Okay, you need a little more paper to wrap these presents. But real S-Bahn fans will definitely be happy. Just in time for Christmas, the ultimate gifts for her will hit the market: real S-Bahn cars!
A small fleet of long-serving old-timers that were once on the rails of the capital is waiting for people to take over and look after them. “We are pooling our strengths. That’s why we want to sell some parts of our collection, ”says Robin Gottschlag from the Historic S-Bahn Association.
Four more years, then she will be a hundred years old. With its red and yellow vehicles, the S-Bahn has been part of the Berlin cityscape since 1924. In order to keep memories of the first heyday alive, the Historic S-Bahn Association was founded in 1991. He has his base at the S-Bahn works in Erkner, and other cars are parked in Schöneweide. But the halls are not enough to protect the entire stock from wind and weather. The number of active club members could also be greater.
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“Many of them already spend a large part of their free time with us,” says Gottschlag, who is responsible for marketing at the club and who works for the Berlin police. Nevertheless, there are not enough volunteers to keep all cars from 1925 to 1979 in good condition. That is why the association made a controversial decision: The museum fleet has to get smaller – at least a little.
“I would like to focus on a wagon that is in a fairly acceptable condition,” says Gottschlag. “It is a prototype of the legendary Stadtbahn type, which was built in Görlitz in 1927.”
Originally it was put into service as a control car, but was converted into a sidecar in 1944 – so the vehicle no longer has a driver’s cab. “The passenger compartment was modernized during a general overhaul in the 1950s, and the wooden benches were replaced by green upholstered benches,” the association spokesman continued. Later the car moved to the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG), shortly after the fall of the Wall it came to the club.
A remarkable vehicle, as Gottschlag explains: Inside, long-gone phases of Berlin’s city history have been preserved. “The rustic, cozy charm of the Reichsbahn is paired with the pictograms and line networks of the BVG.”
The car with the number 275 626 is currently at the Schöneweide plant, but it does not have a dry place on the site. “In order to stop the decline and secure the future, the association is looking for a new owner,” it says.
4000 euros – that is how much the old light rail operator should cost at least, says Gottschlag. “We would like to go into negotiations with this purchase price.” All prices are negotiable.
The board of directors accepts offers. Self-collectors are welcome, the association does not cover the costs for collection and transport. These are the data for the sidecar, which incidentally can be rolled: the car body is around 17 meters long and three meters wide, and weighs around 24 tons.
When is the Christmas train coming again?
Interested parties can also find out more about the other offers on the association’s Facebook page – for example, about car 278 104 from 1926. “Before the Stadtbahn design became the new backbone of the S-Bahn in 1928, there was a very successful large-scale production smaller series for testing, ”reports the association spokesman.
One of them was the Oranienburg type, to which the vehicle on offer, which was last used as a luggage cart, belongs. In the meantime his condition has worsened. That is why the club would like to put this classic car, which can also be rolled, into good hands – in the hope that it will exist for many years to come.
In the case of another S-Bahn vehicle, a buyer has already been found: the German Museum of Technology took over the team car from an old equipment train.
In the fan scene, the planned sales are sometimes heavily criticized. “I think you’re making a mistake that will be regretted later,” writes a rail fan on Facebook. The more active members there are, the more vehicles the club can get itself, replies Robin Gottschlag. In the meantime, he and his colleagues want to concentrate on the essentials. This also includes the Christmas train project.
In 2008, for the time being, a festively decorated historical train traveled through Berlin for the last time with Santa Claus on board – then the then smoldering S-Bahn crisis reached its climax and the company first had to get its day-to-day business in order.
To this day, the tradition that has existed since the 1950s has not been resumed. “For us, one thing is certain: the Christmas train will return and it will be operated by the Historic S-Bahn Association,” emphasizes Gottschlag. The association has been a railway company for several years. However, it would be dubious to name a date, the spokesman said. Just this much: “Before the S-Bahn turns a hundred years old, we’ll be back on the Christmas train for Berliners.”