Vapor climbs out of the big smokestack as Hans shovels the black coal into the firebox of the old steam locomotive. The majestic locomotive wheels slowly and majestically. A small smile emerges on Hans’ face. He is one of over 40 impassioned traditional railroaders, who, in their free time, work on old locomotives and trains. A passion for technical work and the community mostly drives these people.
In the year 1970, certain train enthusiasts rented the locomotive shed in a former classification yard in Darmstadt-Kranichstein. They began to collect and restore steam and electronic locomotives as well as wagons from all over the world. The railroaders from Darmstadt found one Prussian Locomotive Type G8 in Turkey, which they towed to Darmstadt in 1987, and thereafter restored completely. Presently, the museum owns some 200 railway vehicles; out of these, 40 are railway traction vehicles. The museum also has a collection of original uniforms and a miniature model railroad. All over Germany, there are about 150 heritage railways, which are run by volunteers with a lot of patience. The railroad museum in Darmstadt-Kranichstein is one of the largest in Germany.