Thursday 1 February 2024

Cross-border Service Coming Soon (4)

Landkreis Grafschaft Bentheim

Bad Bentheim is at the very southernmost tip of the map. Nordhorn (centre left, by the bend) is the largest town.

In 13 German states, the primary administrative subdivision higher than a Gemeinde (municipality) is the Landkreis or Kreis. Most major cities in Germany are not part of any Kreis, but instead combine the functions of a municipality and a Kreis; such a city is referred to as a kreisfreie Stadt[e] or Stadtkreis.

(Land-)Kreise stand at an intermediate level of administration between each state (Länder) and the municipalities (Gemeinden) within it.

So now we know.

For Lankreis, think "County", for Kreisfrie Stadt think "Unitary Authority". Between these and the national government are the "Lander" (umlaut missing!) which are "States" with substantial amounts of devolved government - think "Wales", sort of.

Unusually, the County of Bad Bentheim runs a railway company. It is called Bentheimer Eisenbahn - i.e. iron way. i.e. rail way. The County has been tunning trains for about 129 years!

Imagine Devon County owning and running the line between Exeter and Barnstaple; but you would have to add in a busy freight terminal about half way along the route!

So, here follows a summary timeline of the Bentheim County railway company.

1895 - line opened between Bad Bentheim north to Nordhorn

1908 - Line opened from Bad Bentheim south to Gronau (bottom left)
There was much celebration!

1911 - trains operate beyond Nordhorn to Coeveidon Netherlands.
There was much celebration!

1933 - Company buys its first railbus.

1945 - service to Gronau not restored post WW2

1953 - bigger engines acquired

1974 - passenger services withdrawn. 

Replaced by bus
No idea really; but something like the above.

2019 - passenger service restored Bad Bentheim to Neuenhaus

2026 - passenger service due to be restored to Coevorden.

Signalling System Signs Solved
After hours of on-line research (actually fbb happend upon it when looking for something else!) your uncertain blogger can now reveal that this signal is shown before a level crossing and flashing white means that it is clear for the train to cross. You would assume that it only apples to lightly used lines. To help the driver, there is a warning board which is where the track circuit for the crossing is actuated.
German railway signalling is fiendishly complicated and well beyond fbb's pay grade!

Gronau Line Gone, Sadly
The long closed line south from Bad Bentheim has almost completely disappeared. But a short section from Bad Bentheim still appears (Streetview accuracy unknown) to be operational.

The line by-passed the present station, calling at Bentheim Nord (station no longer exists), as per the crude map above ...
... whence it crosses the main line on a very much intact overbridge.
The single track runs alongside a main road ...
... where fbb spied one of those signals, maybe now not working.
There are level crossing where side roads join the main drag ...
... and, as they say, "alles est in ordnung".

There are no boundary fences, of course, except at a bus stop.

Are bus passengers guilty of straying on to railway lines more than other pedestrians?

The possibly working track veers away from the rain road and swings round to cross it and, at the crossing just stops!

One road cossing firther south has track across the road ...
... but none on both sides.

There are some industrial premises away from the eagle eye of Streetview, so maybe a rail link is (or was) preserved to provide for works traffic.

Nothing is traceable at the Gronau end, not helped by the fact that Streetview is incomplete in Germany.

Erstwhile Dutch : Electric? Diesel?

This loco was spotted at Nordhorn on an slightly dated cab video. fbb wondered if it had got lost as it is an 18xx class of Dutch Railways. In fact it was owned by the Bentheim company. 

This presents another problem.

How did it get to Nordhorn as it is an electric loco collecting power from a couple of roof-mounted pantographs. There is is a sad lack of electric string on the Bentheim line!

Here is a similar machine on home territory.
Evidently Extremely Electric!

fbb has no explanation unless the lads at Nordhorn have converted it to diesel. Unlikely!

If anyone knows more pease contact fbb via


A Wonderful Walkway

The above is the only on-line picture of a TTA tank from above. But we can see that the gangplank along the tank top is a see-through grid.

The 1973 Hornby old tool has a solid walkway with over-scale representation of said giris.

The Bachmann model is better, but the grid is still solid.
The new Hornby, however, has an etched see-through grid ...
... and you can see though the diamond shaped holes.

An Old Buffer Looks At New Buffers

The 1973 Hornby buffet beam is crudely modelled with a gurt big bar to support the gurt big coupling. It is ugly but, back in 1973, we thought the whole wagon was a great improvement on Hornsby Dublo tinplate.

Bachmann has a moulded hook but no dangly bits, it has metal buffers  and a smaller coupling; but there is not much other detail.

Hornby's new buffer beam reveals that there isn't much detail to be had - BUT ...
The buffers are more detailed and there is a mysterious bit of pipe between buffer and coupling. There is the bracket for the tail lamp and a small hole. 

Do those pipes in the little plastic bag fit in there?
Maybe yes; but if you glue the pin into the hole, the dangling pipes may well foul the coupling. But as fbb's tank wagon collection is not for use on the working layout, he will maybe fit them.

If that is where they fit!

And ir has gor sprung buffers - just like the real thing.

Here is the buffer un sprung ...
And now the buffer pushed back agaunst its little spring by fbb's great podgy thumb!
The shank now looks shorter; but quite why any OO modeller would want shorter shanks and quite how they would help in the running of his railway is a mystery to fbb. But modellers still rave about their sprung buffers.

fbb bought a Peco Wonderful Wagon kit in 1958. It had equally useless sprung buffers. 
The buffer shank springs against a twangy piece of plastic behind the buffer beam. 

And the springs on the wheels worked as well!

Next : The Classy Chassis

 Next Bentheim blog : Friday 2nd February 


  1. Andrew Kleissner1 February 2024 at 17:34

    In Britain, the driver of a train approaching an ungated level crossing will - I think - see a flashing red light, however this changes to a flashing white light to indicate that the roadside "wig wags" are operating correctly. The train may then cross the road, at up to line speed, although the driver must monitor the situation. If the white lights do not appear, the driver must stop and then, sounding their horn, cross slowly and with extreme caution.

  2. The Bentheimer Eisenbahn owned ex-NS electric loco 1835 from 2011 to 2020. This German-language page has the details:-