We rode out from Göttingen onto the defunct Gartelbahn to Waterloo, and no, we did not pedal as far as Belgium or London.
I had for many years lived in London close to Waterloo and the Station, and now by some odd quirk of fate I find myself living a short bike ride from another Waterloo Station, although now lost.
The story of this Waterloo in Germany began in 1817 when local man Christoph Heinrich Hoffmann built a gasthaus near Göttingen and called it Waterloo.
The link being that Hoffmann had fought at the famous battle of 1815.
The gasthaus became a must visit leisure destination and this status was further enhanced with the coming of the railway age.
In 1896 the Gartelbahn narrow gauge railway was opened through the Garte River Valley linking Göttingen to Dudertsadt.
A station on the line was built adjacent to the gasthaus (between Benniehausen and Wöllmarshausen) and was named appropriately Waterloo. Such was the allure of the food, drink and the social scene at the Waterloo Gasthaus (and others along the line) that people would often travel upon the roof of the train (1957 film link). The train service and gasthaus was especially popular with students from Göttingen (it’s a university city) and the gasthaus thrived until 1957 when the Gartelbahn closed.
A now overgrown bridge abutment at Steinsmuhle
Steinsmuhle – the railway squeezed between buildings and the rock face, now blocked by a garage
Passengers would get off at the Eichenkrug Station and then maybe visit a restaurant situated there (now gone) and walk via the Kapelle Wittmarshof up to the Gleichen Castle(s) ruins. This spot appears in a 1947 film.
The Gartelbahn´s last Waterloo was in the year of closure when the film Der tolle Bomberg was made there (see links below).
The gasthaus burned down in 1986 having been renamed Ponderosa and then Pigalle (being now a seedy club) during its final years.
The cycle path we rode follows the railway line but does deviate at times away from it.
When we got to Waterloo we sang Waterloo Sunset (“Dirty Old River…”) by the Kinks to Gunnar Fehlau who we came across on route.
Der tolle Bomberg (clip with railway): https://www.youtube.com/…
Der tolle Bomberg (complete film): https://www.youtube.com/…
1957 Gartelbahn film: https://av.tib.eu/media/15203
1947 Gartelbahn film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhPftVTpwmo
Garmin Connect: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/8111185482
Pictures taken on previous rides