Bad Schandau, Germany

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The Kirnitzschtalbahn in an interurban tram system in the town of Bad Schandau, in the German state of Saxony, Sächsische Schweiz (Switzerland) district, southeast of Dresden. It is situated in one of the most beautiful landscapes in Germany and is one of the smallest tram systems in Germany. The line opened in 1898. The Kirnitzschtalbahn is really not meant as a public transportation line; it was built primarily for tourists as an attraction itself, and to explore this part of the Saxon Switzerland.

The tram serves the “Kirnitzschtal” in the east of the Saxon Switzerland, following the river “Kirnitzsch” for 8km (5 miles). The line starts in Bad Schandau, a small town on the river “Elbe” with appr. 3000 inhabitants. The city is reachable by the S-Bahn from Dresden, but passengers have to use a ferry to get across to the east side of the river. The Station “Stadtpark” isn't the original terminal, but because of development and increases in road traffic, 350m of the track was cut off bn the city in 1969.

The Kirnitzschtalbahn is a single track system with 1000 mm gauge and is operated by the “Oberelbische Verkehrsgesellschaft Pirna-Sebnitz mbH” (OVPS). The track lays on the street on the river side (the right side for an outbound trip). There are two passing points on the line. Car drivers have to pay attention in which direction the tram is operating.

The line opened with trams built by “Busch” in the German town of Bautzen. This firm built trams for many cities in Germany and also U-Bahn cars for Berlin. Today Bombardier Transportation builds trams in Bautzen. Presently, the system uses trams formerly operated in the city of Gotha, with two axles. Operation is typically by a single motor car or a single motor car and a trailer. In 1998 tests were performed with a low-floor tram, but modern trams were deemed too expensive and aesthetically incompatible with the landscape.

On the roof of the repairshop building is a photovoltaic (solar power) complex which delivers 30% of the energy required to operate the line. The Kirnitzschtalbahn is operated throughout the year, in summer months on the half our and in winter months between one and one and a half hour. Fare is 5 Euro for a round trip.

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