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Epoch II

The rise of the long-distance railroad traffic
A new era, a new generation of coaches
Standard design locomotives
Service on a high level, the Mitropa
The rise of a trainlegend
A new numbering scheme for passenger cars
Beginning of the modern age, electric locomotives
A new idea, the SVT
The competitor of the SVT, the Henschel-Wegmann-Zug
Result of renewal: the Schürzenwagen
The temporarily ending


Epoch II contains the period from around 1920 until the end of the second world war in 1945. This era is called the Reichsbahnzeit, it was the era of the Deutsche Reichsbahn Gesellschaft (DRG). It was the era of large steam engines, the first electrified mainlines and the first diesel locomotives and diesel powered trainsets.

The agreement of Versailles forced Germany to undertook the whole blame of the break out of the first world war. This agreement demanded high recovery payments from Germany. Germany had to handed over many territories and railway rolling stock to the victors. Besides these payments there was the crisis of the worldeconomy in the thirties. The inflation of the German Mark was very high.

Besides the depressions, this era was characterised by renewal and by speedrecords. Renewal as mentioned above by means of electrifying, and speedrecords with trainsets like the Schienenzeppelin from Kruckenberg and the Fliegender Hamburger, and the speedrecord of 200,3 km/h set by the steam engine 05 002. The electrifying was already started by the Länderbahnen and was expanded by the DRG in the thirties with electrifying the line Nürnberg-Berlin and München-Berlin.

The Deutsche Reichsbahn Gesellschaft was officially founded in 1924. Before 1924 the DRG consisted in a different form. On the 1st of April 1920 the seven existing former state railways of the states Prussia, Bavaria, Saxon, Württemberg, Baden, Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Oldenburg were put together in the Reichseisenbahn.

The Reichseisenbahn began to setup a plan to form a consistent and uniform collection of coaches and locomotives. The Reichseisenbahn was saddled with the inheritance of the former state railways, there were for example 20.000 locomotives, divided into 350 series. In 1922 the Reichseisenbahn developed a new scheme to classify the old locomotives into 99 series, subdivided into groups with 10 type numbers. They got a scheme which began with the numbers 01 upto 10, followed by the numbers 11 upto 20, 21 upto 30, etc until 99. Each group represented a locomotive type. For example the express train locomotives were classified into the group numbers 01 upto 10. Between 1923 and 1925 all locomotives were divided into the new scheme and got the new livery and numbers. In 1926 all locomotives had a new number and where classified into a category.

Here you can find an overview () of all the former state railway locomotives which were used in the long-distance traffic after 1920. The same happened with the passenger coaches, a first attempt was in 1921 and 1922. This job was easier than with the locomotives because the former state railways used all a system which was almost similar to each other.

Here you can find the numberscheme (Numbering scheme passenger coaches) of the passenger coaches. Later they found out that a couple of things were more complicated than they thought. As a result the numbering scheme for passenger coaches was replaced in 1930 for a new scheme. It was in 1930 that the DRG abandoned the fourth class.

Apart from using old rolling stock from the former state railways, the DRG made plans for new standardized locomotives and coaches. The DRG developed new powerful steam and electric locomotives to replace the old locomotives from the former state railways. Diesel engines came into use in trainsets, just as brakes which were operated by high-pressure air systems. This meant the end of the brakeman at the end of the train. In epoch II the constructions of coaches was characterised by steel constructions which were fastened together with rivets.

In the thirties, the first coaches with a welded construction were built, and at the end of epoch II there came the new skirted coaches, a generally new generation of coaches. Only a few railway lines were built in epoch II, but the existing lines were improved and made suitable for higher speeds. The security on the tracks was improved too by the introduction of the blocksystem and the installation of INDUSI (Induktive Zugsicherung). INDUSI is a system which stops the train automatically when there is a red signal and if the train passed this red signal. INDUSI was combined with SIFA (Sicherheitsfahrschaltung), a system which controlled the engineer.

In spite of the fact that the DRG was losing many cargo and passengers to the automobile and the airplane, the DRG was still the backbone of the passenger and freight traffic.