Having still been infected by the train virus from our recent overnight rail ride to Budapest, it was pure luck that my partner stumbled over this extraordinary one hour excursion just this Easter Monday here in Munich. The Bavarian Localbahn Society, which I honestly had never heard of before, offered a round-trip around the city on tracks which are normally used for cargo transportation. But the speciality: Aboard an ancient train which dates back to 1913. No question that we were in for this short-term adventure.
For just 16€ pp, tickets could be bought online (unfortunately we missed the deadline for that) or right onboard from one of the conductors who were neatly dressed in historic uniforms from that time.
The steam locomotive, a Bavarian PT2/3 carrying the serial number 70 083, was built in 1913. It looked a little small for all the wagons that it was supposed to pull, but a second locomotive was located at the end of the train for extra power.
I remember when I was a child and we visited family in the (what was called back then) DDR (the German Federal Republic) or East Germany, there were lots of steam locomotives in service, even in the 1980´s.
These days, an ancient train like this one is a massive attraction and it did look quite surreal to see it wait at the platform for its passengers to board.
Many people had come to either board the old green wagons and sit on one of the 3rd class wooden benches or to simply watch the train depart, getting a few nice snapshots with the perfect blue sky in the background.
Since we had missed the opportunity to buy seats online, we were lucky enough to find general admission in one of the boarding areas of the wagon, where the doors were located. Luckily, the windows could be opened and we could enjoy wonderful views.
Other people had done the same thing, yet their boarding areas were located in the fresh air. I know it sounds mean, but it was quite entertaining to see how they were smoked during the trip from the dark smoke of the locomotive´s engine.
It was such a fun thing to experience, particularly since we enjoy traveling on tracks ourselves. Comparing this way with modern railways, today´s trains are a quantum leap in terms of speed, comfort and convenience.
But thinking back to the ages where this form provided a state-of-the-art travel alternative, how impressed must the people in the early 20th century have been? Very romantic!
The hour flew by like nothing. We stopped on some old railway bridges crossing the River Isar to enjoy the marvelous view over the city and even towards the Alps. Spectactors were waving and cheering wherever the train appeared, most of them trying to catch a quick snapshot of this historic railway.
A little later, we arrived back to Munich´s Ostbahnhof where the journey began 60 minutes before. The next passengers were already anxiously waiting for the last ride of the day and for the next months.
What a fantastic little excursion! Right after, I paid visit to the society´s website and was more than happy to learn, that the club offers trips in this and other trains on a regular base. An extraordinary experience for locals and visitors who are exploring the area in and around Munich and who are looking to do something a bit off the mainstream sightseeing track!