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 Berlin Military Train - information wanted!

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Number of posts : 1
Registration date : 2012-09-03

PostSubject: Berlin Military Train - information wanted!    3/9/2012, 11:29


I am working on a project to model the British Military Train in 1:87 scale as it ran between Berlin-Charlottenburg and Braunschweig toward the end of its service in 1991, and am writing in the hope that someone here on the forum can assist in obtaining some information I need concerning the two officer's coaches that ran regulary with this service (Type Salon m and WGSm - essentially the same but under two different designations).

They were both built to the standard DB type "Bm 238" (externally) but there the similarity must end. The solebar inscriptions on the photos I have specifies "15 Pl" i.e. seating for fifteen, whereas the standard DB coaches would accomodate 72 passengers. From external photos it is clear that some of the normal interior compartment walls are not present - but apart from one single photo found on Flickr, of what must be one of the compartments at the outer ends of the vehicle, that is where my research runs out. One of these coaches found its way to the STAR railway museum in the Netherlands in 1997, but my understanding is that the coach was completely rebuilt internally upon purchase, so nothing remains of the original interior.

Does anyone have a general arrangement drawing of either of these coaches, or any interior photos, or even a description of the interior, that you would be able to point me in the direction of? I have already researched Thomas Linbergs' excellent site, and have made as much use of Google as I can, but to no further avail. Is there even an RCoT archive administrator I could write to to progress my enquiry?

Any help that anyone could give me will be much appreciated!

Best Wishes,

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Let Gen
Let Gen

Number of posts : 1035
Localisation : Winnipeg Manitoba Canada
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Places Served : Germany, Egypt, Cyprus, CFS Alert and some other strange places
Registration date : 2007-12-16

PostSubject: Re: Berlin Military Train - information wanted!    3/9/2012, 21:35

You might try this gentleman. He co-authored, " Show Me The Way To Go Home". To do with the train service for the British Forces after the war.

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Number of posts : 20
Age : 79
Localisation : Milton Keynes, UK
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Places Served : RAF Locking, 646SU at RAF Obernkirchen & RAF Scharfoldendorf
Registration date : 2012-09-11

PostSubject: Re: Berlin Military Train - information wanted!    16/9/2012, 13:44


Sorry I can't help with any information suitable for modelling the train, but in 1958/9 I remember meeting the military train from Berlin several times at Hanover HBF when I was based at 646 SU, RAF Scharfoldendorf (~30 miles south of Hanover). We exchanged diplomatic bags with the on-train courier.

On one occasion I recall saying nothing more than "Good morning" to the courier from Berlin to which he replied "And which part of Stockport do you come from?" My home was at Cheadle, just 3 miles west of Stockport! Just two words were enough to pin me down! Ouch!
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Number of posts : 208
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PostSubject: Re: Berlin Military Train - information wanted!    18/9/2012, 14:52

Hi there,
What about contacting the RLC home headquarters.........
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PostSubject: Re: Berlin Military Train - information wanted!    4/12/2012, 21:58

I do not know whether you were aware but the 21st Anniversary of the running of the last "Berliner" was commemorated on 11-12th May 2012 by a steam hauled special that retraced the route from Berlin - Charlottenberg to Hannover and back including a symbolic stop at what used to be the border between East and West. Very few photos of the "Berliner" and its rolling stock survive as photography was actively discouraged during the "Cold War" years. However, I have seen some photos of the coaches you mention so there is some evidence around. The brochure produced for this commemoration contains some photos that may be of interest and if you contact the Organisers of the trip copies may still be available.

Kind regards,

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PostSubject: Re: Berlin Military Train - information wanted!    3/3/2013, 11:25

I had the privilege of travelling on the train in August 67, when I was stationed in Paderborn with 25 Field squadron, Royal Engineers and travelled through with the REME Mech Jock Townsley. My clearest memories are of the doors of the train wedged shut with an armed guard with a loaded SLR posted in every carriage, to stop people trying to get on to the train, according to us, and to stop us getting off the trtain for a life in Utopia, according to Russian propaganda. I remember the Dining Car had raised tables, so that everyone outside could see the "luxury" of our surroundings. The train left Braunschew pulled by a DB loco which was changed at the Border and pulled through East Germany at a fixed rate, and then uncoupled on arrival at Berlin to be pulled in by another DB loco. On arrival in Berlin, a heavily armed Russian unit spilled onto the platform whilst we waited both in and out. Anyone confirm my memories?
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Let Gen
Let Gen

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PostSubject: Re: Berlin Military Train - information wanted!    9/3/2013, 11:45

The history of the British Berliner is somewhat complicated. When first introduced in late Autumn 1945 it was a daytime service but then changed to an overnight train before reverting to a daytime service in 1960. The western terminus varied over the years from Bad Oeynhausen, Bielefeld, Herford, the Hook of Holland (briefly in 1961)and Hannover but by the late 1960s Braunschweig was the western terminus. The final timetable was based on one set of rolling stock working out and home on a daily basis from Berlin and was to remain unchanged for the next 25 years.

The train left Berlin Charlottenburg about 8.30 arriving in Braunschweig at midday (a meal had been served in the Restaurant Car before the passengers left the train. The return journey stated at about 4pm and a supper meal (with alcohol available to purchase) was served before arrival at Charlottenburg at about 1900hrs.

The routine was roughly as you describe. A DB locomotive hauled the train to and from Brunswick to Helmstedt (the West German crossing point). The train then crossed the border into East Germany hauled by a DR locomotive and crew and stopped at Marienborn where Soviet Army personnel carried out a documents check and detailed external examination on behalf of the East German Government. They were not allowed to board the train, hence the padlock and chain on the inside of all external doors.

The train then proceeded leisurely across East Germany with a lengthy stop at Magdeburg before arriving at Potsdam where there was a second thorough search of both the locomotive and coaches (externally) by the Soviet authorities to ensure that no one was attempting to escape to the West by means of the Berliner (the locomotive crews were specially selected and vetted to ensure that they were loyal Party Members and would not defect). You may also have had a copy of the Travel Guide handed to all Passengers which in addition to a List of "does and don'ts" gave a brief itinerary with places to look out for (but at all costs not to photograph) during the journey.

The locomotive was then recoupled and thr train crossed the border into West Berlin and shortly afterwards terminated in Charlottenburg where all the passengers disembarked. I have to disagree with the statement there were Russian Troops on the platform, procedures were entirely a British Army responsibility the only time Soviet Troops were seen in the British Sector of Berlin was when it was the Soviets' turn to provide the Guard Force at Spandau Jail.
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Dee Z

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PostSubject: Re: Berlin Military Train - information wanted!    9/3/2013, 12:47

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