Experience the archaeological story the railway line in Gennep. Download the app and get face-to-face on site with our archaeologist. He tells you the history and the importance of the railway line through most modern virtual technology.
This makes you feel as if you transform into the past.
Gennep station was once the halfway point on the Boxtel-Wesel railway line. The “German Line” was part of an international railway line running from London to St. Petersburg.
The building of the railway line started in 1870. The construction of the railway bridge kicked off a year later. The headquarters of the NBDS – the Noord Brabantsch-Duitsche Spoorweg-Maatschappij – was established in Gennep. And around 1880, international rail traffic on the NBDS line commenced.
Trains become faster and more comfortable with restaurant cars and sleeping coaches. There are lengthy custom checks and travellers frequent the ‘Hamburger Frühstücksstation’. There is also much train traffic to the pilgrimage town of Kevelaer.
Increased goods transport generates more industry along the line. Employment in Gennep increases. In 1908, the NBDS deploys new, stronger English locomotives, known locally as the “Blauwe Brabander” or “Blue Brabantine”.
Dignitaries visit Gennep, such as the German emperor Wilhelm II, members of the English royal family and the Russian crown prince.
WWI breaks out and interrupts international train traffic.
Employment levels decline sharply and a few years later, the NBDS goes into bankruptcy. In 1936, the NBDS workshop is taken over by the Page paper mill, which becomes one of the biggest employers in the area. The last takeover and closure is in 2000.
The railway bridge also meets with a troubled fate. In September 1944, German troops blew up the Meuse Bridge. The British engineering corps constructed a temporary bridge for the transport of war machines and soldiers. In 1948, the Paper mill Gennep – hence the name ‘Page’ – also makes use of the railway line. In 1950, the temporary bridge is replaced by a new, permanent bridge.
The railway line is discontinued in 1971: it is no longer viable and replaced by bus transport. The old rack and pinion locomotive is still on view. Visit the Petershuis or check out the scale model in the Gennep library, where the railway line is still fully operational!
NOTE: The Archeo location is on the grassfield at loc. 94 at the Brabantweg / Heijenseweg junction