The old-fashioned steam Train takes you to the Zittau Mountains

The Zittau steam train is still running regulary. Fondly called "the Bimmelbahn" in the region (because a bell, the "Bimmel", is pulled as signal), it attracts a lot of tourists from near and far. Its a special feeling, watching the steam trains chug their way to the Zittau Mountains. Most of the visitor can't believe that the steam trains still work on a daily shedule.
The Zittau steam train and its historic features that are still preserved, never fails to impress holiday-makers and tourists.
The narrow-gauge railway line was established in 1890. For 16 years it was the only regional (narrow-gauge) railway line in Saxony run by a private company - the Zittau-Oybin-Jonsdorfer Railway Company (ZOJE). After that period it became state-owned.
Day-trips with the train became increasingly popular.
In 1913, after the "Royal Saxon Railway Company" (Königlich-Sächsische Staatseisenbahn) took over the railway line, it became necessary to extend the line between Zittau Vorstadt - Bertsdorf - Oybin by a second rail, to cope with the heavy traffic on weekends. Considering narrow gauge railway lines, this was a unique phenomenon in Germany. Between 1943 to 1945, the second rail was removed.
The starting point for a trip to the Zittau Mountains is smaller station to the right of the reception hall of the main train station. The narrow gauge line crosses the Zittau-Reichenberg (Liberec, Czech Republic) line and then continues around the city of Zittau to the old part of Zittau with its churches and the tower of the town hall. Then the line ascends steadily and winds through some viaducts and over two steel bridges via the village of Olbersdorf to Bertsdorf. On the right-hand side the new urban recreational centre "Olbersdorfer See" (Lake of Olbersdorf), cultivated from a former brown coal strip mine, is being developed. Next to the Bertsdorf station the traditional hotel "Am Bahnhof Bertsdorf" has been reconstructed according to old plans and shines in its former beauty. A miniature - "little sister" of the Zittau steam train even rides along the hotel bar and serves beer directly to the guests!
The departure of two trains leaving at healt resorts of Oybin and Jonsdorf is a special happening unique to the place!
The train stops of Oybin Niederdorf, Teufelsmühle ("Devil's Mill") and Jonsdorf Haltestelle are the ideal starting points for tours to the rocky Zittau Mountains.
The idyllic Oybin dale will be crossed before the train reaches its final stop in Oybin. The train station is right to the craggy Oybin Mountain, surrounded by impressive scenery. On top of the Oybin Mountain there are the impressive ruins of the ancient "Coelestiner Monastery".
The railway line from Bertsdorf to the health resort of Jonsdorf leads from the cleft "Weißer Stein" (White Stone) via dense woods to the mountainside of the Jonsberg, then passes by scenic "Umgebindehäuser" (half-timbered houses which are typical and specific to the Oberlausitz region) and the newly-built ice rink and continues on to Jonsdorf. In Jonsdorf visits are recommended to the former millstone-quarries, the open-air theatre in the forest and to the "Nonnenfelsen" (Nun's rocks) - where a recently reopened restaurant can be found in the midst of the rocks.
A trip with the "Bimmelbahn" will be put one in the proper mood for visiting the Zittau Mountains.
Inquiries may be addressed to the "Saxon Oberlausitz Railway Company LTd." Telephone: 03583 / 6 44 56 or 0172 / 7 95 700 03, fax: 03583 / 6 44 58.
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