Heinz Lehneis is proud to be the coachman of the Christmas stagecoach. For 25 years he has braved wind and weather seated on the box of his coach. He shares the box with Gerhard Pickel, who plays holiday melodies on a golden horn to entertain guests. Inside the coach, passengers sit cozily on thickly-padded seats and enjoy the view of the colorful activity at the market. This noble and nostalgic trip back in time makes clear that a journey in a post coach was once a luxury that only the wealthiest could afford.
History of the stagecoach
The stagecoach is a 1939 reproduction of a nine-seater Berlin with two coupés – that is two compartments – from 1874. The Museum for Communication supplies this and another coach from 1950 for the popular tours of the Christkindlesmarkt.
In harness stand two Rheinland Heavy Draft horses, which pull the carriage through the streets and alleys. Only very experienced horses, which have practiced in parades and are therefore used to crowds, are chosen. A total of 17 draft horses work at the Christmas Market, serving three- to four-hour shifts. As they wait for guests to board, they are protected from the cold with fluffy blankets.