The Home Road


Among my friends who have railroading as an interest of some kind, many have what they recall as the home road.

That being the railroad that ran where there were born or lived at an early age.

For me, this could be considered my version of the home road. Being born in West Germany, courtesy of the US Army in December of 1958, this is as close as it comes.

Today it is called the NTB or Nassau Tourist Railway. Also known as the Aartalbahn, the line was almost 54 kilometers long, traveling the through Aar River Valley north of Wiesebaden to Diez. When I visited in September of 2001, it offered passengers a 26 kilometer ride on selected days to Nassau-Hohenstein and return. A real up and down railroad, too; definitely not flat. It was interesting to see how people living along the line used it as transportation. I saw many families with bicycles who had ridden an earlier train into Wiesbaden-Dotzheim (the southern end of the operation) and took a later train home, having completed shopping or other expeditions.

Regrettably, the line has had some bad luck since that visit. On several occasions, over height trucks have struck a bridge just beyond the station at Wiesbaden-Dotzheim. That made the bridge un-passable and suspended operations further out on the line. Hopefully, it will be repaired soon and operations may resume.

My afternoon’s ride was a great glimpse of life along a branchline railway in Germany. It was not hard to imagine what it might have been like to have made the same journey that year I was born. Here’s hoping that I’ll be back someday soon!

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