The Verein Eisenbahnfreunde Richard Hartmann Chemnitz e.V. (a club of railway enthusiasts) was founded on 13 October 2001 within the framework of Sächsisches Eisenbahnmuseum Chemnitz-Hilbersdorf. We have been independent since 2007. We have widened our purpose and taken on our current name.
Our club has about 30 members. We have made what used to be the shunting station of Chemnitz-Hilbersdorf into a technical museum featuring a rope-and-pulley shunting system, which is unique in Europe.
Our museum consists of
- Signal box 3 with its exposition,
- a Machine station featuring three plants to drive the shunting system,
- a Leonard-type transformer,
- a Rope-tensioning system (three renovated towers),
- a rail-track of 350 m (about 385 yards), which allows to demonstrate visitors how goods trains were split up in those days.
Due to its European rank our museum has been listed by the Free State of Saxony. In 2014, our museum won the national heritage award "Silberne Halbkugel", which is the highest reachable award for monument conservation in Germany under patronage of the German Federal President.
Our club is also active collecting evidence of any kind concerning the goods traffic in the region of Chemnitz and running two archives:
- on all still existing locomotives built by Richard Hartmann (Chemnitz),
- on documents showing what locomotives were in operation in the times of Deutsche Reichsbahn and since 1991, in the days of Deutsche Bahn AG (featuring steam engines, diesel engines and electric engines). This collection is unique.
Visitors can ride on what we call our Maschienhausexpress from Signal box 3 to the Machine station. A light diesel engine of our "Maschinenhausexpress" guarantees a smooth journey of 600 m (about 660 yards). On the way there, visitors will pass a number of points of exhibition on the subject of railway technology.
Our club comes out with publications on our activities such as Hartmann Kurier.
We are part of the Federation of Technical Museums of Chemnitz. We arrange exhibitions for our sponsors and for all interested in our work (such as the towns of Hohenstein-Ernstthal and Schwarzenberg as well as Sparkasse Bank of Chemnitz, Sächsisches Industriemuseum and Verkehrsmuseum Dresden.)
A particular highlight was an exhibition on the life and work of Richard Hartmann dedicated to his 200th birthday and staged in his Alsatian hometown Barr.
We are in close co-operation with Industriemuseum Chemnitz, Schlossbergmuseum Chemnitz, Fahrzeugmuseum Hartmannsdorf (a museum featuring vehicles), and with museums in Austria, the Czech Republic and other European countries.