Drei Aehren - Trois Epis

Turckheim to Trois Épis Car 1, at Trois Épis (Drei Aehren)

This postcard was printed around 1910 by Gebrüder Metz of Tübingen in South West Germany. The view was taken in the Vosges Mountains in Alsace, France. However, Alsace was part of Germany from 1871 to 1919, hence the bilingual caption. "Drei Aerhen" is the German equivalent of the French "Trois Épis".

The Tramway Touristique Turckheim - Trois Épis (Bergbahn Türkheim - Drei Aehren) was the smallest, and least documented of the several tramways known collectively at the Tramways of the Vosges. Turckheim is a small town at the entrance of the Munster valley which is west of Colmar. It is quite close to Wintzenheim which was the terminus of a cross country tram route of the Colmar system.

The village of Trois Épis is a tourist resort and place of pilgrimage to the shrine of Notre-Dame des Trois Épis. Legend has it that in 1491 the Virgin appeared to a blacksmith and said that if the village gave up its evil ways, then it would have good harvests, hence the name. Trois Epis/Drei Aehren translates as "three ears" (as in ears of corn).

The metre gauge tramway to carry tourists/pilgrims was opened on 3rd June 1899. It climbed out of the valley for 8 km between Turckheim and Trois Épis and included 90 metre radius curves and a gradient of 9.8%. There were seven small 4-wheel tramcars, each of which had two 30 horse power electric motors. There were also two baggage cars and a goods wagon. Each motor car had three types of brake, a hand brake, a Westinghouse air brake, and an electro-magnetic brake. At peak periods the cars were coupled in pairs. The line closed to traffic on 1st January 1937.

Other Tramways of The Vosges (not connected to each other)


Intermediate towns Julienrupt, Le Tholy. A roadside steam light railway operated by Companie des Tramways des Vosges.


Intermediate town Longemer. Electric line operated with railcars having two bow collectors. In addition to the through service (which reversed into and out of La Schlucht), the La Schlucht - Hohneck section had a shuttle service ran by two Preston built trams with single bow.


Operated with electric railcars with two bows similar to above but, rack assisted.

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