The Steam Train Museum in Neuenmarkt-Wirsberg is a Living History Museum

steam train museum

The steam train museum in the village of Neuenmarkt-Wirsberg is a living history museum that preserves and displays historical locomotives. Inside the museum’s roundhouse, visitors can walk among the 22 beautifully maintained locomotives and railcars. The museum also runs trips over the Schiefe Ebene, a scenic valley, during the summer from Neuenmarkt-Wirsberg to Marktschorgast and Monchshof Brewery at Kulmbach.

A trip to the steam train museum takes a nostalgic ride through time and culture as the locomotives showcase railroad technology from its early years, through its apex in the 1940s, and into the modern age of high-speed trains. Detailed exhibits show the interaction of railways with society and technology, commerce and politics.

For those interested in a more hands-on experience, the museum offers 90-minute group tours of its collection and the historic Roundhouse. The tours take you into the back shop and out onto the property to see the locomotives up close. You can feel the heat from a locomotive’s firebox, smell the oil and steam and hear the “chuff-chuff” of one-ton drive rods turning steel wheels.

In addition to the 22 steam locomotives in its collection, the museum has a variety of other railway vehicles. From a Smith & Porter portable steam engine built in 1858 to an air brake shop and a track laying exhibit, the museum has something for everyone. The museum’s centerpiece is its collection of vintage train cars and a steam locomotive that is regularly used for excursion rides.

The museum’s Roundhouse was constructed in 1855 and is a circular structure divided into 34 bays, each over 138 feet long. It is crowned by large hoods that vent smoke and steam. The Roundhouse is a major highlight of the museum, and its awe-inspiring size can be felt by visitors as they walk among the parked locomotives and railcars.

Other notable items in the collection include a full-size train shed, a Tender Frame Shop building and a family-friendly Locomotion Lab. The Tender Frame Shop building was originally designed as a master mechanic’s office and a workshop for constructing locomotive tender frames. It was later expanded to add blueprinting and drafting rooms. The Locomotion Lab is a fun and interactive space that includes a Smith & Porter portable steam engine, a track laying exhibit and a model railroad layout.

The museum also houses a significant number of historic documents, photos and other artifacts. These exhibitions are accompanied by multimedia presentations that detail the growth of the railway industry and its impact on society. The museum’s collection is an important resource for railroad historians and a valuable part of America’s industrial heritage.