Historic German railway station rescued from dereliction by expat couple

Published:  31 Mar at 6 PM
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British expats Olly and Jackie Bond are determined to renovate a derelict, historic German railway station, turning it into a tourism and entertainment centre for the small town it used to serve.

Formerly from Cornwall and now living in Camburg and working in Munich, Olly took the train to work every day, passing through the derelict station and wishing someone would take it on and bring it back to life. When, last December, the station house and its surroundings came up for auction, the couple decided to take a chance and bought it for just 10,000 euros, sensing its potential in spite of its sadly derelict condition.

The 143-year old station was once part of East Germany and employed hundreds of locals due to its use as an essential stop for a daily American train travelling from the Western sector to Communist East Germany. The train passed through Camburg Station after swapping its electric engine for an old-fashioned steam locomotive, and the daily service was a stark reminder to East German residents of their situation as they were not allowed to travel the route. Following the fall of the Berlin Wall and Germany’s reunification, all train lines were taken over by Deutsche Bahn and the station fell into disuse and decay.

Olly and Jackie’s dream for the historic building involves holiday apartments, a café and a gallery space for exhibitions and events. The total cost is expected to exceed 500,000 euros, and the couple have no idea how they will get their hands on such a large sum, although applying for government grants may well be an option. To stimulate local interest in their plan, the expat couple recently held a successful open-door event, attracting several hundred local people including several of the station's former employees.

Olly told The Local their short-term plan is to open a café later this year in addition to preparing summer and autumn holiday lets. Local people, he said, seem delighted something is finally happening to the historic site and building, with some believing it might even attract more tourists to the picturesque little town and its beautiful surroundings. Olly and Jackie are the only Brits in Camburg and are grateful for the community’s support and encouragement of their project.

Source: The Local, Germany
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