Industrial Narrow Gauge Railways
Home | News | Railways | DVDs | DVD Services | Equipment | Links | Contact us
Your PayPal shopping basket:
DVD Running Time: 68 minutes

The vast area of Grosses Moor to the east of Vechta in Germany is divided up into several distinct areas. Vechtaer Moor the western most section, has been the location of several peat companies using narrow gauge railways since the 1920s. From 1994 onwards many visits have been made to the railways at Vechtaer Moor and this DVD looks at the operations of these railways from 1994 to the present day, focusing on the changes that have been seen over the years.

All the railways featured are 600mm gauge, and unsurprisingly considering how close Vechta is to Diepholz, the motive power in use is by the works of Diema and Schöma.

The peat works of Gramman (Gramoflor), Zubrägel, Höne & von Lehmden, and Hellmann, one by one have all ceased railway use over the last few years, while the firm of Wichmann and Tabeling continues to operate it’s railway, even purchasing a new Schöma loco in 2010. Footage is seen at all these locations with the exclusion of Hellmann, which closed before the cameras were able to record operations there.

Please see below for stills from the production

Price including postage to UK: £14.00, for Europe outside of UK: £15.00, and for the rest of the world: £16.00.  
To order THE CHANGING FACE OF VECHTA securely online using PayPal:
Select postage option and click Add to Cart


In 1997 in Telbrake, a small Schöma shunts peat wagons alongside a public road near the works of Wichmann and Tabeling.

Looking the opposite way from the first shot just a few years later, the tracks into the yard had gone. However, the railway had not been closed down, but rerouted to avoid running alongside the street.


When returning in 2013 the picturesque railway to the moors was still in use and now a new Schöma from 2010 was in charge of line work.

For a couple of kilometres the railway runs alongside country roads before reaching the working part of the Vechtaer Moor.

On the edge of the moors, a peat works managed by Hone & Von Lehmden was operational in 1994.

By 2003 Hone & von Lehmden was reduced to a few hundered metres of track to push loaded wagons into the tipping shed.

At the same works in 2010 everything had closed down, and much of the site had been cleared, with just a few wagons remaining outside the mill. By 2013 the mill had been demolished and no signs of the peatworks now exist.

Torfwerk Gramman used a small fleet of elderly Diema locos often running 2 trains in close proximity. Seen here in 1994 with the trains entering the works with only about 3 metres between them. Not recommended practice on Network Rail!

By 2003 Gramman was still using it's railway and some of the locos had seen a new coat of paint, seen here leaving the works for another trip to the moors.

When visited again in 2006, looking into the works from the road crossing, the railway operations had ceased and much of the track removed. A couple of the locos remained on site, just visible in the distance.

Torfwerk Zubrägel shared the long running line with Gramman, and the usual loco for line work for many years was a Schöma built in 1937 seen returning slowly with a full train in 1994.

By 2003 double heading was typically the order of the day seen here coupling up at the works.

In 1994, out on the moors, derailments were frequent, and were usually resolved quickly.

A couple of years later in 1996, and operations with Torfwerk Zubrägel had changed little with hydraulic grabs loading the block peat quickly into the waiting wagons.

In 1994, Torfwerk Zubrägel operated wagons of every description, and with the poor state of the trackwork, progress was slow on the return trip.

On the western side of Vechtaer Moor, Torfwerk Zubrägel was the last company still using a railway, but by September 2012 this had closed down as well, and by 2013, although the rails were still all in place, the rails had mostly disappeared under the grass and mud.


© Steve Thomason 2014

Home | News | Railways | DVDs | DVD Services | Equipment | Links | Contact us
Industrial Narrow Gauge Railways