Meuselwitz – Regis-Breitingen
It wasn’t until recently that the region between Leipzig and Altenburg was mentioned in any guidebook. The area south of Leipzig all the way to the bordering district of Altenburg, however, has been the heart of the brown coal and energy industry for a long time. In as early as 1382, lignite was already mined here, however, it wasn’t until the first industrialisation in Central Germany and the energy policies of the GDR that brought about radical coal mining policies, huge mines, briquette factories and air pollution. Even breathing was difficult here, not to mention the scarred landscape.
This has changed substantially since 1994, when rehabilitation work in the region began to change the panorama dramatically. The former mining landscape south of Leipzig has been turned into Neuseenland, a huge lake district that was created through extensive ecological restoration measures. In the upcoming years and decades, a total of 18 lakes with an area of approx. 70 square km that are connected via canals will be created where nowadays the remains of open-cast mines are still present.
There are museums that remind of the long mining tradition in the region, as well as old mining equipment and the preservation of Leipzig’s coal railways. In order to preserve these railcars as a museum and traditional railway, former miners, entrepreneurs, politicians and interested citizens, as all as municipalities got together for this cause at the former Borna-Meuselwitz coal field. Along the track with an unusual gauge width of 900mm, traditional locomotives with rebuilt wagons chug along between the Thuringian town of Meuselwitz and Saxony’s Regis-Breitingen, passing through attractive post-mining landscapes between Kammerforst and Auenholz.
The starting point of your journey is the Kulturbahnhof (cultural station) in Meuselwitz, which is home to a technical museum with a large outdoor area, a lot of technical equipment, mining exhibits, documents and historic trains. The exhibits depict the more than 100-year old history of brown coal mining in the region. The model railway at the station shows lignite mining in the Espenhain region, and the route of the German National Railway from Meuselwitz to Altenburg is illustrated.
Many events turned into tradition here, such as the excursions on Ascension Day, the big model railway exhibition, family day at the coal railway, as well as the station and miners’ festival. The coal railway, however, gained popularity far beyond its home region through its annual Western Days event!
The railway line of the coal railways runs from the town of Meuselwitz in the district of Altenburger Land (Thuringia) to Regis-Breitingen in the district of Leipzig (Saxony).
Getting there by bus & train
The cultural station of the coal railway in Meuselwitz is not accessible by train.
You can reach Regis-Breitingen with the regional railway RB 130 Leipzig – Gaschwitz – Altenburg –Zwickau.
Arrival by bus from Altenburg station with lines 352, 403, 404, 405, 406, 408, 409, 410, 412, 413 and 416. At the weekend, however, only a few of the bus lines mentioned run with very extended cycle times and partly with minibuses
How to get there by car
The cultural station of the coal railway can be reached by car via the A9 or A4.
Via the A4, exit 61 Schmölln direction Crimmitschau, via L1361 to Schmölln, L1361 signs to Meuselwitz, stay on the L1361. The coal railways are signposted.