In 1896 a second railway company was entered into the commercial register that wanted to build a narrow gauge railway through the Harz.
On 22 December 1898 the Nordhausen-Wernigerode Railway Company (Nordhausen-Wernigeroder Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft) or NWE opened special services on the line from Wernigerode to the Brocken (the Brocken Railway).
The GHE and NWE were subordinated to the East German Deutsche Reichsbahn in on 1 April 1949.
On 1 February 1993 the private railway company Harzer Schmalspurbahnen Gmb H (HSB) took over all stock, lines, staff, etc., from the Deutsche Reichsbahn and since then has acted as both the railway operating company (EVU) and railway infrastructure company (EIU).
All the lines are worked by steam trains, only in the winter timetable does the Stiege–Eisfelder Talmühle section of the Selke Valley Railway have no regular steam services due to its relatively low workload at that time of year.
The best-known line is the Brocken Railway which is worked by steam locomotive-hauled trains to a daily scheduled timetable running from (Wernigerode –) via Drei Annen Hohne to the Brocken and back.
Regional services between Nordhausen and Ilfeld, on the other hand were transferred to diesel railbuses and (since ) trams, apart from one steam train pair.