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18.04.2017 - Ausgabe: 2/2017

Thematic playground modelled on a historical example


More than 50 years ago the Plettenberg railway line was closed down and the narrow gauge tracks in Grünestraße lost their original function. At that time, the famous cab-forward steam engine of Plettenberg was passed over to the German railway society of Bruchhausen-Vilsen. At the end of last year, the engine came back to its hometown when the company Ernst Maier Spielplatzgeräte GmbH designed a thematic playground based on the original model of the former local railway line.

"This place is the perfect location for the Klettenberg Kleinbahn", says Marilies Schulte-Henkel, an employee of the City of Plettenberg who sees the children from her office window playing on the new thematic playground. Originally it was planned to build the playground around the old drop forge of this historical place as part of a museum project. But although the plans for this historical adventure site had already reached an advanced planning stage and the project had even been awarded the third star of the "Regionale", the North-Rine-Westphalian Programme for Structural Development, the final decision was taken against the museum project and thus against the thematic playground with industrial focus, at least for the time being.

Nevertherless, right in the city centre, in front of the Plettenberg town hall, there was an old playground of the 1980s, which had got long in the tooth. It was exactly here in Grünestraße where the former narrow-gauge railroad passed through. Hence nothing was more obvious than to build the thematic playground at that place, particularly as detailed planning had already been done.

Roland Koenig, product designer, shows his first hand-made sketch of the playground attraction and says: "The old engine served as a model for the various game combinations. The rustic appearance of the engine and the waggons with riveted metal plates was copied by using HPL elements and specific applications. The screw fixations of the applications were consciously adapted to the original technical look in order to come as close to the original as possible. Two balancing bars at the front part of the engine as well as a bannister slide at the end of the waggons are supposed to be the tracks. Some further exciting ascents and descents as well as a manila rope are the connection between the engine and the waggon, thus offering interesting and exciting movement challenges for children."

In addition, the intercom facility in the driver's cabin invites the children to play creative roles: through faders they can either send announcements on the track or communicate with the "passengers" in the waggon.

The response to the playground which only opened last winter, is already overwhelming. "The Kleinbahn-Playground is an attraction for young and old”, they are saying in the town hall. According to those responsible, the location of the new playground is not only perfect from the historic point of view, but also because of its closeness to the nursery schools and the youth centre. Hence it is a popular destination for children and youngsters who are offered both game and adventure and historical information about their home town.


Picture: Ernst Maier Spielplatzgeräte GmbH

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