~ The first Railway in Germany ~

This play is about the planning and construction problems of the first railway in Germany. It also shows how inconvenient and uncomfortable travelling was before the invention of the railway.


The first Railway in Germany

The stage set is divided into three parts. On the right side one can see the locomotive “Adler”, on the left side a steam engine which is driving several machines via V-belts. Thecentral part shows the room of the Bavarian King Ludwig I. in his palace. The interior of the room is set up on stage: Table, chairs, armchair, etc.. Four narrators step to the front of the stage.


Narrator 1:    Dear audience, we would now like to show you how the first railway in Germany was built and put into operation.

Narrator 2:    It was almost 200 years ago. At the time railways already existed in England and in America.

Narrator 3:    The industrial age had begun with the invention of the steam engine (points to stage left). Industry and trade was flourishing and expanding enormously, and so better and faster means of traffic, other than horse-drawn carts which had been used up until then, were needed.

Narrator 4:    The streets were bad and horse-drawn carts could only carry few goods and people.

Narrator 1:    An Englishman, Richard Trevithik, was the first to have the idea of using a steam engine to pull a cart instead of horses.

Narrator 2:    Like almost all horse-drawn carts, this machine was supposed to travel on roads. But that did not work out.

Narrator 3:    Therefore, he put the machine on rails. Rails had been known for some time. Carts pulled by horses were already used on them; they were called horse-tracks. They existed mainly in mines.

Narrator 4:    The idea proved good. And so, the railway was invented.


Scharrer:    Your Majesty, the project is progressing more slowly than we had hoped. There are too many problems. That’s why, unfortunately, we will also have to postpone the opening day of the railway line, which was scheduled for the 25th of August, i.e. your birthday.

King:    What is the reason?

Scharrer:    Mr Stephenson’s factory in England, where we’ve ordered the locomotive, cannot deliver.

King:    That’s a shame. Which new opening date have you considered?

Scharrer:    We hope that we will be finished by the 7th of December.

King:    Unfortunately I will not be able to be there, as I am going to be in Hungary at this time.

Scharrer:    That’s a pity.

King:    Well, Mr Plattner, perhaps you have something pleasant to report?

Plattner:    Yes, Your Majesty. Our traffic countings show that about 1,700 people travel daily from Nuremberg to Fürth. If all these people use our railway, then our share company will yield a profit of ten percent while taking account of all expenses.

King:    That’s not too bad.

Plattner:    Unfortunately, I also have to report something unpleasant, Your Majesty. The land where our railway track will run through must be bought from the owners. Each is claiming a very high price for the small piece of land that we want to have from them. Particularly outrageous is one certain widow Scherer. She wants us to not only buy the piece of land that we need but also her whole house as well. And she is claiming 17,500 guilders while both together is worth 6,000 guilders at most.

King:    Unfortunately we can’t do anything about it. There is no law to force people to sell.

Plattner:    Unfortunately, Your Majesty.

In the meantime, the servant went to get a bottle of wine and glasses, put them on the table and filled the glasses.

King:    Well, I’m sure you’ll come up with some great ideas. Have a drink with me, to success, Gentlemen. (They do so.)

King:    To success.

All:    To success. 


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