There was great excitement in Nürnberg on the 7th of December, 1835, on which day the first German railroad was opened. The great square on which the buildings of the Nürnberg and Furth "Ludwig's Road" stood, the neighboring streets, and, in fact, the whole road between the two cities, was filled with a crowd of people who flocked from far and near to see the wonderful spectacle. For the first time, a railroad train filled with passengers was to be drawn from Nürnberg to Furth by the invisible power of the steam horse. At eight o'clock in the morning, the civil and military authorities, etc., who took part in the celebration were assembled on the square, and the gayly decorated train started off to an accompaniment of music, cannonading, cheering, etc. Everything passed off without an accident; the work was a success. The engraving in the lower right-hand corner represents the engine and cars of this road.
It will be plainly seen that such a revolution could not be accomplished easily, and that much sacrifice and energy were required of the leaders in the enterprise, prominent among whom was the merchant Johannes Scharrer, who is known as the founder of the "Ludwig's Road."
One would naturally suppose that such an undertaking would have met with encouragement from the Bavarian Government, but this was not the case. The starters of the enterprise met with opposition on every side; much was written against it, and many comic pictures were drawn showing accidents which would probably occur on the much talked of road. Two of these pictures are shown in the accompanying large engraving, taken from the Illustrirte Zeitung. As shown in the center picture, right hand, it was expected by the railway opponents that trains running on tracks at right angles must necessarily come in collision. If anything happened to the engine, the passengers would have to get out and push the cars, as shown at the left.
JUBILEE CELEBRATION OF THE FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF THE OPENING OF THE FIRST STEAM RAILWAY IN GERMANY--
Much difficulty was experienced in finding an engineer capable of attending to the construction of the road; and at first it was thought that it would be best to engage an Englishman, but finally Engineer Denis, of Munich, was appointed. He had spent much time in England and America studying the roads there, and carried on this work to the entire satisfaction of the company.
All materials for the road were, as far as possible, procured in Germany; but the idea of building the engines and cars there had to be given up, and, six weeks before the opening of the road, Geo. Stephenson, of London, whose engine, Rocket, had won the first prize in the competitive trials at Rainhill in 1829, delivered an engine of ten horse power, which is still known in Nürnberg as "Der Englander."
Fifty years have passed, and, as Johannes Scharrer predicted, the Ludwig's Road has become a permanent institution, though it now forms only a very small part of the network of railroads which covers every portion of Germany. What changes have been made in railroads during these fifty years! Compare the present locomotives with the one made by Cugnot in 1770, shown in the upper left-hand cut, and with the work of the pioneer Geo. Stephenson, who in 1825 constructed the first passenger railroad in England, and who established a locomotive factory in Newcastle in 1824. Geo. Stephenson was to his time what Mr. Borsig, whose great works at Moabit now turn out from 200 to 250 locomotives a year, is to our time.
Truly, in this time there can be no better occasion for a celebration of this kind than the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the first German railroad, which has lately been celebrated by Nürnberg and Furth.
The lower left-hand view shows the locomotive De Witt Clinton, the third one built in the United States for actual service, and the coaches. The engine was built at the West Point Foundry, and was successfully tested on the Mohawk and Hudson Railroad between Albany and Schenectady on Aug. 9, 1831.