Prototype Information

The Murnau Bahnhof and Surrounding Area

Murnau is the mid-point of KBS 960, the mainline between München and Mittenwald on the Germany/Austria border. It is also the beginning of the branchline KBS 963, which ends in Oberammergau.

KBS 960: München - Mittenwald Mainline

KBS 960 is the line running from München to Mittenwald, and on to Innsbruck, Austria. Even though this line heads into the Alps, there are no tunnels on this line to the German/Austrian border. There are, however, many steep grades, including the 2.5% Hechendorf Ramp. The section of KBS 960 that I will be concentrating on will be the area between Murnau and Eschenlohe, with staging yards representing München to the north, and Garmisch-Partenkirchen to the south.

The reason for concentrating on this area is because of three major elements I wish to model. Murnau is the beginning of KBS 963, the Murnau/Oberammergau line. The Hechendorf Ramp represents the longest double-tracked section of the line from München to Mittenwald, and at a 2.5% grade, represents some operational challenges. Eschenlohe is the location of the Hartsteinwerk Werdenfels rock quarry, which is the main basis for freight traffic on KBS 960.

Murnau Bahnhof (Track Plan)

Murnau Bahnhof is quite large considering the size of the town. The station sports four passenger tracks, three freight tracks, and numerous spurs for holding freight cars. The station also has a weigh station on one of the spurs. The station has numerous buildings. The main building includes a restaurant in addition to the usual ticket and information counters. The station also has a Guterschuppen and neighboring warehouses. The original station building from the old Lokalbahn still stands in close proximity to the DBAG station buildings. An old Lokschuppen was torn down in 1992, but was used up until the late 80s.

Hechendorf & Hechendorf Ramp (Track Plan)

Hechendorf lays at the bottom of the Hechendorf Ramp, a 2.5% grade down from Murnau. In the past, Hechendorf was a regular stop and had a passenger station. Even after the station was closed, the extensive track remained in place. Hechendorf was still used as a place to add and cut off helper locomotives that were used to help heavy trains up the ramp to Murnau. This was also the beginning of a stretch of double tracked mainline up to Murnau. This provided a location for trains to pass outside of a station. This undoubtedly improved the on-time operations of the passenger trains. Having this stretch of double track meant that a southbound train did not have to wait in Murnau for its northbound counterpart. It also meant that passenger service was not interrupted by a heavy freight train assaulting the Hechendorf Ramp.

(22 May 2015)

In the last year, I found a photo that would indicate a small rock/ballast loading operation on one of the spurs at Hechendorf. It appears that the rock was hauled from a local, small quarry to the Hechendorf Bf, where is was loaded onto railcars. I'm not sure how long this operation lasted. The photo was from the 1980s.

Ohlstadt (Track Plan)

Ohlstadt is the next station when heading south down the line. It has a fairly simple track plan, with a passing siding and a spur that serves as a team track. There is a fairly large lumber industry just to the north of the station. However, I have found no photos (nor witnessed personally) that would indicate that a spur into this industry ever existed. At this point, I will have to assume that the team track was used to serve any rail needs of this industry. As you can see below, my original plan was to omit this station. After looking at the spacing of the stations on the main line, I determined that I could shorten the distance between Murnau and Hechendorf, and simply place Ohlstadt on the lower level - directly below Hechendorf.

Eschenlohe & Hartsteinwerk Werdenfels (Track Plan)

Eschenlohe is a small town just south of Murnau. The village of Ohlstadt, which has a station as well, is actually between Murnau and Eschenlohe, but I won't be modeling this station due to space constraints. If it weren't for the Hartsteinwerk Werdenfels (HWW), Eschenlohe's track plan would be quite simple. A passing siding and a freight spur would be all that would be required. However, due to the large number of ballast hoppers required by HWW, three additional holding sidings are needed.

The spur to HWW also has a passing/holding siding where short cuts of hoppers can be held or passed. From the siding, it is a short distance to the loading silo facility. The facility has four stub-ended spurs. Two of the spurs are used for loading from the silo. One spur leads to a small Lokschuppen that houses the Köf II switcher, which is owned by HWW. The final spur is a holding and loading spur. Ballast hoppers can either be held there to be loaded later at the silo, or these hoppers can be loaded with a movable conveyor belt. This final spur could also be used to receive deliveries via rail, such as boxcars of parts, tankcars of fuel for the Köf II (there is a facility on this spur for fuel), and flatcars of large machinery.

KBS 963: Murnau - Oberammergau Branchline

KBS 963 is the line running from Murnau to Oberammergau. It is one of the lines with the slowest speeds allowed, moving only 5 or 10 mile per hour in some sections. Lightweight track and light maintenance contribute to this low speed. Steep grades, including stiff 3% grade just before Bad Kohlgrub on the way to Oberammergau, also contribute to the speed restrictions.

Murnau Ort (Track Plan)

The Murnau Ort haltepunkt is nothing more than a platform long enough for two cars, and a waiting shed with enough room for about eight people. It is only 0.4 km from Murnau's main station, but is very convenient for passengers coming from Murnau's downtown area. The interesting thing about Murnau Ort is that it is situated right next to the bridge where the branchline crosses above the double-tracked section of the mainline. At the same location, a road crosses the mainline at grade, and proceeds under the bridge on which the branchline travels. This area has been described by many people as, "a location that just begs to be modeled", because of its compact elements.

Jägerhaus (Track Plan)

The Jägerhaus Haltepunkt, like Murnau Ort, is nothing special. In fact, it has even fewer distinguishing features. A small platform and a waiting shed next to a grade crossing, Jägerhaus represents a typical Bavarian Haltepunkt.

Bad Kohlgrub (Track Plan)

Bad Kohlgrub Bahnhof is the mid-point for KBS 963. It has two tracks, plus a spur. The two through tracks can only hold three or four passenger coaches plus a locomotive. The holding spur is about the same length. Since the mid-90s, the two trains that run on this line must pass each other at Bad Kohlgrub because it is the only station left with a passing track.

Altenau (Track Plan)

Altenau is similar to Bad Kohlgrub, with its passing siding and holding spur. The station building is much smaller than the one in Bad Kohlgrub, however.

Unterammergau (Track Plan)

Unterammergau sports a small station building, a passing siding, and a spur to the Holzindustrie Unterammergau. The siding is no longer than the ones in Bad Kohlgrub or Altenau. The spur leading to the fenced in lumber industry is gated at the entrance into the lumber complex. A sharp curve with a bridge over the Ammer river on the way to Oberammergau is another distinguishing feature of this location.

Oberammergau (Track Plan)

Considering the size of the village of Oberammergau, the station track plan is quite impressive. At one time, there were 5 passenger stub-ended tracks and one freight stub-ended track. Two additional freight spurs could also be found. One of the spurs leads to a company that sells coal and heating oil. The other spur appears to be a team track, located next to a warehouse. At least two or three of the passenger tracks were, in the past, used as service tracks for locomotives. At one time, there was even a Lokschuppen in Oberammergau. As the need for servicing locomotives in Oberammergau disappeared, the Lokschuppen and other facilities also disappeared. However, the tracks remained. The Passion Play brought special trains to Oberammergau in droves every ten years. Because of this, the tracks remained in service for these special trains.

Timeframe, Schedules, and Train Compositions


If I had to nail down an exact date to model, I would have to say June 1, 1994. I have visited Germany three times - in January 1987, in June 1994, and in June 2001. Those are evenly spaced trips every seven years, with 1994 being in the middle. I will use 1994 as the basis for the layout, but will limit my operation and collection of rolling stock between 1987 and 2001. This provides me with a fairly wide range of operations without having to completely change out rolling stock. Some significant moments in the railway history of the area are the reasons for such a wide timeframe.

 1987 - The passing siding in Grafenaschau is removed, severely limiting the number of special trains that can travel on KBS 963, since there are no longer any passing sidings between Murnau and Bad Kohlgrub, the line's mid-point station.

 1990 - The last Passion Play in Oberammergau with special trains for the performances. By the 2000 Passion Play, there will be no passing sidings except for the mid-point station of Bad Kohlgrub.

 1991 - Introduction of ICE service, including a weekly ICE to Garmisch-Partenkirchen on Saturdays.

 1994 - DB and DR merge to form DBAG.

 1994 - Last freight service on KBS 963. Prior to this, only Bad Kohlgrub, Unterammergau, and Oberammergau had need for freight service.

 1995 - Glass Train (ET 491) is destroyed in a crash just outside the Garmisch-Partenkirchen Bahnhof. Never to be repaired, a staple of rail lines throughout Oberbayern is forever lost.

 1995 - Last special train on KBS 963, a BR 218 with a tourist train to Oberammergau.

 1997 - The passing siding in Altenau is torn up. As of now, all passing sidings on KBS 963 are removed with the exception of Bad Kohlgrub, the line mid-point where the two regular trains that run on the line pass each other. This fact prohibits all special trains from running on KBS 963, unless they replace one of the regularly scheduled trains.

 1998 - The rock quarry, Hartsteinwerk Werdenfels in Eschenlohe, stops shipping ballast via rail. Freight traffic greatly reduced on KBS 960.

 2001 - Harsteinwerk Werdenfels closes.

 2001 - ICE-T introduced on KBS 960.

If I were to add any other years, it would be back to 1979, so that I could include normal running of the BR 169's on KBS 963. However, since the E69s/169s that are available in N scale run so poorly, I'm reducing my frustration by NOT including these years!

Schedules and Operations

Passenger Service Running Through Murnau

Murnau serves as the mid-point station on KBS 960. As such, northbound and southbound trains arrive and depart from the station at relatively the same time each hour. Additionally, the trains to and from Oberammergau via KBS 963 also coincide with arrivals and departures of the trains on the mainline. This makes for a very busy station!

Trains arriving from München use Track 3. Trains arriving from Garmisch-Partenkirchen use Track 1. Trains arriving/departing from/to Oberammergau operate in a less straightforward manner.

Operational interest is increased due to how the trains to/from Oberammergau are handled. Trains arriving from Oberammergau use Track 1a to disembark passengers. Once this task has been completed, the train is then moved to Track 2 in the main part of the station. The reasons for such maneuvering are not completely clear. However, after discussing this with several people, we have come up with a theory. Track 1a does not cross the mainline, and as such, it does not interfere with trains arriving and departing on the main. Having the train from Oberammergau arrive at Track 1a also avoids delays for the passengers of the branchline train trying to make connections to trains on the mainline. OK, so why move the train to Track 2 for boarding? Again, an educated guess would be that it is more convenient for passengers coming from the directions of München or Garmisch-Partenkirchen to board the Oberammergau train on Track 2.


Freight Service on KBS 960

Between 1987 and 2001, freight service has changed dramatically. From 1987 to the mid-90s, freight service was fairly robust. Ballast from Eschenlohe was the primary reason for the service, but there were many other needs as well. Murnau itself received goods via flatcar and boxcar, as well as oil in tankcars and coal in hoppers. Daily freight trains from München to Garmisch-Partenkirchen and destinations south were run on every day but Saturday and Sunday. About once per week a special unit train from Eschenlohe's Hartsteinwerk Werdenfels was required to handle the heavy production of ballast from the plant.

In addition to the through freight trains, Murnau itself was busy with shunting work. Trains would drop off empties in Murnau for the local industries. Empty hoppers were held in Murnau for Hartsteinwerk Werdenfels, and empty boxcars were held there for the Holzindustrie Unterammergau on KBS 963. Additionally, other empty cars were brought to Murnau by the local freight trains on KBS 963. Hoppers full of ballast were brought up from Eschenlohe in small numbers to avoid the burden of pulling a full train of loaded hoppers up the Hechendorf Ramp. Flatcars and boxcars full of wood products were brought into the Murnau Bahnhof to and from Hozindustrie Unterammergau. Also, as mentioned above, other full cars were dropped off for Murnau itself by the through freights.

From the late 90s to today, freight service is scarce to say the least. With Hartsteinwerk Werdenfels closing down, and freight service completely absent on KBS 963, there is little need for regularly scheduled freight trains on KBS 960. On average, there is a single, short freight train that travels the line, Monday through Friday. In 2001, I personally witnessed a BR 139 running to Murnau with a single boxcar. It swapped this boxcar with one sitting at the Guterschuppen at the Murnau Bahnhof, and then returned north with the empty. Sidings that were once filled with ballast hoppers were now empty. One passing siding contained a long string of flatcars with sectional track, but I'm guessing that this was a special circumstance.


Freight Service on KBS 963

As mentioned in the Timeframe section, freight service on this line ended in 1994. Freight traveling over the line had been reduced considerably since the late 80's. During the late 80's and early 90's, freights were typically run three times per week.

Flatcars full of logs and empty boxcars would be bound of the Holzindustrie Unterammergau. Cars full of oil and coal could be found on the line bound for any of the station with a goods siding. Flatcars and boxcars could be seen with the occasional special loads. Ballast hoppers and other maintenance of way equipment could also be seen occasionally on this line.


Special Operations Running Through Murnau

Between 1987 and 2001, there have been several "special" operations that I would like to occasionally reproduce on my layout. Here are just a few of these special situations.

  Passion Play Sonderzüge - Special trains were used every ten years during the Passion Play performances in Oberammergau. Trains from all over Germany would bring patrons of the play to Oberammergau. Many different types of locomotives and rolling stock could be seen in Oberammergau at this time. BR 218s and BR 141s were the most common locomotives used due to their light axle load. The last time special trains were used for the Passion Play was in 1990.

  Glässern Zug - Prior to its career-ending accident in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1995, the Glass Train was a frequent visitor on KBS 960 and KBS 963. It was used by tourist groups and for company functions.

  E69 Zug - The E69s from the Eisenbahn Museum in Garmisch-Partenkirchen were frequent "special guests" on KBS 963. The most recent time was during the Murnau Eisenbahnfest in the spring of 2000. E69 003 was used for the last time on the line before being transferred to the Eisenbahn Museum in Nördlingen on a seven-year lease. E69 002 remains in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

  Dampfloks -

  Running "Top & Tail" - Occasionally, trains are run with locomotives on both ends. The last time this occurred on KBS 963 was in the winter and spring of 2001, when lack of Steuerwagens forced the DBAG to use two BR 141s on each train on the Murnau/Oberammergau line. I personally witnessed a train running "top & tail" on KBS 960 in June 2001. The locomotive on the south end of the RB was a BR 113, while the locomotive on the north end was a BR 110.

  Eisenbahnfest Sonderzüge - For the Eisenbahnfest in Murnau during the spring of 2000, a special train was run on KBS 963. The train replaced one of the normally scheduled trains on the Murnau/Oberammergau line. It consisted of two BR 141s running "top & tail", and seven Silberlinge in between the 141s. This would have made for an interesting meet at Bad Kohlgrub, as the passing siding there can only handle three or four cars, plus a locomotive. The trainset was stored in Garmisch-Partenkirchen at the end of each day.

  Touristik Sonderzüge -

  Track Maintenance - Due to track maintenance in May of 1998 on KBS 960 just north of Murnau, BR 111s were required to run on KBS 963 in place of BR 141s. This lasted for about three weeks until relief BR 141s could be brought in from Nürnberg via KBS 960 after all track maintenance was complete. Also, the Maintenance of Way shed, which is located on the north end of Murnau Bf, would see considerable traffic at the beginning and end of each work day, even if no MOW work was being performed in the immediate vicinity.


Typical Train Compositions Traveling Through Murnau

There is a wide variety of trains that move through Murnau. Passenger trains include RegionalBahn (RB), Regional Express (RE), InterCity (IC), and InterCityExpress (ICE). Freight, over time, has included both unit and mixed manifest trains. Below is a list of typical compositions for these types of trains, as they move through Murnau.

RegionalBahn/Regional Express Trains

 KBS 960 - RBs and REs typically are made up of 5-7 Silberlinge in various color schemes ranging from the standard silver to today's red and white livery. Other schemes include the blue and cream of the 70's and 80's, and the light green and white of the 80's and 90's.

A typical composition would include one or two 1st/2nd class cars, with the rest being 2nd class. Occasionally, a baggage or Postwagen will be included. Some trains are push-pull, and have a Steuerwagen, which is a Silberlinge with a driver's cab. These trains are typcially pulled by a BR 111. BR 113s and BR 110s are also used frequently.

 KBS 963 - RBs are made up of two 2nd class Silberlinge with one of them having a driver's cab for push-pull operations. In 1981, the BR 141 completed its displacement of the BR 169 as the motive power for this line. With very few exceptions, BR 141s have been used exclusively on this line for passenger service ever since.


InterCity Trains

 KBS 960 - ICs vary from 6 to 10 cars in length on KBS 960. The two InterCity trains of the late 90s, the Wetterstein and the Alpenland were composed of the following cars:

Wetterstein (IC 813/816) - 1 x 1st class (compartment) 1 x 1st class (open), 1 x BordRestaurant, 3 x 2nd class (compartment), 3 x 2nd class (open), 1 x 2nd class Steuerwagen

Alpenland (IC 118/119) - 1 x 1st class (compartment) 1 x 1st class (open), 2 x 2nd class (compartment), 2 x 2nd class (open)

These trains are typically pulled by BR 111s, although they are occasionally pulled by BR 110s. On rare occasions, a BR 103 or BR 101 can be spotted pulling an InterCity through Murnau.


D-Zug/Night Trains

 KBS 960 - D-Zug and Night trains

NZ 1126/1127 - 2 x 2nd class (compartment), 3 x 2nd class (couchettes), 1 x 1st class (sleeper)

D 2716/2723 - 1 x 1st class (compartment), 1 x 1st class (open), 1 x BordRestaurant, 3 x 2nd class (compartment), 3 x 2nd class (open)


InterCityExpress Trains

 KBS 960 - No ICE trains stop in Murnau, but they do pass through on their way to Garmisch-Partenkirchen from München every Saturday. From the inception of ICE service in 1991 until the summer of 2001, only the ICE-1, with its BR 401s was seen on this line. However, as of the summer of 2001, tilting ICE sets (ICE-T) can also be seen on KBS 960 on a daily basis. The typical compositions for these trains are as follows: 

Werdenfelser Land (ICE 585/588) (ICE-1) - 3 x 1st class, 1 x ICE-BordRestaurant, 8 x 2nd class 

Wetterstein (ICE 1515/1518) (ICE-T) - 1 x 2nd class Endwagen, 3 x 2nd class, 1 x BordRestaurant, 1 x 1st/2nd class Endwagen


Freight Trains

 KBS 960

 KBS 963 -Freights running on this line were typically very short. Coal, oil, ballast, logs, and general freight were the commodities shipped to the stations on the line. One industry, Holzindustrie Unterammergau, shipped out wood products. Stations on the line with sidings for freight included Grafenaschau, Bad Kohlgrub, Altenau, Unterammergau, and Oberammergau.

Nächster Halt: Layout Description (Diagram)