Three-day Pass in Germany -- Feb 1970

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Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
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I've turned up another typewritten travelogue written for my family and friends. In February 1970 I received permission to leave our gilded cage in Berlin and go for some train riding in the Federal Republic of Germany. I'll break this up into three "takes" so I can explain some references and include some grey and snowy photographs. It was an exceptionally cold winter; I had already experienced helping to push a Ford Taunus out of a snowbank.
1970 02 3 day pass letter 012.jpg
Little did I know that the DuWag cars with Siemens electrics would follow me throughout my transportation career, and that Siemens would buy DuWag. I also was seeing what I soon learned was called Light Rail in the United Kingdom.

A Berlin to Bonn D-train pulls out of Braunschweig Hbf.
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Frankfurt Hbf.
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The mother of high-floor Siemens LRV's in North America. I did not know that I had seen the future -- and it worked.
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More to come.
 
Interesting, thanks for posting. Looking forward to further episodes. I remember the D,E,and F train designations when I was in Germany in 1977. IIRC D was Shnellzug (fast), E was Eilzug (express) and F was local trains, I don't recall what it stood for.
I think D was the highest category of fast trains other than the TEE I believe. I think it stood for "Direkt". Later DB introduced InterCity as a brand for its high value trains and partially cannibalized the D category. In doing so, D becoming the second tier trains that for some reason did not warrant the IC designation. From memory D trains always had some form of catering, either from a full restaurant car or a bistro.

The next category down from memory was FD, I think this stood for "Fern-D" (I think), and was used for long distance trains that typically plied secondary routes and served smaller towns, partially overlapping with E trains and partially with D while covering longer distances and offering a higher quality of rolling stock than the former. Mostly these trains would also have catering.

F seems to have been a spin-off from the FD brand with fewer stops, higher speeds and superior levels of comfort.

In later years, maybe the late 1980s or early 1990s, the remaining D and FD trains were rebranded as Inter Regio (IR). The IR brand has since been discontinued, with some becoming IRE (Inter Regio Express). This had to do with political changes that required a clean vertical separation between national trains and local trains, the former being under the command and subsidy of the national government and the latter of regional governments.

E was Eilzug as you say. This equates to semi-express and would encompass trains of a predominantly regional nature that nevertheless skipped stops. Some of these were later subsumed into the IR brand (see above) but were for the most part left as E and later re-branded as RE (Regio-Express) or IRE (see above)

N (Nahvehrkehrszug) were the local trains that typically did all stops. Some are today confusingly branded as RE. In East Germany they were called P (Personenzug)

Some local trains also just had numbers without a preceding letter, so its a bit confusing.

S were and still are the S-Bahn trains (Stadtbahn - in Berlin or Schnellbahn - in some other cities) that did commuter services in and around the major cities and conurbations. In some areas dedicated stock would be used for these trains whereas in others they were just rebranded R trains. Also level of quality and service frequency could vary broadly between locations.

Further categories of note were

AZ -Autozug, train that transported automobiles. This category is discontinued.
NZ - Nachtzug, night trains with sleeping and couchette cars.

There were also quite a few others that appear to have been used only for short periods or reserved for particular trains that somehow didn't fit into any of thee categories. I guess trying to create a full list would be opening a can of worms as many definitions changed over the years.
 
Were the ECs always a separate category in Germany or were they mapped into one of the German categories i Germany? IIRC, they were always identified as EC. Or is that a categorization in a different historic epoch?
 
Were the ECs always a separate category in Germany or were they mapped into one of the German categories i Germany? IIRC, they were always identified as EC. Or is that a categorization in a different historic epoch?
From memory, EC did not appear until the mid 1980s, I think about the time TEE was being wound down.
 
I've turned up another typewritten travelogue written for my family and friends. In February 1970 I received permission to leave our gilded cage in Berlin and go for some train riding in the Federal Republic of Germany. I'll break this up into three "takes" so I can explain some references and include some grey and snowy photographs. It was an exceptionally cold winter; I had already experienced helping to push a Ford Taunus out of a snowbank.


A Berlin to Bonn D-train pulls out of Braunschweig Hbf.
View attachment 34451

Danke, Willbridge. The black-and-white photographs are extraordinary. If I were a novelist I'd spin a story to fit this one.
 
Here's the Kursbuch list of 1970/71 classifications on the DB (west):

TEE = Only 1st Class, special comfort, surcharge.
F = Only 1st Class, long-distance express, surcharge.
D = Express, surcharge for trips under 50 miles.
Dm = Troop train.
E = Express, no surcharge.
N = A fast local train.
S = City train (as described above, run rapid transit style).
__ = Without a letter defined as a "local traffic train."

Every train, including locals, had a unique number. There also were some oddities, such as trains that changed class in mid-route or a "name" E-train or an E-train that carried a reserved seat car.

Here's the Kursbuch list of 1971 classifications on the DR (east):

D = Express, surcharge.
Ex = Express, surcharge, no discounted fares except for disabled and children under 10 years.
E = Express, surcharge.
S = City train (as described above, run rapid transit style).
__ = Personenzug (a people train as distinct from a freight).

"Personenzug" is a term that goes way back. There was also an "L" category that disappeared after WWII for an express with a special tariff.
 
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Continued from above:

1970 02 3 day pass letter 014.jpg
I did catch up with Miss Nissman (or Nissmann as her German hosts insisted), but it was not until Spring 2018, when the Amtrak Cardinal dropped me off in Charleston to attend a concert of the West Virginia Symphony that she headlined. It fit neatly within the tri-weekly schedule. For the story of her first European performances:

Nissman Debuts – Berlin 1969 has a link to her recordings.

Bonn was the setting for much of John Le Carré's espionage novel A Small Town in Germany. I re-read it after finding this letter and he nailed it in describing the atmosphere and the lives of the diplomats and expatriates.

Not everything in Frankfurt was up to date.
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Delivery truck blocks tram tracks in Frankfurt/Main.
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D-train to Bonn.
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More to come.
 
Not everything in Frankfurt was up to date.
View attachment 34500
I don't think that boxy streetcar on the number 15 service is pre-war. To me it looks like the Verbandtyp or some variant there of. These were post-war cars that were engineered very quickly and with limited means actually more or less as soon as the war had even officially ended and were pressed into mass production pretty soon afterwards to replace cars damaged in the war or to replace cars that had suffered from neglect and were deemed beyond repair. The design was intentionally kept simple to reflect the lack of tools and machinery. The materials and workmanship were restricted to what was readily available. Customers could get a discount if they sent in motors, controllers and other parts of scrapped cars for re-use. The exact number of cars produced is somewhat disputed as there were variants, clones and spin-offs as well as all new cars pretending to be repaired older cars for accounting reasons. Some cities went for a shortcut and just bought the bodies and fitted them onto pre-war under frames, or bought them as kits of parts and assembled them themselves,. Others just bought the motors and fitted them to older cars so there were all sorts of variants. They had relatively short working lives as obviously they were outdated from day one, but as they were of story construction and had a lot of life and performance left in them, many were rebuilt as works cars, some of which can still be found today.

Whereas West Germany quickly superseded this design by far more modern cars such as the Duewags, East Germany clung to the idea and eventually developed it into the Gotha and finally the Reko, the last of which were not built until the late 1970s and which lasted into the 1990s.
 
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I don't think that boys streetcar on the number 15 service is pre-war. To me it looks like the Verbandtyp or some variant there of. These were post-war cars that were engineered very quickly and with limited means actually more or less as soon as the war had even officially ended and were pressed into mass production pretty soon afterwards to replace cars damaged in the war or to replace cars that had suffered from neglect and were deemed beyond repair. The design was intentionally kept simple to reflect the lack of tools and machinery, and materials and workmanship restricted to what was readily available. Customers could get a discount if they sent in motors, controllers and other parts of scrapped cars for re-use. The exact number of cars produced is somewhat disputed as there were variants, clones and spin-offs as well as all new cars pretending to be repaired older cars for accounting reasons. Some cities went for a shortcut and just bought the bodies and fitted them onto pre-war under frames, or bought them as kits of parts and assembled them themselves,. Others just bought the motors and fitted them to older cars so there were all sorts of variants. They had relatively short working lives as obviously they were outdated from day one, but as they were of story construction and had a lot of life and performance left in them, many were rebuilt as works cars, some of which can still be found today.

Whereas West Germany quickly superseded this design by far more modern cars such as the Duewags, East Germany clung to the idea and eventually developed it into the Gotha and finally the Reko, the last of which were not built until the late 1970s and which lasted into the 1990s.
That's a good summary of a convoluted period. It's made for lots of interesting fan trips!

Berlin-Köpenick in 2014, East (r.) meets West (l.) on a fan trip.
A030945-R1-04-5kk  Ost meets West.jpg

Gotha cars on the Berlin interurban Line 87



2005: DueWag meter-gauge car on Berlin interurban Line 88, ex-Heidelberg.
MAR 05 209.jpg
 
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Continued from above. I was freezing in the dark in Bremen as I hunted for the last place my great-grandfather had stayed before he boarded the ship to America. He had saved their business card.

The "Circle Theater" reference is to an all-nite cinema in Portland. The cops used to wait outside at closing time, as usually someone who they were looking for would come out. "ABC" refers to the sharp-eyed bean counters of the Audit Bureau of Circulation.
1970 02 3 day pass letter 016.jpg
Dr. Müller wrote me and reported that the hotel that had issued that business card was destroyed by the RAF in 1943. That explained the new building in this photo.
Feb70 005.jpg

Bremen Hauptbahnhof in 1970.
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Bremen and Bremerhaven transit systems used Bremen-built cars in 1970. The "W" sign indicates "Weiche" - a switch. More post-WWII buildings, as the railyard was a target.
Feb70 012.jpg

Train time in February 1970. For some reason the Army wanted me to catch trains back to Berlin.
Feb70 018 train time.jpg

TCWO (Train Conducting Warrant Officer) watches his Royal Corps of Transport train being pulled into Braunschweig Hbf.
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1970 - ready for the trip to Berlin-Charlottenburg Bhf.
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Class 52, a post-war rebuilt of the ubiquitous multi-purpose decapods.
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That Woltersdorf Tram line is fascinating.

Prewar trams were not just in Germany, I saw them when I visited Brussels in 1971. I took a ride on one out to the suburbs. Note Brussels used trolley poles, unusual for Europe.
Interesting. In 69-71 I only saw trolley poles in a Paris industrial, Berlin's Siemenstadt line and in Hamburg.
 
Prewar trams were not just in Germany, I saw them when I visited Brussels in 1971. I took a ride on one out to the suburbs. Note Brussels used trolley poles, unusual for Europe.
Switzerland still had quite a few pre-war trams well into the 1970s I think, both Basle and Zurich had them. Italy of course had loads of them on virtually all systems, and Milano still has plenty of their iconic ventottos to this day. now approaching 100 years of service. In the USA too, many pre-war PCCs were still running until relatively recently, and of course there are the Perley Thomas cars in New Orleans.

I guess all examples of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" some of which managed to survive so absurdly long that they eventually got declared monuments.
 
Switzerland still had quite a few pre-war trams well into the 1970s I think, both Basle and Zurich had them. Italy of course had loads of them on virtually all systems, and Milano still has plenty of their iconic ventottos to this day. now approaching 100 years of service. In the USA too, many pre-war PCCs were still running until relatively recently, and of course there are the Perley Thomas cars in New Orleans.

I guess all examples of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" some of which managed to survive so absurdly long that they eventually got declared monuments.
Or there's "fix it in defiance." Unfortunately, I haven't turned up my travelogue for August 1970 into Denmark, but the photo below shows the equipment manager in Aarhus with one of their unique cars. I had asked him why the aluminum window frames and other 1940's touches. He explained that toward the end of the Occupation, the passive resistance of the Danes got to the point that one night the SS set fire to the carbarn and the wooden cars were burned down to their metal components. So people had to walk to get around.

The decision (probably influenced by postwar shortages) was made to recycle the metal components into "new" cars. The controllers were straight out of 1910's-20's technology, so the smoothness of acceleration and braking depended on the operator! There were other features of which they were rightfully proud. I've told this story before, but it's inspiring to see what small systems can overcome.
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