A new start
The first trains after the war
The first network of long-distance trains
Moving forward, more trains, more comfort, more regularity
Pre war rolling stock again in service
The start of an international long-distance network
The blue network of fast express trains
The modern era, the rise of electric locomotives
The modern diesel locomotive is coming
A new class of coaches
The third class is abandoned
The last new steam engine
A new prestious network, the Trans Europ Express
The Rheingold, from 1962 again exclusive
A new star on rails, the electric locomotive E 03
The first trains after the war
The task to build up again a somewhat decent passenger train network with a couple of long-distance routes was very difficult. It was difficult because Germany was occupied in different zones and because very much rolling stock was destroyed or heavily damaged and it was located at many places some even outside the four zones.
The German people were in the years after the war mostly busy with surviving. Houses were damaged, and foods were very scarce, the black market prospered. Most things were paid with American sigarettes. Of great value were the CARE packets which were shipped by the US to Germany. The CARE packages contained mainly foods.
There were as well large flows of refugees. The flow was mainly a flow from the south to the north, but when for example the potato harvest failed many people moved to Niedersachen. Because there was lack of litteraly everything people traveled very long distances for food and labor. These people were populating the trains these days. These trains were often too heavy due to the bad state of rolling stock and the large number of people who used these trains.
Even in the hard winter of 1946/47, when the number of passenger trains was highly reduced many people were traveling between Hamburg and Hannover and the Ruhr Area in open cargo wagons of empty coal trains which traveled back to the Ruhr area.
Also most of the rolling stock which was still in running condition was confiscated by the allied forces. They used the rolling stock for the transport of troops and also for persons like officers or other officials. What remained could be used for the passenger trains of the railway companies. There was also a difference in the four zones in how the passenger trains were relaunched. The Americans didn't interfere very much in how the passenger services were organized in their zone, but in the Britsh zone it was the opposite. Here the relaunch was stricktly controlled by the Britsh administration.
In that time cargo trains had higher priority than passenger trains, because there was a shortage of locomotives. The fact that cargo trains had higher priority was because the supply of cities had a high priority. This situation lasted until July 1948.
In this situation of rolling stock shortage and the very poor condition of the infrastructure the railway companies in the different zones were trying hard to relaunch train services. They tried with all effort to have as much trains as possible in service to carry all people. These trains were mostly running short distances. There were a few long-distance trains, these were D-trains and a couple of Eilzüge (passenger trains). In 1948 the first domestic FD trains went into service. The first D-trains connected cities in different zones.
The speed of the trains was very low, not more than approximately 80 km/h. At that time not all lines were accessible due to damage of rails, bridges and/or stations. Later the speeds decreased again because many lines were repaired. Also the delays in the stations and at the zone borders were very long. This was because of the chaotic scenes in the stations. Because of poor lighting in the stations people could hardly found their luggage in the trains and they could harldy read station names. Due to this most people didn't disembark and embark quickly, many people also stepped out of the trains through the windows (!). A journey from München to Hamburg lasted about 19 hours.