In 1884, the German kingdom of Saxonia started to built a network of narrow gauge railroads, that with a length of 561 km eventually connected the remote little towns to the main railroad lines
At the time of German reunification, six lines were still operating... in a state not very much different from when they were opened
Two of the remaining lines are just outside Dresden. They operate daily and can be used by regular passengers for their daily needs
Although reconstructed several times, this type of engine first was a big progress when first introduced into service in 1899....
On my trip, the engine had to stop and use its water pump to extinguish a bush fire caused by an earlier train. If it is a nice day and you prefer to travel on the open platform of the coaches, you will find back the cinders all over you - and in your eyes if you did not watch out.
Working a steam engine is hard, dirty work in a hot, narrow cabin. Nevertheless, on the old pictures you will never find an engineer not wearing a white shirt and tie!
First the coal has to be shovelled onto the bunker of the engine, and later another time onto the fire.... Bigger engines are loaded by crane
After work the ordeal is not finished: the ashes have to be removed, the many moving parts have to be oiled, the fire has to be rearranged. Imagine the air in those times when in some places 100 of these engines were in one depot....