Why the Fall of the Berlin Wall was a Gift to Rail Connoisseurs

Created: 26 February 2024

General manager Maria Cook comments: “2024 is a year that marks some poignant anniversaries reflecting major historic events dating back over a Century from the start of WWI 110 years ago in 1914, the start of WWII 85 years ago in September 1939, the 80th anniversary of D-Day in June 1944 and the fall of the Berlin Wall 35 years ago in November 1989 – heralding the end of the Cold War.

“The latter opened up a trove of train and tram treasures to those in the West and as a rail tour operator – also celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2024 – we were keen to get behind the former Iron Curtain to explore them and ran our very first tour to the Harz Mountains in 1991.

The company continues to visit Germany each year, touring by train and tram, combining comprehensive, interesting transport content with city culture, history and scenic journeys to create specialist, yet refined holidays.

Dresden Steam Festival - A German Steam Dream Tour

For lovers of steam travel this specialist rail break allows enthusiasts to travel by train to Dresden in Germany to enjoy the city's annual Steam Festival which brings together historic and modern locos from across Europe and includes fascinating presentations and displays. Ffestiniog Travel has created an 8-day rail tour that includes 2-days entry into the festival with some additional steam excursions on the nearby Weisseritztalbahn & Loessnitzgrundbahn steam railways and a paddle steamer trip on the Elbe River together with a journey on the historic Kirnitzschtal tramway which runs through the valley of the Kirnitzch River to the Lichtenhain Waterfall.  This tour will appeal to steam fans and partners alike and includes an outbound stay in Aachen and an overnight stay in Cologne on return. Departing 11 April 2024 this 8-day rail tour costs from £1,645pp (two sharing) and includes Standard Class rail travel, entry to the Dresden Steam Festival, B&B hotel accommodation, excursions and the services of a knowledgeable tour leader throughout.

More Tramways of Germany - Large & Small

Early 20th Century transit systems such as tram networks are becoming more relevant again as countries seek to reduce their transport emissions and reach carbon neutral targets. In Germany new tram systems are being built and old networks are being updated and well maintained. All offer the touring traveller a great and greener way to explore. This new specialist rail and tram tour to Germany provides a comprehensive exploration of its tram networks. Travel by train to destinations including Hannover, Bremen, Braunschweig, Berlin, Frankfurt an der Oder, Cottbus, Erfurt, Jena and Leipzig and explore using historic and modern tram systems. Departing 12 May 2024, this 15-day tour costs from £2,450pp (two sharing) and includes all rail travel, transport cards to explore all destinations, B&B hotel accommodation and the services of a knowledgeable tour leader throughout.

Harz Explorer – Steam through medieval towns & mountains

Discover a beautiful region of former Eastern Germany by train. Travel across Europe to the charming medieval town of Wernigerode, home to the wonderful Harz Railway whose steam trains travel across 140km of narrow gauge tracks through the stunning Harz Mountains. The tour includes an unforgettable steam-hauled trip to the top of the Brocken, the highest peak in the mountain range.  Situated on the border of former East Germany, the Brocken was a 'listening' post in Soviet days due to its commanding views across the West and is now home to a museum telling the story of its role during the Cold War. A 3-day travel pass allows you to explore the network and visit the 'must see' UNESCO World Heritage town of Quedlinburg.  This is a delightful, 7-day escorted rail tour which includes an outbound overnight stay in Aachen and a return stopover in Frankfurt. Departing 1 June 2024, the price from £1,475pp (two sharing), includes all rail travel, B&B hotel accommodation, 3-day travel pass on the Harz Railway, evening meals on the first and final night and the services of a knowledgeable tour leader throughout.

Full steam ahead for rail connoisseurs in Germany

The fall of the Berlin Wall 35 years ago brought with it access to some of the world's most remarkable narrow gauge steam railways that survived the Cold War and are still in daily operation. This 15-day tour explores the highlights of these railway gems and more including the Feldbahnmuseum in Frankfurt, the Döllnitzbahn Festival in Saxony and journeys on the Lössnitzgrundbahn and Weisseritztalbahn near Dresden, the Harz Narrow Gauge Railway in Wernigerode, the charming Molli steam train through the streets of Bad Doberan (just inches from its pavement restaurants), and the Rasender Roland railway on Rügen Island on the Baltic Sea. Departing 4 September 2024, this Narrow Gauge Steam in Eastern Germany tour costs from £2,650 pp (two sharing), and includes rail travel, InterRail Pass, B&B hotel accommodation and the services of a knowledgeable tour leader throughout.

Maria Cook added: “Germany has so much to offer train touring travellers, whether you are an enthusiast or simply enjoy nostalgic journeys by steam, city exploring by tram or travelling through scenic landscapes. Many are journeys that reflect the past, but they contrast wonderfully with today's impressive modern transport systems, allowing us to travel and explore further whilst being eco-aware - and all within the usual timeframe of a holiday.”


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Why Choose Ffestiniog Travel?

  • UK's first rail tour operator to run an overseas escorted rail holiday in 1974
  • Created for people who love rail holidays and exploring the world’s heritage railways
  • Dedicated rail holiday specialist - great destinations, sightseeing and unparalled railway content
  • Train ticket supplier for worldwide rail operators - we can plan and arrange your rail journey to anywhere
  • Knowledge of the world’s rail routes makes us leading specialists in escorted and Tailor Made rail holidays
  • Over 60% of our existing rail tour travellers return to holiday with us year after year
  • Committed to supporting rail travel and heritage railways around the world
  • Our profits support the continued preservation of the famous Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways
  • Small, dedicated rail holiday travel team offering an award winning personal service

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