Inspired by Josh Schenk´s coffee making trip in a minus 11 temperature we cycled along the Dransfelder Ramp a lost railway in Göttingen where we enjoyed sunshine and warm temperatures.
The development of a ´national´ railway system in Germany was originally stymied when rail builders had to negotiate with a myriad of mini states which governed independently from each other and they could set their own tax and trade restrictions. It was not until 1871 that Germany was formed and ruled by the Prussian Kaiser.
Decisions made in more recent times have seen massive rail line closures with the general thinking being that the car and lorry would replace the train leading to a landscape and the urban environment being dominated by both. Amongst so many there is in London the Finsbury Park to Alexandra Palace route and here there is the Gartetalbahn which once ran between Göttingen and Duderstadt. On this ride, we ventured upon the Dransfelder Ramp once part of the Hannöversche Südbahn. This line opened in 1853 from Alfeld to Göttingen and it remains open, the middle section where we rode opened in 1856 and was subsequently extended to Kassel via Hann. The Dransfelder Ramp has been closed since the end of 1990´s.
One of my most favourite German TV shows is Eisenbahn Romantik, this programme started broadcasting in 1991 and to this day it is hosted by Hagen von Ortloff (its wonderfully to see his clothing etc. change over the years). On Eisenbahn Romantik they feature people who look after heritage railway lines and they often tell of how some are working to reopen lines not just for old steam trains to be run but also as transport between villages etc. People lament that they were too fixated upon the car and now regret not fighting to keep the lines open. They have kindred spirits in Britain where mention of the Beeching Report (1960´s) will bring shivers down the spine of almost all train fans.
The Dransfelder Ramp of the Hannöversche Südbahn features a tunnel, bridges, and vestiges of the railway infrastructure. It seems that initially after closure some of the rail track was stolen by metal dealers when the price was deemed not cost effective to be sold by the authorities.
The Dransfelder Ramp is now part of the Weser-Harz-Heide cycle route running via Göttingen from the Weser River to the Harz Mountains.
The railway was built within the Hannoverian Royal House borders with a combination of cuttings and embankments. Now asphalt dominates the surface to just past Groß Ellerhausen where dirt and gravel takeover, here you really get the feeling that you are on an abandoned railway as you climb progressively a 180% turn for over 10 kilometres to the high ground.
At the B3 road at Rischenkrug is where the bike path stops and we opted to ride through the forest to Dransfeld via Ossenfeld. After Dransfeld we rode a good chunk of the black stuff (cycle path) until near Scheden where again there was a strong echo of the line (a signal post is still in place). From the cycle path we could see the old railway and it seemed rideable to us and so next time we will ride it instead.
We left the rail line at Scheden returning home via Jühnde on farm, forest, and asphalt roads. (we will complete the tour to Hann Münden another day)
We rode our bikes in road mode with gravel tyres well inflated and on reflection a good road bike with some tyre clearance would have been OK.
Garmin Connect: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/6327668796