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The Selketalbahn is not exactly fast. Good thing, because then there is enough time to look! A (leisurely) ride through the Harz Mountains.
Once a day, it hisses and steams in the wild Selk Valley in the Harz Mountains. Since 1887, the Selketalbahn, the oldest narrow-gauge railroad in the Harz, has been traveling daily through the densely forested landscape. Originally, in the days of the Anhalt dynasty, it connected Gernrode at the foot of the Lower Harz with Mägdesprung. In the course of time, further cross connections and stations were added, and today the approximately 61-kilometer network runs from the original station in Gernrode along the Selke River to Eisfelder Talmühle in the Middle Harz. If you take a ride, you will experience steam locomotive romance in front of the most beautiful scenery: At a maximum speed of (only) 40 km/h, the historic narrow-gauge railroad jogs leisurely through the deeply cut Selke Valley: to the right and left of the tracks, the hilly landscape of the low mountain range passes by, lush meadows and fields clear the otherwise densely forested area.
Please get out of the car! In between, you should definitely make a stop. For example, in the historic town of Quedlinburg, whose medieval old town - there are 1,200 half-timbered buildings from six centuries to marvel at - together with the Romanesque castle and the collegiate church have been designated a World Heritage Site by Unesco. The resorts of Alexisbad, where there is even a Schinkel building, and Mägdesprung are also beautiful. There you will find the Carlswerk machine factory, a listed building that is open to the public; inside, processing machines and a wooden crane from 1890 tell of the town's industrial past. By the way, the Selketalbahn also offers special trips. Like the Western Express to Pullman City, where passengers are awaited with a Western show, or a moonlight ride through the Selke Valley.
And for those who want to know exactly: In the museum at Gernrode station, photos and a collection of rail pieces, track construction tools, old tickets and other objects tell about the history of the railroad's origins.
Cover photo: The Selketalbahn, the oldest narrow-gauge railroad in the Harz Mountains, runs daily through the densely forested landscape of the Selketal © Adobestock/Janni
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