Gerhard Mansel thanked the Minister for her words of praise, which encouraged the Wiehl valley railwaymen to continue, and handed over to NRW Transport Minister Oliver Krischer.
After greeting those present, he said that this was a special event for him as Transport Minister and thanked the previous speaker for the financial support from the Ministry of Home Affairs for the restoration of the bridge so that tourist transport could take place again, which was very important in order to focus on these ideas in the media. The state government had set itself the goal of better connecting rural areas to the rail network and not only to create services in the conurbations, but also to expand them step by step and bit by bit. This is also the case with the project we are talking about here, which has been fought for over 25 years - even in court proceedings with the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, which have now finally come to an end. The common goal now is to have as much rail traffic as possible on this line to support the region and not as an end in itself. In the end, it is about transporting people from A to B in the most sustainable and climate-friendly way possible. Without the commitment of the Wiehl valley railwaymen, all this would not have been possible here at all and it would all be over already - this line would have already disappeared and become history. For this reason, Minister Krischer warmly thanked all those involved: "Without your work we would not be here now, without your work there would also be no prospect of reactivation. So once again, thank you very, very much!". He encouraged the Wiehl valley railwaymen to continue - he himself had worked on the reactivation of the Bördebahn Düren - Euskirchen 25 years ago as a board member of an association and today there is a regular service (RB28) every hour. This shows that honorary commitment and local political engagement pay off. This project still requires a lot of work, but it is fully in line with the state government's policy. He hopes that we will make progress and develop a perspective. Today, he said, is an opportunity to celebrate that we are here, that the train has arrived and everything has worked out and that the signal is being set here:
"The Wiehl Valley Railway has a future!"