The Ottiliae Shaft

At the beginning of the last century, the facilities at the Ottiliae shaft were among the most modern in Europe. Processing in particular set standards at the time. The shaft served as a hoisting shaft for the ore delivered underground on barges from the Clausthal-Zellerfeld mines. Today, the oldest preserved steel headframe in Germany and the functioning hoisting machine are unique testimonies to industrial history. Following the decision to establish the deepest water route as the collecting and main haulage route, the Ottiliae shaft facilities were extensively expanded and modernised between 1900 and 1905.

A new ore processing plant was built, the shaft was deepened to its final depth of 594 metres and converted to electric Koepe hoisting. During the conversion, there was a day conveyor line from the Kaiser Wilhelm shaft to the central processing plant, on which the ore was transported above ground using electric locomotives. Here you can discover the site in a digital tour:Digital tour

With the conveyor railway to the Ottiliae shaft

Even from a distance you can see the western edge ofClausthal Zellerfeldthe winding tower of the Ottiliae shaft. This bears witness to the past of the onceminingtown that was once characterised by mining. Built in 1876, the imposing steel structure is not only Germany's oldest steel headframe, but also the destination of an unusual trip on the day railway. The starting point of your exciting journey into Clausthal's mining history is the old railway station. Here you take a seat on the historic mine railway, which takes you along the two-kilometre-long track, rumbling and rattling through flowering meadows and green forests to the Ottiliae shaft. The journey itself is an authentic experience, as this is how the miners were transported to their workplaces underground. At the beginning of the 20th century, the ore was transported from the Kaiser Wilhelm II shaft further east to the Ottiliae shaft for processing. Here, at the foot of the impressive headframe, your journey on the day railway ends. Now you can visit the shaft as well as an old winding machine and a steam engine.

Day conveyor railway mining Oberharz
©Stiftung Welterbe im Harz, M. Wagener

The mine railway

The planning and construction documents were submitted on 15 June 1899 and the contract was signed on 7 August 1899. Test runs of the electric locomotives took place at the end of December of the same year. Construction took place in the harsh winter. Commissioning finally took place on 15 January 1900 after official approval.

The most important data:

  • 3.3 km line length
  • Terminal station at the Wilhelmer Rolle
  • Branch line to Anna Eleonore, Bergmannstroster Erze.
  • Closure in February 1905.
Otti railway mining Oberharz
©Markus Tiemann

Tour of the Ottiliae shaft

  • The day train runs to the Ottiliae shaft on Sundays between 1 May and 31 October at 11.00 and 14.30 hrs
  • Prices are 10.00 euros for adults, 6.00 euros for children and 21.00 euros for families
  • Tickets can be purchased on site. The starting and finishing point is Clausthal's old railway station next to the central bus station (ZOB)
Lachter Stollen Mining Upper Harz
©Benjami Klingebiel