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The Railroad in Hengersberg

From the ceremonial birth to the lonely death of a railway line


In the year 1795 in England, the home country of railway, a horse-drawn railway was established. 1814 the Englishman George Stephenson built the first usable locomotive. 1825 the first public railway on the line Stockton - Darlington (England) was established.
The first steam railway in Germany was the line Nuremberg - Fürth. It was opened on 7. December 1835. In the year 1839 Munich got its first railway. Only 1860 the county Deggendorf got a connection to the still meager railway network (Geiselhöring - Straubing - Plattling - Osterhofen - Passau).

Prehistory of the "Vorwaldbahn"

Shortly before the turn of the century north the Danube the railway fever arises. No village wants to be missed by the fragmentation of the railway traffic. The townships demanded to build a railway line straight through the "Vorwald" from Deggendorf to Passau. The efforts to build a railway line in our area aroused in 1895.
The negotiations and preparations up to the opening of the destination took nearly 20 years. The main activities for the railway construction came from Deggendorf, because they missed to become railway junction. It was intended to establish a private railway company by the corporation of the local railway Deggendorf - Metten. The construction costs should be applied by issuance of shares. The unprofitability of the local railway Metten was the cause at that time, that the destination to Hengersberg and further to the brown-coal mine Schwanenkirchen did not receive the confidence, that it were worthy of. The necessary construction costs could not be applied. Also the company has not got a permission of the traffic ministry for the project.

The cross course project

"Deggendorf - Hengersberg - 0sterhofen - Eichendorf - Pfarrkirchen - Simbach/Inn"
Deggendorf was very considered on the improvement of its traffic relations. One conducted the building of a standard-gauge railway from Deggendorf via Hengersberg - Osterhofen - Eichendorf - Pfarrkirchen to Simbach am Inn. The destination would make possible a direct connection from Regensburg, the Bavarian forest and Salzburg. Also the inhabitants of Salzburg and the area around the Inn had an advantage. If they want to drive to Bohemia, they have not to drive the detour vie Linz.

Also Winzer wanted a railway connection

Osterhofen wanted to build a railway line from Osterhifen via Winzer to Iggensbach and Schöllnach. Thereby Hengersberg would have gotten no railway connection. One knew, which costs and difficulties causes such a route, because the crossing of the Danube. The project did not come to execution, because with the route only a small part of the "Vorwald" would be subdued.
While a railway convention on 7. May 1907 at the brewery Mueller (Hengersberg) with the topic "Building the destination Deggendorf - Eging" mayor Fuchs of Winzer explained, he only can follow this project, if the line is led in a curve to Ponau and there will be established a station. Mayor Aufschläger from Hengersberg explained that Hengersberg is willing to build an access road from Ponau to the station in Hengersberg on its own costs, in order to make it easier for the customers to come from Winzer to the railway station in Hengersberg. Mr. Muckenthaler, owner of the brickyard in Holzberg, requested the township Winzer to refrain of its past project. He could not see, why, because of only one township, the general interests should be ignored.
In the year 1908 the township Winzer placed the request to lead the line from Hengersberg south close to Winzer and then again north to Iggensbach. By such a far outbending layout of the line the extension will be approximately three kilometers. Schwanenkirchen with its brown-coal mine would have been cut off.

The start of construction

After long, tough negotiations and conceptions the national public authorities could be convinced by the profitability of the railway line. The routing was fixed. 1909 were known that the section from Eging to Kalteneck should be built first, because the volume of cargo is higher due to the here existing stone quarries, then on the upper part of the line. The district committee of Hengersberg met on 28 January 1909 and demanded that the building of both stages should be simultaneous.
Also the stone quarries which lie at this destination (at Deggendorf, Deggenau, Halbmeile, Schwarzach, Auerbach, Engolling, Kaußing, Iggensbach, etc.) bring at least alike much fright as the stone quarries between Eging and Kalteneck.
Some headache caused the routing between Hengersberg and Schwanenkirchen for the planning engineers. The efficiency of the locomotives at that time was not large enough, in order to be able to get over line with steep gradients.
Two routings were present to the selection: Once the line should be lead south of Manzing via Fronhofen, the other possibility was south of Mimming through the lower Lindachholz. Although with this route the road had to be crossed twice, one selected this route because of the lower upward gradient. Substantial difficulties also were caused by the high earth dam behind the bridge toward Waltersdorf. The ground was swampy, the bed slipped again and again, and it lasted for a long time, until (again and again) the accomplished load tests ran for the satisfaction of the construction management.
However there were discrepancies because of the location of the station building. A group of interests wanted the station in Schwarzach, the other one at the today's Sportplatzweg (extension of the Mangstraße). Finally the only correct plan penetrated to build the station lineally to the Deggendorfer Straße. The Bahnhofstraße did not exist at that time. However an obstacle stood in the way of this line. It was the "Sieberbaueranwesen" (owner Emlinger), which was straight at the beginning of the actually road to the railway station. 1912 the property had to yield because of the new "Bahnhofstraße". The Emlingers acquired the "Füchslbrauerei " in the Simon-Breu-Straße No. 12, where they resides also today.

The opening of the railway

On 18. June 1913 the technical test has been executed. The test of the 11,6 km distance has been resulted in no objections.
The 25. June 1913 was a day full of glory, unforgettably for everyone, who was involved. Registered indelible in the annals of the history of Hengersberg. The opening of the railway line was the gratification of a decennia-cherished desire, at the goal of a long combat! No wonder, if Hengersberg celebrates this joyful event as solemnly and festively as possible. (Deggendorfer Donaubote vom 27. Juni 1913)
Roar of guns at 5 o'clock in the morning declares daybreak of the long desired day. Merry singing of the minstrels, marching by the roads, mixed itself with the echo of the gun salutes. The houses along the Bahnhofstraße and the station building were decorated; white-blue flags blew in the wind. Hengersberg was prepared for the big celebration.

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Not unlike a mass migration a endless crowd of people in a good temper went out to the railway station after ten o'clock to take part in the first ride of "our railroad" to Deggendorf and back. Approx. 600 people, including the complete local authority of Hengersberg and all surrounding communes, representatives of the clergy of Hengersberg, Schwanenkirchen and Iggensbach, and others took part in the opening ride, which was expected with pleasure and greeted with jubilation.

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At 11:45 a.m. the train arrived in Deggendorf, where it already was expected by the celebrants. After a stopover of 45 minutes the train returns to Hengersberg. Now the festivity began. Greeted by a strong "hooray", called out by the pupils, school was closed this day, and welcomed by music bands, the train, decorated with garlands and white-blue pennons, arrived at Hengersberg.
Afterwards the music band "Weinast" followed by the pupils, the volunteer fire-brigade, the catholic friendship association with its president chaplain Göblmeier, the medical brigade, the gymnastic club, the choral society, the rambling club, the knight association, the representative of the regional railway administrative office Regensburg (Mr. Fischinger), representatives of the royal district exchange Deggendorf with mayor court counselor Kinskofer followed by the colleagues of the commune Hengersberg, the representatives of the surrounding communes, of the local district court, of the notaries, of the advocates, of the gendarmerie and many others marched by the roads of Hengersberg to the brewery "Mueller".
Approx. 60 persons took part on the feast in the big hall of the tavern. The commemorative speech was held by privy counselor Dr. Bauer (Hengersberg). He thanked the companies, which were involved in building the railway line and gave expression to the hope, that the prospects of the population about the new line will be fulfilled. With a cheer for the well-beloved father of the country, prince regent Luitpold, that was enthusiastically joined by the participants, privy counselor Dr. Bauer closed his approvingly recognized commemorative speech.
Afterwards the management councilor Fischinger from Plattling brought greetings and congratulations of the railway management Regensburg.
The assessor of district exchange, Karner, raised the glass to the management of the royal state railroad and the two chambers of the federal state parliament, which the existence of the railway line is to owe. Mayor privy counselor Kinskofer (Deggendorf) gave a short review about the hard history of the just now opened railway line. District Administrator Mr. Streibl (Hengersberg) expressed the desire and hope that the relations between Hengersberg and Deggendorf, which were sometimes not the best in the past, will be quite friendly in future.

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During the feast the pupils was allowed to make a free trip to Deggendorf and back by train. Joy about that was written in the faces of the children. In the evening there was a large gala concert with the band Weinast in the hall of the brewery Streibl, which was largely attended by the inhabitants of Hengersberg and ended only in the small hours. The speaker of the event closed the day with the words: "Yes, it was beautiful. may it also be beautiful in future. Will the railroad fulfill the desires and hopes, which were set in it! May God grant it!"
On 1. August 1914 the last section of the railway line from Hengersberg to Eging was set to operation. One day later Germany declares general mobilization. Soldiers, who had to go to the balefully first world war, have been the first passengers.

By finishing the section Hengersberg - Eging at 1914-08-01 the prophecies of the "Waldprophet Mühlhiasl" come true:
"Wenn der eiserne Wurm in den Wald kommt, wird's einen verheerenden Krieg geben!"
"Im Vorwald wird eine eiserne Straß gebaut, und wenn sie fertig ist, geht es los."

Train service

Daily 3 pairs of trains were operating. A second vehicle class was not implemented (the first time). The cruising speed was 30 km/h and the journey time to Deggendorf was 30 Minutes. Ticket offices were located at Deggendorf Bahnhof, Deggendorf Hafen, Seebach and Hengersberg.

Price of transportation

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Deggendorf Hbf
Deggendorf Hafen
10 Pfennig
Deggendorf Hbf
20 Pfennig
Deggendorf Hbf
30 Pfennig
Deggendorf Hafen
10 Pfennig
Deggendorf Hafen
25 Pfennig

Delivery of goods

At Hengersberg the normal working hours were valid. In Deggendorf Hafen and Seebach:

  • on weekdays 08:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., 4:30 p. m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • on Sundays and public holidays 09:00 a. m. to 10:00 a.m.

At the stations Deggendorf Hafen and Seebach representatives were working, at Hengersberg railway employees were working. The machine personal was stationed in Hengersberg, where at night the trains were parked. The driving supervision service as well as the business of the supervision station was arranged by the station Deggendorf.

The end of the stagecoach line

As in the daily life genesis and decline, life and death are always closely together, so the birthday of the new railway line brought unfortunately the death of an old and popular feature, namely the stagecoach line between Hengersberg and Deggendorf. Decorated with oak leaves and white-blue pennons, the stage-coachman in traditional costume, the stagecoach drove on 25. June 1913, accompanied by melancholic sounds of the post horn (Song: "Heut muß ich fort von hier und muß Abschied nehmen - So leb' denn wohl, du stilles Haus, ich zieh' betrübt von dir hinaus") out of the village.
The stagecoach had to die, before the railway began to live. Thereby a good old piece of poetry was carried to grave.

The slow dying of the railway line

The railway line Deggendorf - Kalteneck with its important station Hengersberg was the economical artery of the Schweinachgau for six decades.
Toward end of the sixties passenger and goods traffic however shifted to the roads by the general economic development of the post-war period. The reasons for the traffic decrease with the railway were better road conditions, modernization of the traffic and also increased standard of living.
The 65. birthday (1978) of the railway line was no more a reason for celebrating. Examinations of operational efficiency of passenger and also of goods train traffic generated always negative results. By abolition of connections ant the change of the rail passenger traffic to a bus service (on weekends) the train got more and more unattractive and so was used less. After becoming known of closing plans the struggle for the preservation of the passenger traffic began. Communes, county council and politician were called - however nothing could help. After only 68 years on 25. September 1981 at 06:54 p.m. the last passenger train left Deggendorf towards Eging. While everybody who is anybody took part in the opening trip, no state parliament delegate, mayor or other politician was there when the train took its last trip. The station building was sold.
On 29. May 1988 the goods traffic at the station Schwanenkirchen was shut down, because weekly only approx. 0,38 cars in average were dispatched. Three companies in Hengersberg have a siding track. 1991 a industrial track to the sawmill Schwaiger was built.
Innumerable human fates are connected with the railway line and the station of Hengersberg.
Two remarkable events of decades of history of the railway line of Hengersberg are named here:

  • In the last days of the Second World War (April 1945) a transport with 4480 concentration camp prisoners, intended for Dachau, passed through the station Hengersberg.
  • When the railway line Passau - Plattling was interrupted, because of a train accident 1965 near Vilshofen, the Orient-Express was rerouted to the line Kalteneck - Hengersberg - Plattling.

After discontinuation of passenger train service for some years, annually in May, the pilgrim special train stopped in Hengersberg in order to pick up passengers.