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Author: Martin Silz, Essen, Germany
After WWII many coaches were damaged and/or not up to the latest style. Most coaches for suburban trains and semi fast riding trains (Eilzüge) were still compartment coaches, most of them of Prussian origin. The average age of the coaches was more then 30 years and the coaches were essentially worn out and should have been withdrawn. However, the Bundesbahn had no money to order new coaches at that time and decided to rebuild what they had. The Bundesbahn used the frames of the old coaches, which were inspected and brought to an equal length. To these frames a new body with new interior was fitted.
The vast majority of the frames of the converted coaches were of Prussian origin, but there have been also ex Saxonain, Bavarian or Badenian coaches. All 'normal' converted coaches were green, only those intended for special services painted a different colour.
There were 3-axle and 4-axle coaches (and six 2-axle coaches for prisoners). The 3-axle coaches were always coupled as pairs. By tensioning the springs of the couplers, the maximum velocity could be increased (from 65 or 80 km/h to 100 km/h).
The pairs were:
Of course there is no rule without exception: The D3yg was a single coach. This coach was special in another way, too. It had a cab for push-pull service. There are rumors that there was a combined 2nd class/baggage coach with a cab too, but it seems that this is the same vehicle.
Technical data on 3-axle coaches:
Eight coaches were rebuilt in 1961 for use with the electric railcar ET85. These coaches had no possibility to interchange between coupled coaches (EB85 01-08, B3y (no "g")). These coaches were of the same colour scheme as the ET85 (mainly red with light grey stripes).
Eight B3yg coaches were rebuild in 1967 as WG3yge 835 wagons for the special train "Rollende Weinstrasse" ("rolling wine street"). Colours dark blue/beige. There were also two additional coaches, which were rebuild from a B4y-29a (Eilzugwagen Gruppe 30).
Many coaches are still in use today as maintenance vehicles. Nowadays they are no longer required to be coupled as pairs, and can be seen as single coaches. Some of them are still in green livery, but most of them have been repainted in oceanblue (RAL 5020).
Similar to the 3axle Umbauwagen there have been 4axle Umbauwagen. Many of the converted coaches got their old bogies (Prussian type or swan neck (=American) type). But there has been only one single AB4yg with swan-neck bogies and no AB4yg coach with Prussian bogies. All other AB4yg coaches had Minden-Deutz bogies. There have been all types of bogies under B4yg and BD4yg coaches. The last coaches were to be withdrawn in 1989, but thanks to German unification the last coach could be seen in public use in 1991.
Technical data on 4-axle coaches:
Some coaches were rebuild for use with EMUs ET25, ET 55, ET 65 (especially in the Stuttgart region). These coaches were painted according to the scheme of the connected EMU, i.e. red with light-grey stripes. One of these coaches was used later for testing of new bogies (up to 160 km/h !)
Many coaches have been PREserved as museums' coaches all over Germany. Even some private railways bought some of those coaches for use on their tracks (e.g. Tegernsee-Bahn, Allgäu-Zollern-Bahn)
The DR of the former GDR did something similar. In this case, they are called "Reko-Wagen" (reconstructed coaches).
All major manufacturers produce (did produce) Umbauwagen:
Short review of H0 models:
All models are of nearly equal quality. All coaches are fixed with short couplings. Lengths and height are correct. Lettering is correct and (of course with exceptions) readable. But light and shadow are always linked closely together. Especially there are some problems with the 4-axle coaches:
In N-scale Fleischmann and Roco are quiet equal. However, Arnold's coaches too short.
For more details have a look at the tests in eisenbahn magazin (see below).
eisenbahn magazin, Oct 1983, p 19, Allgäu-Zollern-Bahn, renumbering
eisenbahn magazin, Dec 1986, p 31, history 3yg, incl WG3yge and CPw3ygef
eisenbahn magazin, Dec 1986, p 88, test 3yge H0
eisenbahn magazin, Jun 1987, p 80, test 4yg, H0
eisenbahn magazin, Sep 1987, p 74, test 4yg, N
eisenbahn magazin, Feb 1989, p 13, history 4yg
eisenbahn kurier, Jul 1990, p 76, kitbashing of a H0 BPw3ygef
Glasers Annalen, volume 79 (1955), p 1-13, Der Personenwagenumbau bei der Deutschen Bundesbahn by Dr.Ing. Oskar Schmidt
Glasers Annalen, volume 83 (1959), p 115-119, Vierachsige Umbau-Personenwagen der Deutschen Bundesbahn by Helmut Schroeter
ZEV Glasers Annalen, volume 106 (1982), p 369-371, Die drei- und vierachsige Umbauwagen der Deutschen Bundesbahn (Bauart yg) by Ulrich Froböß
[ last updated 31st Dec 2003 ]