Larissa Gilke

Klasmann-Deilmann on TV

“Crossing the peatfields on temporary portable tracks” – TV programme in SWR media library

In the programme Auf fliegenden Gleisen durchs Moor, part of a series on railways produced by regional broadcaster SWR, Klasmann-Deilmann’s bog railway plays a starring role. The 45-minute programme is still available to interested viewers on SWR’s media library.

“‘Tis an eerie thing o’er the moor to fare” (O schaurig ists, übers Moor zu gehen): an off-screen voice recites the first verses of Der Knabe im Moor (‘The Boy in the Bog’), a poem by Annette von Droste-Hülshoff. Viewers see close-ups of the bog: peat moss, raindrops hitting the surface, reedbeds – and then a train approaches. It is a Klasmann-Deilmann peat train in the Esterweger Dose bogland area.

This broadcast, just under 45 minutes long and directed by Bernhard Foos, is a treat not only for rail enthusiasts and fans of big, chunky machinery. On this journey across the bog, viewers can find out about the temporary portable tracks and encounter the ‘bog shuttle’, a real heavyweight carried on crawlers two metres wide. We see shunting trains and a waterway vessel being loaded. The importance of peat in food production is explained. Excerpts from a 1950s TV advertisement show Petra Schürmann, a TV personality of the day, solving the ‘Floratorf peat puzzle’. Viewers follow the Museum Express line through the Teufelsmoor (‘Devil’s Bog’) – a highlight being the crossing of the Hammebrücke bridge – and are introduced to the Worpswede artistic community. And Groß Hesepe’s Emsland Moor Museum, the largest of its kind in Europe, is also featured: the history of peat extraction is told and the hard life of the bog dwellers described.

The programme – albeit a shorter, 20-minute broadcast – was first shown in 2016. This longer version has now been given three-quarters of an hour of TV airtime. The programme is still available online on the SWR media library.