The Harz Narrow Gauge Railway
More than a million passengers a year and not only for the railway enthusiasts, enjoy this steam railway. Anyone who likes train travel, beautiful scenery and history will love the Harz Narrow Gauge Railways. It takes you through the beautiful picturesque scenery of the Harz: it's hills and mountains, forests and meadows. A trip on a steam train is a delightful experience.
This 132km integrated gauge railway network the largest in Europe is served by 25 steam trains and 10 diesel locomotives who have to tackle gradients of 40% and curves as tight as 60 meters in radius. Most locomotives date back to 1950. They connect the principal cities of Wernigerode, Nordhausen and Quedlinburg and several smaller towns in the area. The first train ran from Wernigerode to Schierke on 20th June 1898.
As industries collapsed much of the freight traffic was lost. There are now few through passenger trains on the 2 main lines. The main attraction is now on the nostalgic tourist attraction of steam operated regular service and special trains, especially on the economically vital Brockenbahn branch. Trains run at peak times all the year round to the summit, even in winter though the snow.
There are three services:
The Trans-Harz Railway Line: Crosses the Harz Mountains from north to south. On the 60km track passengers are treated to a kaleidoscopic journey through nature.
The Selke Valley Railway Line: Is the most romantic track of the whole narrow gauge network and has long been an open secret among nature lovers.
The Brocken Railway Line:
In July 1992 public rail service was resumed to the legendary Brocken. Climbing up there is a hard work for the 700 HP steam powered locomotives.
(Tip: it is worth buying the HarzCard if you plan to do the Brocken trip combined with other activities)

"We started our journey to the Brocken at Wernigerode main station. It was a warm, clear day and from the station we could see our destination the Brocken. The carriages are nice and have that feel of times gone by. There are wooden platforms between the carriages, which enable you to admire the view and you can see the engine pulling along the carriages. The views along the ride are breathtaking, steep slopes, and twists and turns. The climb from Schierke, 685 meters above sea level, to the Brocken, 1142 meters above sea level, is hard and you can listen to the train puffing its way up.
Once we were near the top the fir trees gave way to the Brocken plateau. Arriving at the summit was exciting, and very windy!! Do make sure you pack the right clothes as there is nothing to stop the wind blowing across. The summit has the Brocken House, the Brocken Hotel and the TV tower as well as the Brocken-plateau, a great place to get your picture taken.
There is a free viewing point above the Brocken Hotel (8th Floor), which is all glassed in and commands excellent views. The kids enjoyed a hot chocolate in the restaurant on the 7th floor.
The museum is in the Brocken House with exhibitions on four floors that cover witches, the use of the Brocken as a former military base and border post. There is a cafe on the 2nd floor and a viewing platform on the 3rd floor. Entrance is 4 euros for adults and 2 euros for kids (6-16). We returned to Wernigerode by train. If you have the time, than the walk down is possible and well sign posted. We can thoroughly recommend the round trip, is great fun, you travel on a piece of history and it is kind of romantic"