The lower Lenne valley was already connected to the German railroad network between 1859 and 1861. The villages in the upper Lenne valley east of Altenhundem still had to wait for this, because it was not until 01.05.1887 that the first passenger train ran from Altenhundem to Schmallenberg. Freight traffic had already been started in sections a year earlier, for example in Langenei on 03.05.1886. The reason for the early start of service to Langenei was certainly the Karlshütte there. Founded in 1727, it operated a rolling mill there from 1860. This factory also provided good freight business in the following years.
From the beginning of the 1950s onwards, things went steadily downhill. The triumph of road vehicles could no longer be stopped. And that's when the Bimmelbahn in Langenei came to a halt! The unfavorable routing between Altenhundem and Fleckenberg on the side of the road, which the builders had chosen for cost reasons, now became a boomerang. The timetable period summer 1953 showed passenger trains on Sundays for the last time. Subsequently, operations were reduced to three pairs of trains per weekday. A rationalization by means of rail buses, as practiced on many other railroad lines in Germany, was omitted. The remaining traffic was handled by buses. From the 1960 summer timetable onwards, the passenger train service was reduced to one pair of trains per day, in the morning in the direction of Altenhundem and in the afternoon to Wenholthausen.
It remained like this until the timetable of the period winter 1963/64. On 15.06.1965 the station Langenei was closed. The last stationmaster was Karl Schöttler, whose family also lived in the station building on the second floor.The rail connection to the Karlshütte was still served from Altenhundem until 25.09.1966. The Karlshütte did not survive this closure for long; the remaining steel construction operations were relocated to Attendorn in 1968.
Fig. 1: Langenei with its railroad facilities on an aerial photograph from the 1950s. On the right, the Siegerland/Karlshütte steelworks (photo: Klaus Meschede Collection).
Fig. 2: Karlshütte in the 1950s. The tracks there are clearly visible. (Photo: Lennestadt city archive)
Photo3: The Langenei station with train 1767 and locomotive 50 3042 of the Finnentrop depot on October 21, 1961. (Photo: Gerhard Moll)