Friends of the 261 to host Germany steam tour in 2018

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brockensummitgerrybalding
A narrow-gauge steam passenger train crests the Brocken Summit in the Harz Mountains in Germany.
Gerry Balding via Steam Dreams
MINNEAPOLIS — The Friends of the 261, the Minneapolis-based operator of Milwaukee Road 4-8-4 No. 261, will offer a 10-day steam tour of Germany in April 2018. There will also be a one-day side trip to the Czech Republic. The Harz Mountains Explorer will operate April 16 to 25, and include one night in Berlin, three nights in Dresden, three nights in the Harz Mountains and one night in Cologne.

Mainline trips will use a range of German steam locomotives, including 4-6-2s Nos. 032155-4 and 01509, both built in the 1930s as express passenger locomotives. The tour will also use 2-6-2 No. 23058, built in the 1950s for passenger service. In the Harz Mountains, passengers will ride behind locomotives built in the 1930s and Mallet tank locomotives that are more than 100 years old. This 87-mile network of narrow gauge lines was hidden behind the Iron Curtain in then-Communist East Germany, but is now a favorite tourist destination.

Passengers begin the tour in Berlin, and head south on a train pulled by one of Germany’s preserved passenger locomotives to Dresden, Germany, for a three-night stay. An optional steam powered tour to Prague, Czech Republic, will also be available during the stay in Dresden.

The steam train will then head west to the Harz Mountains and its destination of the market towns of Ilsenborg and Wernigerode, Germany, for a three-night stay. Participants can explore local attractions or travel on a specially chartered steam-hauled train through the mountains.

More information is available online.
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