Thueringerwaldbahn, Gotha: Tickets, Tours, Address, Phone Number, Thueringerwaldbahn Reviews: 4.5/5

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More than 3 hours
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21 reviews
Very good

Waitomo Caves, New Zealand617 contributions
Lovely little tram ride
Jun 2018 • Couples
Just a lovely little tram ride, one of those simple functional pleasures in life. Get's you from a to b, you see a bit of the area.
Written January 6, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Cameron Park, CA563 contributions
A Unique Interurban Railway
Jul 2018 • Solo
The Thueringerwaldbahn in Gotha is unique. Gotha is a small city in central Germany, in Thueringen. It features a small, three-line streetcar system, as well as two interurban lines, line 4 between the Hauptbahnhof (main Gotha railway station) and Bad Tabarz, a small town located in the midst of Thueringen forests. There is also a short line 6 that connects to line 4 in Gleisdreieck and provides a shuttle to Waltershausen.

I found out about this unique operation from an article in Today’s Railways Europe, a monthly publication about all things railway in continental Europe. There was mention in the article about possible threats of closure of the interurban sections, so I decided to experience it sooner rather than later; I’m very glad that I did. During my visit in early July, line 4 was diverted to the Gotha Ostbahnhof instead of the Hauptbahnof, due to construction. A synchronized bus shuttle is provided between the Hauptbahnof and the streetcar stop at Hersdorfstraße.

The frequency of line 4 is hourly in the off-peak parts of the day. However, the scheduling and transfers are arranged such that from the moment I left the ICE train in Gotha Hauptbahnhof, through the change to the bus shuttle, purchasing the ticket to Tabarz, changing to the line 4 tram, travelling and arrival in Tabarz, to the short walk and check-in at the hotel, it seemed like a most efficient trip that happens more frequently for it to be so smooth and easy. The wait for the tram at Hersdorfstraße was less than a minute, with a decades-old, high-floor Tatra vehicle arriving and quickly on it’s way to Tabarz. The tram is unique in itself: there are very few, if any, systems in Germany that still use the Czech-build Tatras, and just as few, if any, that do not have low-floors or at least low-floor sections. The tram was clean and in great condition, with natural (opening windows) air conditioning.

After a number of stops in Gotha, we left the city and transitioned to the countryside. Things immediately became totally unique, with the electrified tram tracks in the middle of fields, with some animals grazing in the distance, and occasional stops, in some cases in areas that seem to have no habitation whatsoever. The name “Forest Railway” soon became fully justified, as we entered areas of local forests. Thick, lush vegetation is totally opposite to modern urban areas, where 99% of modern streetcars operate. Since the Tatra tram does not have air conditioning, it’s quite inside during stops. Hearing the sounds of the country through the open windows and the soft conversations among the fellow passengers added to the uniqueness of this operation.

The 50-minute trip to Tabarz passed quickly, and soon we stopped at the end of the line: a sleepy town with a few shops, restaurants, and a hotel or two; at least that’s all I could see during my short visit. It seems that Tabarz should be a good spot for a relaxed getaway. The next morning, my return trip to Gotha Hauptbahnhof was just as well timed and executed, and uneventful. I left Gotha feeling that I just experienced something unique, and wanting to come back for more.
Written August 25, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
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