Riding a personal rail-car to your island home via the Lorenbahn

Off the northwest coast of Germany, in the Wadden Sea, there are 10 unusual tiny islands called “halligs,” which make up the German portion of the North Frisian Islands. They are so low-lying that they are continually flooding, and some have disappeared completely beneath the waves. One of the islands, known as Nordstrandischmoor, is home to only about 20 people. Until 1934, residents were almost completely cut off from the rest of the world, but then a long, stone dam was built up between the island and the mainland — complete with one of the strangest railways in Germany.

What the locals call the “Lorenbahn” is a private, narrow-gauge railway that extends about two miles out into the sea, connecting the island to mainland Germany. Many households have their own private wagon (known as a “lore”) that they use to transport themselves and all sorts of wares to and fro, provided they are over 15 years old and have a moped license. The railcars are diesel-fueled now, but they used to have sails and rely solely on wind power. /via

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