Dozens of children’s’ dreams are simultaneously fulfilled here. For example when the eyes of large and small railway fans light up as they climb into the driver’s cab of a steaming locomotive to watch the stoker shovelling coal into the crackling oven. Sometimes there’s a whole train attached to the locomotive as it chuffs peacefully along the Ruhr valley. There is no doubt that the Railway Museum in the Bochum suburb of Dahlhausen arouses a lot of nostalgia. On Sundays there is always a hand-lever trolley at hand on which to drive up and down the huge site to inspect the points, water tower, turntable, engine sheds and coal crane. In addition a rumbling field train waits to take its passengers on board, not forgetting the old-fashioned pig’s nose rail bus – because of the shape of its engine it looks a bit like a lorry – which transports its passengers to the nearby station at Bochum-Dahlhausen. The station with its restored entrance hall also belongs to the museum. Amongst the exhibits to be seen here is a collection of rail tickets. The fact that none of this was consigned to the scrap heap long ago is due to the efforts of the German Society for Railway History (DGEG) and their army of unpaid helpers. The proud result amounts to around 180 locomotives, wagons and other types of railway vehicle from 1853 to 1964, many of which are in working order, not to speak of a completely preserved railway line with all the buildings and sheds. Maintaining and repairing the huge amount of vehicles in the correct manner is a major part of the museum´s activities.
The Bochum-Dahlhausen railway works first went into operation in 1918 as a repair workshop. A few year’s later it was given its own locomotives and drivers. It was kept busy by products and goods for the nearby coal mines until it was forced to close in 1969. One year earlier the DGEG was set up as a private organisation to rescue the site and its contents from the scrapheap. The Railway Museum in the Bochum suburb of Dahlhausen was opened in 1977 and since then has grown continually. It is generally acknowledged to be Germany’s largest private collection of historical railway vehicles.