What is IBSE?

IBSE (Interessengemeinschaft zur Bereisung von Straßenbahn- und Eisenbahnstrecken e.V., or in English "Interest Group for the Study of Tram and Railway Routes") is a group of friends whose interest is the German railway network, especially special trips to travel over parts of this network. The attraction of this hobby is in two parts: on the one hand it is a pure passion for collecting railway routes, on the other hand it is the joy of travelling over unusual routes that are not generally available. Also, not to be underestimated is the advertisement of an efficient and integrated railway network as a basis for a functional and environmentally-friendly traffic system.

In the course of time, IBSE developed as an organizer of special trains over freight-only railway routes in Germany. Numerous unique trips, travelling far away from the normal paths of the passenger service network, were operated through the considerable commitment of the Committee and members. With a certain pride IBSE can boast that, as well as the attraction of the routes travelled by the trips, also the organization, the individual care of the passengers, the selection of interesting vehicles and the documentation of the trips, it sets the standards in the German-speaking area. Among others, one reason for this capability is the fact that a considerable number of the members themselves have experience in the organization of special trips.

As well as the organization of special trains, IBSE also publishes a monthly newsletter that devotes itself to the documentation of changes to the German and foreign railway networks, coverage of special trips over freight-only routes, unusual routings of trains and other exceptional information when available. This newsletter is free for members. Every month, a list of special trains over freight-only routes is published: this is also free for members, but can be obtained by non-members for a small payment.

Since IBSE does not generally operate special trains outside Germany, members and others have formed groups to cooperate in such trips, for example PIBSE for Poland, UkrIBSE for Ukraine and TransilvIBSE for Romania. These groups have operated trips (often lasting several days) which examine the peculiarities of foreign tracks, offering a broad experience into these countries outside normal tourist areas. On some occasions, for example on the forestry railways of Eastern Europe or when using draisines on defunct routes, an adventurous attraction is the reaching of the borders of "railway civilization".

If this short description has awakened your interest in IBSE, please contact us to get further information on the group and its activities, and how to become a member.

Last update for this page: 12.11.2015