Since its foundation the association IGNah e.V.
has become a grand family. Our members are co-operators
of the Magdeburg Traffic Enterprises as well as
many people, who became part of the family because
of their affinity for trams.
By Ralf Kozica
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If trams possessed a soul, the trams of the Magdeburg Traffic Enterprise would have been quite stressed on 19 April 1969. On this very day the new Tatra-tram, produced by Czechoslovakia, was introduced to the people of Magdeburg at the Old Market. And after only 9 years, on 3 June 1978 the Tatra trams really had pushed away all the other older tram models from the tracks.
Thanks to engaged members of the Magdeburg Traffic Enterprises and many hobby tram fans not all antiques had to go on their last ride to the junk yard. Some typical representatives of the »good old tram time« could be saved from this destiny and they are lined up with new glamour in the museum depot Sudenburg.
The Museum Depot
The first horse drawn vehicle ran on the route Sudenburg – Breiter Weg – Sackstrasse on 16 October 1877. It was followed by new routes to the Neue Neustadt and Buckau. Depots were established at all three final points. The Magdeburg Road-Railway-Society established the depot Sudenburg being the biggest one at the southern end with horse stable, vehicle hall, work shop and administration.
In the course of decades the depot in Sudenburg has experienced many changes. In 1899, about 20 years after the construction, they changed to electric operation. Surely this change was especially effective. Shortly before the end of World War II, on 16 January 1945, the old and the new city centres of Magdeburg were flattened by a disastrous air raid. The depot in Sudenburg remained almost undamaged. Also the modernisation in the 1970s left the outward appearance with its clinker stone buildings from the industrial period of Promoterism unchanged. Of course, after more than 100 years of use the varnish was gone. And nevertheless, the »old jug« was unable to meet the demands of a modern tram enterprise, so that the operation as central operation place ended in 1992.
On the occasion of the jubilee »100 years of electric trams« in 1999 the Magdeburg Traffic Enterprise changed the former dark cave of the tram hall into an amusing place for events – and, first of all, into a deserving senior home place for antique trams. Today, the former forge shelters a collection of tram-type exhibits. Although some chosen parts of the building are under protection of monuments, a wheel turning equipment, the department current supply and a part of the training department care for activity in the depot.
By the way: One of the first Tatra motor carriages, which introduced the modernisation of Magdeburg trams in 1969 stands peacefully next to its »really old« colleague in the historic vehicle collection of the association IGNah e.V.
Our addiction to history
In 1999 not only was the Museum Depot revitalised, but also the Association IGNah e.V. was newly founded. Today our members feel obliged to maintain the activities of the preceding associations and the efforts of their members. They want to continue their activities and to correspond to the changing interests of the visitors with new event concepts.
We always try to present the results of our work in public. Luckily we do not belong to the kind of collectors who want to possess their jewels exclusively for themselves. On the contrary we even are eager to get publicity. Happy visitors are the source of our motivation to work for the maintenance of trams in the museum depot on Saturdays.
The salvation of the vehicles from scrapping and their conservation as technical contemporary witnesses is thanks to the persistence of individual tram enthusiasts in the 1970s and 1980s.
It was a great success to be able to present a vehicle show on the occasion of the jubilee »100 years of Magdeburg trams« in 1977. However, only motor carriage 124 and trailer 352 were actually roadworthy. Pike carriage no. 70 and the train consisting of motor carriage 138 and trailer 300 were to be hauled to the Alter Markt.
After, the jubilee motor carriage 124 was used as a library on the track. Motor carriage 138 and trailer 300 as well as the pike carriage no.70 were garaged as a makeshift solution in order to prevent further decay. In 1984 the pike carriage was in roadworthy condition. However it was badly damaged by an accident after a short period. In 1986 on the occasion of the Workers Festivity the Magdeburg Traffic Enterprises were looking for a contribution for this event and they remembered the pike carriage. From this time on the historic inheritance was systematically cultivated by those friends of trams, who were once organised in the German Association of Model Railways in the GDR. For the first time they organised historic traffic with the motor carriages 70 and 124 as well as the trailer 352.
The activities for maintaining and cultivating historic vehicles experience an effective and vigorous push into the foreground of the jubilee »100 years of Electric Trams« in 1999, when the restoration on Tw 138 and Bw 300 came to a successful end and also Tw 23 was restored from a work vehicle.
Today it is our concern to keep the vehicles fit for their further employment and to take them back to their original condition as close as possible under museum aspects, however, with contemporary methods. Finally the compromise is to undo modernisations, exchange materials and to stick to security standards nevertheless.
The motor carriage 138, which is equipped with many details, puts its passengers into nostalgic enthusiasm every time, whereas the pike carriage symbolises the awakening of modernity with its clear design.
With numerous events, which do not solely meet the demands of tram-purists, but which inspire a broad public, our association IGNah corresponds to our slogan »We bring history to life«. By purchasing our tickets for events every visitor makes the progress of this history of success possible.
Translation by Christiane Kotterba
Pictures by Ralf Kozica and Tobias Lüdde (1)