All articles @
  Canadian National
  • Kitbashing a CN caboose
  • Europe
  • Gs of DSB with high brakeman's platform
  •   France
  •   Germany
  • "Pop" coaches
  • A brief history of German railways
  • A review of Fleischmann's Bavarian GtL 4/4
  • A review of Trix's Bavarian DXI
  • BR01 to 19
  • BR20 to 39
  • BR40 to 59
  • BR60 to 79
  • BR80 to 96
  • BR80
  • BR97
  • BR98
  • Blue F-train coaches
  • Classification of Deutsche Reichsbahn goods wagons (1920-1945)
  • E69 or 169
  • E93
  • Experimental, unique and unusual German locomotives
  • Five figures and three letters - a story of searching and doubt
  • G10 covered goods wagons
  • German steam locomotive numbering system
  • German track-side signs to print out
  • German-English dictionary of railway or technical terms - appendices
  • German-English dictionary of railway or technical terms - main
  • Grandpa is giving a lesson on lettering of early era III coaches
  • Lettering of German freight wagons
  • Modelling a Bavarian Branch Line - part 1
  • Modelling a Bavarian Branch Line - part 2
  • Modelling a Bavarian Branch Line - part 3
  • Modelling a Bavarian Branchline - part 4
  • Umbauwagen
  • What do the white squares and trapezoids mean on goods wagons?
  • What locomotives are appropriate for what rolling-stock?
  •   Latvia
  • Riga and the Latvian Railway Museum
  •   Modelling
  • Converting a FAMA / KISS / ROCO Tm 2/2 to 16.5mm gauge
  • Fleischmann Magic Train box van lengthening
  • Fleischmann Magic Train box van shortening
  • Internationale Modellbahn Ausstellung, Koeln Nov 2000
  • Kadee couplers for European HO rolling stock
  • Making a Fleischmann Magic Train STAINZ look less like STAINZ
  •   Norway
  • Norwegian train travel
  •   Sweden
  • A photo charter journey through Småland and Östergötland, Sweden
  •   UK
  • Gatwick Express
  • Out-n-About - Salfords, Surrey
  • Out-n-About - The Snowdon Mountain Railway, Wales
  • General
  • Railway Movies
  • Modelling
  • Fitting a Digitrax DZ121 into a Roco HO Scale DR BR41 and BR50
  •   General
  • My Maerklin Memories
  •   Layouts
  • Geoff Money's Altburgbahn
  • John Oxlade's Bavarian layout - 1st year's events
  • John Oxlade's Bavarian layout - 2nd year's events
  • John Oxlade's Bavarian layout - an operating session
  • John Oxlade's Bavarian layout - the track plan
  • Rogier Donker's Elliana & Heritage Railroad
  •   Scenery
  • Green Lumps against a Blue Sky
  • US
  • The Railroads of Southeast Florida
  •   Modelling
  • Building a Union Pacific SD60M from a Rail Power Products kit
  • Combin(ing) a Chivers Way Car with Boulder Valley Models combine sides
  •   Union Pacific
  • Union Pacific "Double Diesel" Locomotives
  • Union Pacific Century 855
  • Union Pacific DD35 and DD35A
  • Union Pacific SD60 and SD60M
  •   Western Pacific - Union Pacific
  • Out-n-About - The Feather River Canyon, California, USA
  • [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    A brief history of German railways

    Author: John Oxlade, Salfords, Surrey, United Kingdom (email: )

    In Europe a series of epochs or eras have been standardised to identify particular periods in railway history. As events in history rarely fall into such convenient categories, here's a little background information...

    The railway revolution in Germany began on the 7th December 1835 when the first 'German' train ran between Nürnberg and Fürth. I say German although both the locomotive and it's driver were actually English. The locomotive Adler (Eagle) was built by Robert Stephenson and Co. in Newcastle, and the driver; a Mr. William Wilson, stayed on in Germany and upon his death, was buried in Nürnberg.

    Over time, the various lands (the German Länder are similar to English counties, or American states) in Germany started building their own railway systems, which beagn to connect the corners of Germany together.

    The railways of Germany were nationalised in 1920, but after the Second World War, the railways were split again, one each for East and West Germany. On the 1st January 1994, after the re-unification of the two halves of Germany, the Deutsche Bahn AG was formed, and the railway systems were merged once again.

    Principal events in German railway history

    1835 (7th December) The first German train runs between Nürnberg and Fürth.
    1840 (4th October) The first train on the München Augsburg Eisenbahn Gesellschaft.
    1842 First saloon coach is built - for the Grand Duchy of Baden State Railway
    1850 Principal dimensions of rolling stock are agreed by the German railway companies allowing interchange of stock.
    1853 First working rules for Prussian and North German railways.
    1854 First steam railcar - Berlin-Hamburg Railway.
    1857 First International through coach working - Frankfurt am Main - Basel.
    1873 First sleeping car (Nagelmakers - later CIWL) Oostend to Berlin.
    1875 Unified signalling for all of Germany.
    1878 First Prussian 'standards' for locomotives, coaches and wagons.
    1879 First electric locomotive in the world built in Berlin.
    1880 First German sleeping car.
    1882 First German owned restaurant coach.
    First corridor train between Berlin and Köln.
    1883 First run of the Orient Express.
    1894 Electrical signalling block system introduced in Prussia.
    1896 Sunday tickets introduced.
    1902 Berlin underground opened.
    1907 Train ferry from Germany to Sweden opens.
    1909 Pfalzbahn incorporated into the Bavarian State Railway.
    Formation of the Deutschen Staatsbahnwagen-Verband (German Railway Wagon Assoc.) by the 8 Länderbahnen.
    1910 First Verbandsbauart wagon built.
    1911 First long distance electrification in Germany - Bitterfeld-Dessau (15kv, 162/3Hz).
    1912 The K.P.E.V. introduces the first diesel-electric locomotive.
    The K.P.E.V. introduces the first all steel through-corridor express passenger coaches.
    1916 The MITROPA is founded.
    1924 The Deutsche Reischbahn and Deutsche Reichsbahn Gesellschaft are created.
    1928 The first run of the Rheingold from Hook van Holland to Basel.
    1929 Leig (express parcels) services introduced.
    1933 The Flying Hamburger (high speed diesel railcar) enters service.
    1936 (11th May) The steam locomotive 05 002 sets a world record of 200.4 kmh (125.25 mph). (The English locomotive 'Mallard' broke this on 3rd July 1938 with 202.4 kmh (126.5 mph))
    1937 The DRG becomes plain DR, and the Hoheits Adler (winged eagle + hakenkreuz (swastika)) is introduced.
    1938 Germany takes control of the countries (and railways) of Austria, the Sudetenland, Bohemia and Moravia.
    1939 Germany takes control of the countries (and railways) of Czechoslovakia, Danzig and Poland.
    1940 The DR takes over control of the railways of Luxembourg.
    1945 The 3rd Reich is defeated, and the DR is split into zones operated by the occupying forces of Britain, France, America and Russia.
    1949 The German Federal (west) and Democratic (east) Republics are formed.
    1952 The DB and DR are formed.
    1973 (12th September) The electric locomotive 103 118 reaches 252.9 kmh (165.6 mph) during tests.
    1976 The effective end of steam operation on the DB.
    1984 (7th October) The electric locomotive 120 001 reaches 265 kmh (158 mph) during tests.
    1986 (1st September) The first section of the Neubaustrecke (new high speed lines) fom Mannheim to Graben Neudorf is completed.
    1988 (1st May) The prototype Intercity Experimental sets a new German railway speed record of 406.9 kph (254.3 mph) on the newly completed high speed line between Fulda and Würzburg.
    1994 (1st January) The DB and DR are merged to form the DB AG.

    The Epochs explained. Epoch numbers are almost always written with Roman numerals
    Epoch I1835-1920 This is generally referred to as the Länderbahn era. For a better description of these Länderbahnen, have a look at the page Information on German locomotives.
    85 years is a somewhat broad time range, and some people use an additional Epoch 0 for the period 1835-1870, and move Epoch I to 1870-1925. To the best of my knowledge, this is unofficial.
    Epoch II1920-1945 The period of the Deutsche Reichsbahn Gesellschaft
    Epoch III1945-1970 The period of the separated DB and DR
    Epoch IV1970-1985 About the time of the introduction of the UIC numbering system.
    The UIC (Union Internationale des Chemins de Fer), was founded in October 1922, but as of 1969, UIC numbering was used on rolling stock throughtout Europe, now that interchange was common.
    Epoch V
    1985 onwards This pretty much covers what the DB call the 'New Railway'
    Although these Epochs appear to be based around dates of German events, they are widely used throughout mainland Europe in the model railway industry.

    [ last updated 31st Dec 2003 ]