a work vehicle and went to the Lockwitztalbahn in 1954, when its siblings had been scrapped more than 20 years ago , where it was in regular service until 1968.

In 1977 the Kirnitzschtalbahn took over five railcars from the Lockwitztalbahn, which were no longer needed after its closure. The vehicles were built between 1938 and 1944 for the Erfurt tram , for this reason they were called "the Erfurt". Around 1984/1985 these cars were given couplings for normal standard sidecars. In 1984 equipment sidecars of the type B2-62 arrived at the depot. In these sidecars, the Leipzig car body was placed on a chassis of a Halle vehicle.

Between 1992 and 1996, three were Gotha - bidirectional motor coach from Plauen tram and another by the Zwickau tram adopted. Two more Gotha sidecars from Zwickau were taken over in 1996 and 1997. All existing Gotha vehicles were extensively modernized in the 1990s. Thus the "Erfurt" could be completely replaced. In 2007 the former car 103 of the Jena local transport company was added. This car was in the meantime exhibited in front of the station building of Radeburg on the Lößnitzgrundbahn .

The floods in the summer of 2010 damaged railcars 5, 8 and 9 as well as the sidecar 12. A call for donations was launched for the severely damaged railcar 9. The vehicle has been repaired and has been operational since March 2012.

Guest vehicles

In 1993, a low-floor wagon was the first guest on the Kirnitzschtalbahn. This was the MGT6D 500 of the Halle (Saale) tram , it was in use from July 13th to August 19th. A vehicle of the same type, car 612, as well as the historic railcar 21 of the Plauen tram were in use in 1998 at the vehicle show “100 Years of the Kirnitzschtal”. The procurement of low-floor vehicles failed due to the financing of the vehicles and the follow-up costs for the route conversion.

Where other vehicles remain

The historic railcar 6, built in 1943 by the Gothaer Waggonfabrik, was handed over to the Halle Tram Museum in Halle (Saale) in 1993 and is preserved there as an operational historic train. Sidecar 13 (MAN, 1928) came to Cottbus.


  • From 1904 to 1921 the Bad Schandau elevator was supplied with electricity from the railway's overhead line.
  • Alongside the Woltersdorfer tram and the Naumburg tram, the Kirnitzschtalbahn is one of three German tram operators that exclusively use older two-axle vehicles.
  • Another special feature is the approximately 360 square meter photovoltaic system on the roof of the depot, which generates around a fifth of the electricity required to operate the railway. The first solar system was built in 1994.
  • Unusual is the track layout on the side of the road (on the right, as seen in the direction of the Lichtenhain waterfall), as it used to be common on many single-track tram routes. This is why the trams traveling in the direction of Bad Schandau come towards normal vehicle traffic on the "wrong" side, which requires increased attention from motorists.
  • Although the Kirnitzschtalbahn wagons are bidirectional vehicles , only the doors on the right-hand side as seen uphill are used. The sidecars only have doors on one side. This is possible because all the stops at the Kirnitzschtalbahn are on the same side. This rare form of operation (bidirectional operation with one-sided doors) is also available on the Drachenfelsbahn , the Gmunden tram , the Italian railway line Trieste – Opicina and in Wales on the Talyllyn Railway and the Corris Railway .
  • In 2008, the Wagenhalle served as a backdrop for the filming of the film The Reader . The film shows a short scene with a moving tram at the exit of Bad Schandau.
  • The program Eisenbahn-Romantik was devoted to the tram route in episode 115 of November 3, 1994.


Like the other means of transport of the RVSOE, the Kirnitzschtalbahn is also integrated into the Upper Elbe Transport Association (VVO). In the tariff, however, this integration only applies to season tickets ; an increased special tariff applies to single tickets and day tickets. The Kirnitzschtalbahn is one of the few means of transport in the VVO that is not part of the Dresden semester ticket . However, free transport for severely disabled people is recognized. The tickets are sold by the drivers, on days with high traffic a conductor takes over this task.


  • Andreas Laube: The construction of the traffic routes and the transport of travelers in the Kirnitzschtal from Schandau to the Great Waterfall. In: Petra Binder (Ed.): On roads, rails and paths. Country calendar book 2011 for Saxon Switzerland and the Eastern Ore Mountains. Schütze-Engler-Weber-Verlag, Dresden 2010, pp. 130-138, ISBN 978-3-936203-14-1 .
  • Helmut K. Missbach: Saxon overland trams since 1898 . Transpress Verlag, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-613712-43-1 .
  • Oberelbische Verkehrsgesellschaft Pirna-Sebnitz: The Kirnitzschtalbahn from 1898 to 1998. A 100-year history. Tierbs publishing and printing company, Pirna 1998.

Web links

Commons : Kirnitzschtalbahn  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  2. System of signal rods ( Memento of the original dated December 12, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. at @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. Flood in the Kirnitzschtal
  4. Kirnitzschtalbahn financially in the dry
  5. District of Saxon Switzerland - Eastern Ore Mountains - Can the Kirnitzschtalbahn be extended? Bad Schandau receives LEADER funding for feasibility study. Retrieved July 21, 2019 .
  6. VVO with fable year 2016 , Dresdner Latest News from July 15, 2017 (online at )
  7. Tourism-oriented offers of the OVPS - Oberelbische Verkehrsgesellschaft Pirna-Sebnitz mbH (PDF) District Office Pirna. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  8. a b c fleet statistics ( memento of the original from May 3, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. at @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  9. ^ Radeburg tram departs , Sächsische Zeitung of November 9, 2007
  10. Appeal for donations to repair the flood damage from August 2010
  11. Historic railcar 6 of the Halleschen Straßenbahnfreunde e. V. at
  12. Solar energy for the Kirnitzschtalbahn. Retrieved October 13, 2013 .