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Story of Neukirchen train station

Exactly 110 years ago, the first locomotives wheezed through the Solmsbach valley. The villages in the outlying valley thus found a national connection.
Waldsolms-Brandoberndorf - On November 1st, 1912 - now 110 years ago - the Solmsbachtalbahn went into operation from Grävenwiesbach via Albshausen to Wetzlar. The 24.5-kilometer route was initially used by twelve trains a day in both directions. The villages in the outlying valley thus found a national connection. Passenger and freight transport ensured a long-awaited upswing in the region.
It was a long way to the opening of the railway line through the Solmsbachtal. As early as December 14, 1890, a first meeting with the aim of building a route took place in Usingen.
As a result, such gatherings became more frequent. Interest groups met everywhere to campaign for the lucrative routes. The business people of Wetzlar's old town wanted to have a train via Rechtenbach, Niederkleen, Pohlgöns to Butzbach. The people of Gießen wanted a route via Klein-Linden, Grossen-Linden, Hörnsheim, Hochelheim, Dornholzhausen, Niederkleen, Oberkleen, Griedelbach and Brandoberndorf. The Butzbachers would have liked to continue the route from Brandoberndorf via Espa to Butzbach.

Municipalities provided the building site free of charge
Finally, on April 28, 1904, the Wetzlar district council chaired by District Administrator Dr. Sartorius made the unanimous decision to press ahead with the construction of the Solmsbachtalbahn between Grävenwiesbach and Albshausen with the Wetzlar head station.
However, the plans were only submitted to the government for the year 1907/1908. The financial plan amounted to 6,230,000 marks. It stipulated that the site required for the construction of the railway had to be made available free of charge. Otherwise, the Usingen and Wetzlar districts would have to pay 730,000 marks. The communities affected by the railway construction finally made the land available free of charge. Prince Georg Friedrich zu Solms-Braunfels and the Buderus company also transferred private land free of charge for the construction of the railway. The city of Wetzlar contributed 5,000 marks and even the village of Griedelbach, three kilometers from the route, contributed 600 marks to the costs.

Construction of the railway line began in the Usingen district in 1909 and in the Wetzlar district in 1910. In order to be able to create the route over 24.5 kilometers through the Solmsbachtal, it was necessary to build a 105 meter long tunnel at Burgsolms and a 1330 meter long tunnel at Hasselborn. In addition, a bridge with a span of 50 meters had to be erected in Bonbaden, as well as nine other bridgings and bridges along the route.
The most difficult and most striking section of the route was the Hasselborn tunnel. It leads through the 448 meter high "Gänsrod" mountain and is 90 meters below the highest elevation.
On May 11, 1911, after a year of work, the tunnel was broken through, for which 60,000 cubic meters of rock had to be broken out.
Guest workers from numerous nations, including Italians, Croats, Bosnians, but also "all sorts of people who had come together" worked alongside local workers on the construction sites.
On October 31, 1912, the Solmsbach Valley Railway was inaugurated. Coming from Wetzlar and Bad Homburg, two special trains with the invited guests met in Grävenwiesbach. 200 guests of honor with the dignitaries of church and state as well as the railway administration boarded another special train for the joint inauguration trip to Wetzlar.
Wet initiation with drums and trumpets
At the festively decorated train stations along the route, this was welcomed with music, choral singing and speeches. Despite the pouring rain, there was a lot of hustle and bustle at all stations. The guests met for the banquet in the "Minneburg" in Wetzlar.
The "Usinger Anzeiger" reported enthusiastically about the opening: "After almost four years of construction, the large structure is now complete. A railway now connects the places in the Solmsbach valley that have been far removed from world traffic. The route begins in Grävenwiesbach and runs through beautiful forests and fields, between mighty mountains and rocks to the Lahn area. It is a beautiful piece of land that the new railway line cuts through for a length of 24.5 km”.
The Frankfurt Royal Railway Directorate took a somewhat more sober view of this in an announcement dated October 21, 1912: "On November 1, 1912, the standard-gauge Albshausen-Grävenwiesbach branch line with the 4th-class stations of Braunfels-Oberndorf, Bonbaden, Neukirchen, Kraftsolms, Brandoberndorf and Hasselborn, the breakpoint Burgsolms-Oberndorf and the wood loading point Jägerhaus (Usingen district) for passenger, goods and private telegram traffic. The new line connects the Gießen-Coblenz main line with the Usingen-Weilmünster branch line. The stations in Braunfels, Bonbaden, Neukirchen, Kraftsolms, Brandoberndorf and Hasselborn will have transport facilities for handling people, luggage, corpses, live animals, express and general cargo and wagonloads, excluding explosives. The unmanned Burgsolms-Oberndorf stop is only used for passenger services with ticket sales by the train staff, the wood loading station Jägerhaus only for loading wood in wagonloads..."
Hitler's "Fuhrerzug" was to find shelter in the tunnel
Train traffic between Hasselborn and Grävenwiesbach was twice interrupted for long periods during the Second World War.
At the end of 1939, the Hasselborn Tunnel was declared the "Führer Tunnel". Hitler's special train was supposed to be safely parked here when he was in his "Adlerhorst" headquarters in nearby Ziegenberg.
In 1940 Hermann Göring also set up an Air Force Headquarters in Hasselborn. Hasselborn and the surrounding area became a restricted military area, and civilian rail traffic between Hasselborn and Grävenwiesbach was stopped and not released again until October 1941.
After bombing raids on the United German Metal Works (VDM) Heddernheim on October 4, 1943, the plant relocated its development and design office to Hasselborn. On March 9, 1944, the tunnel was closed again and the whole area sealed off. Around 365 workers set up an armaments factory in the tunnel. From 1944, the production of aircraft parts by VDM started here. More than 1,500 workers, including foreign forced laborers and prisoners from the AEL subcamp in Hundtstadt, worked in this armaments factory. Shortly before American troops marched in, operations were stopped on March 23, 1945.
Crisis prevention Wetzlar: In an emergency, fuel lasts for 21 days
It was not until 1948 that the tunnel could again be prepared and opened for rail traffic.
After 73 years, the Deutsche Bundesbahn finally stopped passenger services in the Solmsbach valley on May 31, 1985. Three years later - on May 27, 1988 - the last transport of goods rolled through the Solmsbach valley. The railway facilities were dismantled and the eventful history of the Solmsbachtalbahn ended.

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