Why a Classification yard, not turntable at Grossenbrode Kai & Gedser Ports Train Ferry 1955

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Why a Classification yard, not turntable at Grossenbrode Kai & Gedser Ports Train Ferry 1955

  • Hi:

    I was wondering why the ports of Gedser (Denmark) and Großenbrode Kai (West Germany) had a type of classification yard, with an eventual 16 tracks, instead of turntable. Does having a turntable presuppose a roundhouse? I suppose there was no room for that at either port. A switcher was used to remove motives and load rolling stock on ship ferry (3 tracks). The route operated from 1951 to 1963. I would be most grateful for any answer. Thank you so much.

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  • Sorry no one has answered your questions. This forum is not well attended. I can only state some opinions since I am have no knowledge on either site. It sounds like these were staging yards for loading and unloading ferries. as such there would be no local switching for industries. All that would be needed is sufficient track space for cars to be unloaded and cars to be loaded. Chances are by 1955 the railroads could have been dieselized. Diesel engines are bidirectional and do not require turning. It was not uncommon for steam facilities like a turntable and roundhouse to be located several miles away. It is also possible that there might be a wye near by where engines could be turned. There probably are no engine facilities as trains ran to the yards, dropped the outbounds, picked up the incoming cars and returned to a classification yard for sorting and redistribution. It was not uncommon for short runs to be run in reverse in this instance. Hope this helps.
  • Having a turntable presupposes having a need to turn something end for end.

    I Googled Danish and German locomotives, 1955.  The German locomotives that probably would have been used for moderate distance transfer runs were center-cab diesels.  Denmark retained steam longer, and their most common shunter/transfer locomotive was an 0-6-0T.  (I photographed one of them in Copenhagen in July, 1956.)  None would require turning.  The serious locomotive service facilities were probably at the larger yards that fed the ferry yards.

    Hope this helps.

    Chuck (International railfan)

  • Thank you ever so much. This was so important to me. Yes, it helped most substantially. God bless you. 

  • Hi NDBPRR:

    Thank you most sincerely for your help. I know the German motive in 1955 was steam and consist was removed by a V 36 shifter. The steam motive turned around on a triangle track (wye) at Großenbrode Kai.

    What I can't figure out is whether there was a track triangle at Gedser in Denmark at the ferry ship dock. I don't think so in 1955. I think the motives were red, streamlined diesels (Kobenhavn Express) and didn't need to turn around. Just so hard to imagine in my mind how the trains rolled on and off and how the two countries (Germany and Denmark) changed motives. 

    Thanks so very, very much,


  • Hi Tomikawatt:

    It's very nice of you to help as well. I appreciate anyone's input, although I think the first answer is more on track - no pun intended ~ lol. 99% of German motives in 1955 were steam locomotives. Here and there, a few diesels were coming out but . . .

    I'm pretty sure it was Denmark that switched to diesel first and for most of her trains in 1955 - the Kobenhavn-Express was surely diesel, but I just don't understand if there was ever a track triangle or a wye at Gedser. Whether all the trains coming across on the ferry ships at Großenbrode Kai were diesel since the ferry dock opened in 1951. It closed in 1963 when the Vogelfluglinie (Bird Flight Line) was put in. I'm trying to reconstruct the train that would be the F 171/172 Nord-West Express (relief for F 191/192 Scandinivia Express) coming from Copenhagen to Gedser across ferry to Großenbrode Kai to Hamburg to Rotterdam. I have everything from that point forward. I just don't know if all the trains leaving Denmark from 1951 to 1955 would have had diesel motive, and therefore there never was any track triangle (or wye) ever at Gedser. Or?

    Thank you all so much,


  • Potentially Google Earth might give you some insight of facilities that previously existed from the graded areas that they required that still exist today.  A number of abandoned rights of way can be discerned through the use of Google Earth.


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