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
(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.
| 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. |