H0, West German

The wooded and hilly Wasgauer is on the Franco-German Boarder west of Zweibrüken. In both the late 1860’s and late 1930’s it was an area of military tension. The Wasgauer Bahnen (Wasgau Railways) were built in three phases. The initial phase in the late 1860’s was to improve communications along the French boarder by building a railway from Altheim to Bundenthal with branches to Primasens and Munchweiler giving connections to the German Railway network at Ixheim, Primasens, Munchweiler and Bundenthal. In 1871, Germany emerged victorious from the Franco-Prussian War and annexed Alsace-Lorraine and military funding ceased. This left the Wasgau Bahnen in two sections Bundenthal to Schontal and Altheim to Niedersimten with a connection to the German Railway network at Ixheim. After a hard look at the situation it was decided to not to build the two branches or the section between Niedersimten and Schontal as these would be expensive to build and operate and would be of little use without military traffic. Resources were used to build a short branch to Redelberg to help it develop as a spa and holiday town and to extend south of Altheim to Petit-Rederching creating a link into Alsace-Lorraine. In 1919 when Alsace-Lorraine returned to France the link was cut but was reinstated in the early 1940’s and remaining open as a minor international line. The final phase was part of a 1930’s economic regeneration program that converted a forest tramway between Munchweiler to Lemberg into a railway. There are frequent passenger services along all the lines local services are mostly by railcars and through trains are loco hauled. Freight is active serving the farms, mines, quarries and industries in the area. Bickenable Bahn is a minor international line comprising part of the proposed Wasgauer Bahnen (Wasgau Railways) mainline (Ixheim to Altheim) and an extension to Petit-Rederching. In practice the cross-country line west of Zweibrüken and its branches peripherally serve the area that developed without the help of the Wasgauer Bahnen.