The railway route between Offenburg and Singen near the mountain Hohentwiel in Baden-Wuerttemberg does surely not belong to the most important routes in Germany. Nevertheless, the Black Forest Railway is highly respected among the railway enthusiasts and historians.
The Black Forest Railway meanders on 149 kilometres through the low mountain ranges in the southwest of Germany. The tourists enjoy the fantastic view of the hilly landscape, while many locals use the Black Forest Railway for getting to work. Besides the regional express, also the Intercity, freight and nostalgia trains with steam engines travel on the electrified double-track route.
The Black Forest Railway was built between 1863 and 1873 according to the plans of the well-known German engineer Robert Gerwig. Special attention is given to the stretch between the villages of Hornberg, Triberg and St. Georgen. Featuring an altitude difference of about 670 metres and a maximum slope of 20 per thousand, with 38 tunnels and one viaduct, the railway ranks among those mountain railways with the most tunnels and the fewest bridges. The brilliant idea of Robert Gerwig was to master this altitude difference using two turning loops and to be able to renounce rack-and-pinion operation. So, the Black Forest Railway has become one of the most popular ones and the role model of many other mountain railways in the world, as for example it is the case at the Gotthard route in Switzerland.
Until 1954, only steam locomotives were used on this route. After some first operations of rail busses as from 1955, in the year 1962, diesel locomotives of the series V 200 completely replaced the steam locomotives used until that time. As also the diesel locomotives encountered difficulties on this demanding route, the Black Forest Railway was electrified in the 1970s. That was very complicated, above all in the many tunnels, as the track had to be lowered by 60–80 cm. The many relatively steep routes led to the fact that on the Black Forest Railway series 139 locomotives were used, which were equipped with an additional electric resistor brake.
In Hausach, above all, the model railway enthusiasts will love the scenery. The Black Forest Model Railway in the scale of 1:87 replicates the route in an impressive way. The layout has an area of 400m² , where about 45 trains of recent and historic series travel on 1,300 metres of tracks across the spectacularly designed Black Forest landscape. The model trains master an altitude difference of 1.8 metres and pass the true copies of the railway stations of the Black Forest Railway cities of Hausach, Hornberg and Triberg. In Europe, the Black Forest Model Railroad is the largest model railway layout based on the real model.