The Rügensche BäderBahn [Rügen Resort Railway] serves the Baltic Sea Island Rügen in the north-eastern German Land Mecklenburg-Vorpommern [West Pomerania]. It is a steam driven narrow-gauge railway for public transport between the towns Putbus und Göhren. However, the so-called Rasender Roland [Rapid Roland] is a lot of things but it's definitely not fast!
Since 1895 Rasender Roland has been moving along with a cosy top speed of 30 km an hour between Putbus and Göhren in the south of the largest island of Germany. In addition to the scheduled stops in Binz, Sellin and Baabe there are another eight request stations/stops, where the train only stops if passengers request it. During the off season for tourists the narrow-gauge railway travels between October and May 12 times a day. In the main season, between May and October, the route is extended by including the station at Lauterbach Mole [Pier]. The narrow-gauge railway then runs up to 26 times a day. For the trip of about 25 km Rasender Roland needs up to two hours.
The technical progress and economic development at the end of the 19th century were the basis for constructing a comprehensive narrow-gauge rail network on Rügen. With a gauge of 750 mm the network once had a total length of a hundred kilometres. But in the past decades many lines were closed or replaced by tracks of a normal gauge. From the middle of the 1950s onwards many minors from Saxony took their holidays on Rügen. It was probably they who coined around that time the ironically meant name "Rasender Roland" for the train with its relaxed pace. In the last forty years the narrow-gauge railway has changed hands many times and since March 2008 has been operated under the name "Rügensche Bäderbahn" [Rügen Resort Railway] for the Eisenbahn-Bau- und Betriebsgesellschaft Pressnitztalbahn mbH - abbreviated as PRESS.
That's something you don't see every day: public transport powered by steam. The eight steam locomotives available belong to five different classes built in the years from 1914 to 1953. There are two Mh type locomotives – known later as the 99.463 class, two of the 99.480 class, two steam locomotives of the 99.177 class, a 90 94011-5 and an Aquarius C. In addition there are two diesel locomotives. The rolling stock is clearly used for passenger traffic. The approximately forty items of rolling stock belonging to the Rügenschen BäderBahn are partly over a hundred years old and have been comprehensively renovated and modernised. A train consists normally of a steam locomotive, a goods wagon for bicycles, an open panorama carriage and several enclosed passenger carriages. For any early risers with plenty of time it´s definitely the best way of getting to school or the office.
Rügen is not only the largest German islands but also one of the most popular holiday destinations in Germany. Last year around approximately 1.4 million holidaymakers visited the island. No wonder – there's a lot there to see and take in. Best of all when travelling with Rasender Roland.