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Epoch III

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 start of an international long-distance network

Already short after the ending of the second world war there was need for some international railway connections across Germany. Because the geographical position of Germany, it was practically impossible to let trains take a roundabout route around Germany. So at the end of 1945 the preperations started for the first international services across Germany. Also the allied forces in the different zones had no objections against the new international connections.

The Nord-Express in 1947 with a pre-war Rheingold luggage coach  | Photo: John Poulsson
The Nord-Express in 1947 with a pre-war Rheingold luggage coach | Photo: John Poulsson
So in May 1946 the first international trains went into service. This was L 11/12 "Nord Express" between Paris/Calais and Berlin. This trains was only in service on tuesday, thursday and saterday, the return journey was on monday, wednesday and saterday. In Lüttich the train separated and one part went to Calais to give connection to the ships to the United Kingdom. In Germany the trains took the line Aachen - Köln - Köln Südbrücke - Wuppertal - Hamm - Hannover - Helmstedt - Magdeburg and finally Berlin Stadtbahn.

At the end of May also train FD 191/192 went into service. This so-called "Flügelzug" of train L 11/12 separated in Hannover from L 11/12 and went to Hamburg - Flensburg and finally to Copenhagen.

The railway companies also decided to take the Orient Express back into service. It's not precisely known on which date the train went into service, but it is certain that on 15 May 1946 the train was in service as L 5/6 "Orient Express". The train was in service on the route Paris - Strasbourg - Kehl - Karlsruhe - Stuttgart - Untertürkheim Gbf - München - Salzburg - Linz. In Stuttgart one part separated and went as L 105/106 to Untertürkheim Gbf - Aalen - Nürnberg - Schirnding - Prague. Between Kehl and Strasbourg the train was indicated as D 5/6.

On 7 October 1946 there were some changes. L 11/12 went not anymore to Berlin but to Stockholm. The route was now Münster - Osnabrück - Hamburg - Flensburg - Copenhagen - Stockholm. The train also went to Ostend instead of Calais. With this change train FD 191/192 Hannover - Copenhagen expired. To connect Berlin, train FD 111/112 Amsterdam - Berlin Stadtbahn was introduced. This train exchanged coaches Paris - Berlin in Osnäbruck with the L 11/12. L 5/6 went now to Wien instead of Linz.

Also Switerland was interested in a North-South connection. Therefore train FD 211/212 was introduced. This one was in service between Basel SBB - Strasbourg - Köln - Kaldenkirchen - Amsterdam. In Köln the train exchanged coaches Basel - Copenhagen and Basel - Stockholm with the L 11/12.

This basic network of post war international trains could hardly compared with the good pre war connections the DRG offered. In spite of the fact that the post war trains were indicated as "L" trains, they didn't actually deserved this indication. The trains, which were extremly heavy, were provided with dining and sleeping coaches, but had also third class coaches. The speeds were low and the delays in the stations and borders were very long. The trains were only allowed for international travelers and were not accessible for German people.

The timetable of 6 January 1947 introduced a new connection to Scandinavia. Because of the growing number of travelers to Scandinavia train FD 191/192 was introduced. The train was in service on the connection Köln - Neuß - Düsseldorf - Essen - Altenessen - Hamm - Osnabrück - Hamburg - Flensburg - Copenhagen. In Osnäbruck one part went as FD 291/292 to Bentheim and The Netherlands.

With the summer timetable of 1947 the traveltime of the "Nord Express" was improved. The train offered now also good connections to Göteburg and Oslo. Also Norway had now a relative good connection with central Europe. Because the "Nord Express" had now more coaches it was not anymore possible to take coaches from Basel from the FD 211/212 in Köln. Therefore train FD 275/276 "Schweiz-Skandinavien-Express" went into service on the route Basel SBB - Frankfurt - Bebra - Hannover - Hamburg. According to the plan this train was after Hamburg indicated as L 11/12, but normally the train was until Copenhagen indicated as FD 275/276. With the introduction of this train, train FD 211/212 expired.

Also FD 191/192 was changed. This train between Köln and Copenhagen was changed to "Skandinavien-Express". The train was now in service between Hoek van Holland - Bentheim - Osnabrück - Hamburg - Flensburg - Copenhagen. In Osnäbruck one part separated and went as FD 291/292 to Paris. The old FD 291/292 expired. The FD 291/292 had also a couple of coaches for the relation Hoek van Holland - Berlin. These coaches were exchanged in Osnäbruck with the FD 111/112. The FD 111/112 got also in Osnäbruck coaches for Berlin from FD 11/12. In this train (FD 111/112) were also for the domestic traffic, and especially for the Dienst-D-Züge network a couple of coaches present. The FD 111/112 was the only train between the Western zones and the Sovjet zone. The desired connection to Warschau was prevented by the Sovjets.

Train L 5/6 "Orient Express" was now on the whole relation indicated as L 5/6 and now also a stopped in Stuttgart Hbf. Here one part went as L 105/106 to Stuttgart - Praag - Kattowitz - Warschau - Gdingen. This so-called "Flügelzug" had also the name "Orient Express". There was now not only a connection between France and Czechoslovakia and Poland, but also a connection with the ships to Sweden via Gdingen. At the same time also the old "Ostende-Wien-Express" was introduced. But the train was only between Köln - Wiesbaden - Frankfurt - Nürnberg indicated as L 51/52. Between Ostend and Köln the train was coupled with the "Nord Express", and from Nürnberg to Prague the train was coupled with the L 105/106 "Orient Express". There was also a Flügelzug from Köln to Amsterdam with the indication D 254/255.

In the fall of 1947 train L 51/52 was diverted to Passau and Linz where the train joined the L 5/6. With the L 5/6 it was also possible to travel directly to Belgrade. Each week there was one sleeping coach Paris - Belgrade in this train, and normal coaches first and second with destination Belgrade were each day in this train. On request of the Dutch railways there was again a direct connection with Switzerland. Train D 164/163 went into service from The Netherlands to Köln - Mannheim and finally to Basel.

With the summer timetable of 9 May 1948 the "Orient Express" went three times a week to Bukarest, and four times to Budapest. The number of travels which traveled via Ostend to the United Kingdom was still increasing, so they decided to let train L 51/52 travel directly to Ostend and not anymore together with the "Nord Express". The Flügelzug FD 291/292 Paris - Osnabrück disappeared. The L 11/12 exchanged in Köln coaches from L 51/52. Train FD 111/112 was changed and started now in Köln and was in service on the connection Köln - Essen - Hamm - Hannover - Helmstedt - Berlin Stadtbahn. The Polish railways asked again for a passage through the Sovjet zone to Warschau. But again it was refused by the Sovjets, among other things because the Russian official was not present on the EFK in Istanbul which was held between 9 and 14 October 1947. The EFK (Europäische Fahrplankonferenz) is the yearly returning conference of European railway companies where they discuss and plan the international timetables so the railway companies can, based on this timetable, make their own domestic timetables.

Because FD 111/112 went now throught the Ruhr area, L 11/12 was lead over Wuppertal and Hamm. FD 275/276 was lengthened to Zürich and FD 254/255 Amsterdam - Kaldenkirchen - Köln was introduced as connection on L 51/52 in Köln. Train D 163/164 Hoek van Holland - Basel SBB was in Germany indicated as FD 163/164. FD 192 was in that year the fastest train in Germany with a speed of 66 ,7 km/h.

Due to the Berlin blockage which started on 24 June, all trains stopped between Helmstedt and Marienborn. FD 111/112 stopped now in Helmstedt. After the ending of the Berlin blockage on 12 May 1949 train FD 111/112 went again further to Berlin.

On 1 October 1948 the winter timetable of 1948/49 started. FD 111/112 got the Flügelzug FD 211/212 Wuppertal - Elberfeld - Hamm to give a connection in the direction of Hannover.

On the EFK conference in Krakau from 6 to 16 October 1948, the international summer timetable of 1949 was planned and discussed. They decided to improve the international connections further and to enlarge the number of coach groups with different destinations. These were all results of the rebuilding process and the economically improved situation in Europe after the war.

They decided to divert FD 254/255 from Amsterdam to Hoek van Holland to give Köln a connection with the ships to London in Hoek van Holland. In these trains were also coaches for Prague, Wien, München and further to Warschau via Prague. In the conference was also the connection Paris - Warschau with the L 11/12 and FD 111/112 discussed. However this resulted now in a disagreement with the ISG which claimed the exploitation of the sleeping coaches to Warschau, and this was something the PKP (Polish railways) was not tolerating. In the time of the conference the trains couldn't go even further than Helmstedt and when the Berlin blockage was ended the situation was entirely different.

They also decided to introduce again the Flügelzug FD 291/292 of FD 191/192 between Osnabrück and Paris. FD 191/192 was now not anymore routed over Bentheim but via Aachen - Köln - Wuppertal - Münster - Osnabrück. Düsseldorf, which was developing itself to an important trade center, was connected with train FD 391/392 via Essen and Hamm with FD 191/192. FD 275/276 was lengthened to Rome and got coaches for Chur and Luzern and got the name "Italien-Schweiz-Skandinavien-Express", respectively "Skandinavien-Schweiz-Italien-Express". FD 163/164 was improved by raising the speed to 56,2 km/h in Germany. Because of that this train became a daytrain instead of a day/night train.

With the winter timetable of 1949/50 Franfurt got a connection on the "Italien-Schweiz-Skandinavien-Express" in Mainz via D 563/564. On request of the Reichsbahn in the Bizone a direct night train was introduced between The Netherlands and München, this train was FD 107/108 Arnhem - Emmerich - Duisburg - Köln - Mainz - Mannheim - Stuttgart - München. Hereby Flügelzug FD 507/508 was introduced between Duisburg and Dortmund. The name of the Flügelzug L 105/106 was changed from "Orient Express" to "Paris-Prag-Express". This train went not anymore to Warschau and Gdingen, there were only some coaches to Warschau in this train. With the winter timetable FD 391/392 was changed in D 391/392.

With the summer timetable of 1950 it was decided to change the L 5/6, L 105/106 and L 51/52 in FD-trains. The trains got also third class coaches now. In this timetable train L 11/12 was the only L-train. FD 254/255 was changed in FD 251/252, the Flügelzug FD 507/508 disappeared. The nighttrain D 307/308 Basel - Dortmund was introduced which exchanged coaches in Duisburg with FD 107/108. And finally in train FD 111/112 were coaches from Paris with destination Warschau, together with coaches Köln - Warschau and Ostend - Berlin.

Also only for this summer timetable some extra trains to Scandinavia were introduced. Besides the L 11/12 "Nord Express", the FD 15/16 Paris- Aachen - Köln - Essen - Münster - Hamburg - Flensburg - Nyborg - Copenhagen, which had some coaches from Bruxelles, came into service. And besides FD 191/192 "Skandinavien-Express", the FD 171/172 (London -) Hoek van Holland - Bentheim - Osnabrück - Hamburg - Flensburg - Copenhagen came into service. Both trains (FD 15/16 and FD 171/172) went normally not further than Nyborg, but both trains offered good connections on the Danish domestic trains.

With the winter timetable of 1950/51, the last timetable before the introduction of the new F-train network, train FD 107/108 was extended to Amsterdam. Here you can found schematically all international L and FD trains in the winter timetable of 1950/51.