Saturday, September 29, 2012
At the invitation of Mr Friedrich Wilhelm Kugel the foundation visited Halver, located in the hills the German Sauerland. Mr. Kugel is director of the “Schleifkottenbahn GmbH”.
He has taken the initiative to put the local railway between Halver and Oberbrügge to renewed usage. The line was for the German railways no longer profitable to operate. The company of Mr. Kugel develops a transport concept with low cost, matching the low traffic volume.
He demonstrated their prototype “Schienentaxi” (rail taxi), an ultra-light-rail vehicle on call basis. The vehicle uses the bodywork of a model Mercedes bus and is battery powered. The batteries are charged with (in Germany omnipresent) eco-power and during downhill ride.
The conversion to steel-wheel undercarriage with electric drive and electronics is completely done with and by local entrepreneurs. A good example of thinking outside the box and how to innovate with limited resources. Perhaps a lesson for some experts whos thinking stay on the beaten track…
In Oberbrügge we visited an old signal house, kept in demonstration-ready condition. Given an explanation of the mechanical safety box. We also visited a rare sleeper wagon from the cold war, specially built for the U.S. military to travel to West Berlin. Re-equipped and in usable state. Thanks to Mr. Arnold for his expert explanation.
After the demonstrations and tour we had a welcome speech by the mayor of Halver and a press conference, together with the German Association GfM. As a guest, the foundation presented our vehicle designs and our new network plans for the Netherlands.
All in all it was a nice day. And we share the some cross-border economic regions with Germany. We thank Mr. Kugel and the GfM for the invitation.