The “Wilde Zicke” from Naumburg – end of operations?

The “Wilde Zicke” from Naumburg – end of operations?

There are numerous reasons to plan a visit to Naumburg, because not only is there an impressive old town with numerous historical buildings such as the Naumburg Cathedral, the Nietzsche House, the Marientor as rare Barbakane and the town church of St. Wenceslas, we can also see the vineyards and tasting the exquisite wines made from it.

Small in the still existing complex but still quite impressive, there is another highlight with the “Wilde Zicke”, the historic tram.

Just over half of the route is in operation

straßenbahn naumburg 01The route, which is still in operation today and is currently only around 2.9 kilometres long, runs from the main train station to the northwest corner of the historic old town, circles it along the former wall ring to the north and east and ends at its southwest corner. The city's central tourist attractions of the market, old town and cathedral are therefore only bypassed, which represents a significant disadvantage in the network structure. The entire ring was once around 5.4 kilometres long. Currently, only a little more than half of the former ring line is still in operation, including the Hauptbahnhof–Salztor section. On part of the former outer ring between the former Salztor and Moritzplatz stops, the rails are still preserved under the asphalt pavement of the streets and could therefore become the subject of later track archaeology, which is actually a shame.

straßenbahn naumburg 02The abandoned inner ring section through the city center via Postring, Lindenring, Herrenstrasse, Markt, Jakobstrasse to Theaterplatz (today Curt-Becker-Platz), which was used until April 1976, is barely visible. Remnants of the tracks can still be found in some places in the city, including the Postring and the market. In 2006, the tram ran again every weekend from Easter to October for the first time, and daily traffic resumed on March 31, 2007. The operation was increasingly successfully marketed under the name Naumburger Tourismus Bahn, although it was also increasingly used by the locals.

Concepts for restoring the ring route

straßenbahn naumburg 03During road construction work between Michaelisstrasse and Moritzplatz in 2007/2008, everything here was also dismantled and no replacement was planned when the streets were redesigned. The remaining tracks end under the bitumen cover at the Othmarsfriedhof.

During the renovation, the double-track stop on the main station forecourt was initially removed and relocated to the neighbouring “Hotel Kaiserhof”. In 2018, a new single-track stop was built in front of the station.

straßenbahn naumburg 04An inspection by the transport authorities between 2003 and 2006 showed that the existing and decommissioned tracks from before 1990 no longer meet the current safety guidelines and would have to be replaced.

After more than 73,400 passengers used the tram on regular services between March 2007 and March 2008, daily operations were extended. On average, the tram carried over 200 people per day of operation. From the end of 2009, the train ran as part of a model experiment financially supported by the state of Saxony-Anhalt, after the number of customers had increased to over 120,000. However, the funding expired on April 30, 2010.

straßenbahn naumburg 05In October 2020, a study commissioned by the Burgenlandkreis from the TU Braunschweig was presented. Three variants were examined as to how the Naumburg tram could be upgraded to a ring railway again. A variant of the study led from the Salztor via Weimarer Straße, Moritzberg and Markgrafenweg to the main train station and would therefore roughly correspond to the old ring route. The second variant leads via Kramerplatz, Freyburger Straße, Moritzplatz and then continues like variant 1 to the main train station. The third variant leads quite briefly from Salztor via Kramerplatz, Lindenring and Postring to the depot and would therefore correspond to the route from Lindenring that was discontinued in 1976. The TU Braunschweig supports the second variant, which would also directly connect the cathedral. For years afterwards, the various variants were still being discussed in the city's committees.

Discussion about the amount of a purchase/takeover price

straßenbahn naumburg 07Now the continued operation of the Naumburg tram is in jeopardy and the Burgen district wants to ask the state government for help. The background is the possible takeover of the railways by the district. Accordingly, the Burgenland district wants to take over shares from the private operator, Naumburger Straßenbahn GmbH (NSB). The NSB is demanding up to 1.1 million euros for this, which the district council recently rejected. In a press release, Straßenbahn GmbH said that the district would pressure the company to sell. At the same time, the purchase price offered is too low. The Burgenlandkreis confirmed that during the negotiations it was not possible to agree on a purchase price that would have benefited the private shareholders.

straßenbahn naumburg 08According to its own statement, the Burgenland district initially agreed to cover the tram's six-figure annual deficits. The city of Naumburg also wanted to continue financing the infrastructure (rail network and depot). In the end, however, no solution could be found with the private shareholders.

In the interest of the general public, but also of tourism as an economic factor and in particular for a functioning, attractive infrastructure, it should be possible to find an amicable solution here, especially since burden balancing has already taken place over many years.

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Life | Outdoors