THE ABANDONED STATION IN GERMANY
This ‘Bahnbetriebsgelände Chemnitz-Hilbersdorf’ was a freight station, shunting yard, repair workshops and a power plant. The site has been decommissioned in 1996. Hilbersdorf was one of the biggest shunting tracks in former East-Germany.
The workshops or ‘Reichsbahnausbesserungswerk’ (RAW) were built from July 1869 until 1873. Finally, about 12 km of tracks were laid on the 14-hectare area. Also a power station, a paint shop and the administration offices were built. In addition to locomotive and coach repairs, also rail tracks were processed. In 1900 the site is expanded, covering 22.5 hectares, with almost 24 km of tracks.
From 1953 to 1990 the workshops had the name ‘RAW Wilhelm Pieck, Karl-Marx-Stadt’. The site was selected in 1958 as a central workshop for diesel locomotive repair. As a result, the plants were rebuilt in the following years for around 100 million D-mark. However until 1964 also steam locomotives were repaired.
The power station ‘Bahnkraftwerk Hilbersdorf’ was used to power the railway electrification system. It was used to supply electrical energy to railway locomotives and multiple units so that they could operate without having an on-board prime mover. Nowadays there is a bigger and newer power station, this old one closed in 1993.
Due to the economic changes of 1990, the transport volumes were increased. In 1990, many tracks were therefore abandoned and in 1993, half the station was out of service. In December 1996, the station was closed. Today almost all track facilities are removed and the buildings are empty. A part is till in use by the Deutsche Bahn. Today, about 150 people are employed. In addition to gearboxes, other components such as the RK 900 shunting couplings and leaf springs are processed here.
The big old freight station is now mostly covered in green. The interlocking tower is mostly trashed. Only the former command signal box is currently being renovated. Down the tracks, some old buildings are used again as a railway museum. I visited ‘Bahnbetriebsgelände Chemnitz-Hilbersdorf’ in 2009.