Adler’s Journey: The Birth of German Rail Transportation and its Enduring Legacy

The Adler train, Nuremberg

The following text was kindly submitted to us by Christiane and Thomas Reinwald.

December 7, 1835, was not only a historical moment for Nuremberg. It was the beginning of a completely new era of transportation in Germany. On this day, the first ever train in Germany, including wagons and passengers, travelled its maiden trip from Nuremberg, starting at Plärrer to Fürth. The locomotive, powered by a steam engine, was called a ‘Dampfwagen’ in German. The train, manufactured entirely in Great Britain, was assembled in Nuremberg. The locomotive was named ‘der Adler’ – it was masculine!

This significant moment which marks the beginning of rail transportation in Germany, was remembered 100 hundred years later with an anniversary celebration in Nuremberg for which a replica of the original Adler was constructed, the original being sold in 1857.

Photo by Uwe Niklas

Another celebration was held on the 125th anniversary. At this time – December 7, 1960 – a tram line connected the two cities, Nuremberg and Fürth, along the same route the Adler had taken earlier. During those 125 years, the once lonely road, accompanied only by the train tracks, developed into a busy road called “Fürther Straße”, with a tram line running from Nuremberg to Fürth. Fortunately, the replica Adler could use the tram lines, so the train travelled the same old journey!

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