The tunnel at Bockau
Converting the former railway line between Aue and Wolfsgrün to a bicycle route
The bike ride through the approximately 294 m long former railway tunnel near Bockau is one of the attractions at the section of the Mulderadweg bicycle route between Aue and Wolfsgrün, which opened on May 3rd, 2013.
The tunnel was built from 1873–1875 during the construction of the railway line Chemnitz-Aue-Adorf. The company Piazza Brothers from Italy was brought to help build the tunnel because of necessary expertise. Some of the 300 Italian guest workers remained in the villages of the region and had families of their own. That is why one can still find Italian names here today, such as Caldarelli or Molin.
The tunnel was built with a cross-section broad enough to enable another track. However, the second track between Aue and Eibenstock was never laid.
Converting the former railway line between Aue and Wolfsgrün to a bicycle path from 2010 to 2013 meant careful restoration and renovation of the former railway tunnel. In addition to removing the tracks and paving with asphalt to make the path, it was necessary to remove large areas of soot deposits, to repair the masonry and concrete surfaces, as well as to install drainage facilities and a lighting system. They needed to be especially careful because of bats, which used the tunnel for their living quarters. The former ventilation shaft was maintained, new hollows and crevices were created, as well as leaving cracks in the masonry for the bats. Energy conserving lighting was installed, with motion detectors to ensure lights are not on when no one is present.
Key figures and facts about the tunnel:
- Location: at the 56.2 km of the former railway line Chemnitz-Aue-Adorf
- Beginning of construction: April 5, 1873
- Breakthrough of the tunnel: March 10, 1874
- Completion of building: 1875
- Cost: 400,000 Reichmarks
- Length: 294,20 m
- Clear width: 7.80 m – 8.80 m
- Internal height: 5.50 m – 5.80 m
- several deaths due to faulty detonation of explosives during construction of the tunnel
- monocoque arch stone
- in some areas, shotcrete shell was installed in 1971