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Sometimes I walk my dog along a little quiet road along the valley at the bottom of our street, and to access, I cross a bridge which spans a small river (I guess you would call it a creek) and a railway line. On the bridge is a sign which informs passers by that the railway line below is the oldest in all Germany - dateing from 1831 - when it was narrow guage and horse drawn, hauling coal and iron and copper ore to Kupferdreh.

Some 15 years later,it was widened to broad guage and powered by steam.

Deil Valley Railway Company/Prince William Railway Company

On 21 June 1844 the Prince William Railway Company (German: Prinz-Wilhelm-Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft, PWE) had received the concession for the rebuilding of its existing line between Nierenhof (near Langenberg, now part of Velbert) and Hinsbek (a suburb of Kupferdreh, now part of Essen). The line was converted from narrow gauge (820 mm/​2 ft 8 9⁄32 in) to standard gauge (1,435 mm/​4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) and extended in the south to Vohwinkel and in the north to Überruhr and opened for passenger operations on 1 December 1847.

 Source wikipedia

The line is still in operation and now as half hourly services between Wuppertal and Essen Hbf,and has been electrified 2003. The trains run at speeds upto 100 kph on the longer stretches.

The original terminal station at Kupferdreh has been replaced, and the old station has been converted into a restaurant - a regular occurrence in Germany,as modern branch line stations tend to be fully automated, and do not require big  buildings.

For train fans, here is a link to a video shot from a train as it runs along the banks of the Ruhr.

History on your door step - you only have to look.

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