Sunday, June 17, 2012

Dampflokwerk Meiningen

Our host sent us an email that let us know about a factory in Meiningen that repaired steam trains. It was open to the public twice a month on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays so we decided to take a look.

If you are not into trains and factories, this blog is not for you. However, factories make interesting photographs and I tend to get really carried away, so consider yourself warned.

We arrived about 15 minutes early and there were already over 50 people waiting. We paid 5 euros each to get in.

Since these driving wheels are about 6' in diameter, Robin will immediately recognize these as coming from a passenger engine. Freight engine wheels are smaller in diameter.

Some tour buses arrived and eventually there would have been almost 200 people on the tour. We appeared to be the only English speakers. We were taken to a canteen where there was a 5 minute film and about 5 to 10 minutes of questions and answers. I didn't have a clue what they were talking about, but there were some sniggers about the English at one stage. Probably talking about football.

Eventually we were taken down to the huge sheds where they restore all sorts of trains, wagons and carriages.

You are not mistaken. The top of the engine has been removed. The factory is well lit by daylight coming though high up windows, but the glare makes taking photos difficult.

This is the only factory in western Europe that can repair a steam engine boiler. In 2010 and 2011, a new boiler and firebox was built here for one of Australia's iconic steam engines, 3801.

There are working areas everywhere with pipes, pieces of metal and tools of all descriptions.

Just the cab.

A few of the tour groups were led by their own 'expert'. Since we couldn't understand what the guides were talking about, we just wandered about by ourselves.

A narrow gauge engine on a standard gauge bogie.

Red and black were the standard German colours.

After a while I noticed a woman with hair of a different hue.

Here she is again. Eat your heart out, Mary Kramer.

This wire is at least an inch thick.

This factory seems to be be the place to get your snow plow fixed. There were probably over a dozen of varying shapes and sizes.

From what I can gather, the perfect snow plow has not yet been invented. Some are pushers where the blades are fixed, some are pushers where the angle of the blades can be changed (like this one). Others are rotary snow throwers.

For the older employees, they provide these walkers.

I presume it is a movable tool box but I can only guess that it has to be well over 50 years old.

Freight engine driving wheels.

They had pits under most of the engines, but they were only about three feet deep. In England, the USA and Australia, they would be more like seven feet deep.

Various pipes.

Drill bits in ascending size.

Inside a water tender.

Now here is a snow plow you wouldn't want to mess with.

Who knows what this is but it looks diabolical.

It has to be either a snow plow of fiendish design or it can take off and fly.

Rotary snowplow. We wondered if they send out a different kind of snowplow depending on the type and amount of snow that has fallen.

This absolutely tiny seat was perched under the cabin top.

I have no idea what this grate was used for.

Sheet metal work. What it was for, I have no idea.

Nuts and bolts.

Since I am not sure what this is, I have found a diagram of the various parts of a steam engine, and I think this is a new ash pan hopper (39) which collects the ash from spent fuel.

Here is the old one they were copying.

They repair carriages as well.

I was amazed at the poor condition of the seat in this fork lift.

As you can see, quite a crowd of visitors.

The building was quite old and needed repairs itself.

Occasionally collections of pipes appeared.

Fire box and boiler.

Inside the boiler.The holes are for the tubes that carry the water that is heated and turned into steam.

Steel shavings.

To stop the wheels running away.

More pipes, mostly labelled.

Where they worked on the bumpers.

A fire box.

Inside a boiler. Weird photo, isn't it.

Eventually we all went outside. The works were huge at one time and there were lots of buildings. Now most of them are closed and decaying.

An old carriage.

Some poor workman climbed into this boiler and was never seen again. The boiler monster got him.

The boiler monster. 

Another fearsome looking snow plow.

This photo gives you a sense of just how big these plows are.

More snow plows lined up.

There was a turntable that looked like it was still working.

I wondered how they got the curve into the rail. Just bent it, I suppose.

A future project covered with graffiti.

The tour took about 90 minutes. As my mother would say, 'it was a oncer', but we both enjoyed it.

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating!
    I would think that Ray's commentary was much more interesting than the official tour guides' commentary. They should hire him - a comedy show and tour all in one!