Germany is one of the most interesting railroading countries in modern history. Not only while it has such a wide variety of private railroad companies in addition to the still huge state owned Deutsche Bahn AG (DB), but also while its many rail operators constantly buy and change their trains, keep renting them for short periods and giving them thereafter to even new operators. Many of the private locomotives change their looks several times a year - a fact that also makes it very difficult for the occasional photographer to figure out what the train is. Often the stickers by the sides of the trains are from some previous owner or renter.

But also Germany's state railways Deutsche Bahn AG is interesting - and huge. The multitude of trains is vast, and what is also typical of Germany is, that even to be able to understand their railroad related magazines (of which there is a wonderful multitude) you need to understand not only the language, but you also need to know by heart which Baureihe (class) is which. This - of course - does not have to be explained to anyone. It's taken for granted :-) In this collection of German trains we try to show as many of the different classes as we can. This is your lession one: Baureihe or Br = class.

Our title picture shows the steering wagon of one of DB's newest trains, the IC2, or doubledecker InterCity. German DB has for years had as its prestigious best trains, the ICE trains (InterCityExpress), but during the last few years many of the ICEs have been out of service and have required many of the older locomotive pulled InterCity coach rakes as substitutions for the fast ICEs. The result was a shortage of not only the ICEs but also a shortage of traditional express train coaches. While the DB already had done a public tendering and had a framework agreement with the company Bombardier for delivery of a large number of TRAXX locomotives and Bombardier's doubledecker coaches for regional services, DB thought it should be straightforward to order more of these same trains for express train routes which do not allow very fast speeds anyway, just paint them IC white and install more comfortable chairs than in the regional trains. That would allow to give more of the old IC coaches as substitutions for missing ICE trains.
Well... it wasn't that easy at all. The IC2 trains arrived a LOT too late and even after they arrived, it was soon found out that in the routes planned, the rails are in such a poor shape that the tall carriages start to wobble or move like camels or ships at rough sea. People were getting seasick at the upper deck. Finally at the end of 2016 some of the first IC2 trains have gotten to real work and only in 2019 it seems to be stable normal business to run them.
This is one of the first IC2 trains and what you see on the picture is the modern doubledecker driving trailer wagon made by Bombardier. At the other end is a Bombardier TRAXX locomotive of the second generation, Br 146.5xx.
Picture at Münster Hauptbahnhof 8.10.2016 by Ilkka Siissalo.

FUNET railway pictures archive - Germany

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This is a German speciality, a Transrapid magnetic levitation (Maglev) train. For quite some time, Germany had a trial track with several wagons close to the Dutch border, where magnetic levitation train technology was tried out. The trials ended in a tragic collision where several people lost their lives. A Maglev train floats in the air carried by a very strong magnetic field, which means that there is no friction whatsoever between the train wagon and the track, so that huge speeds can be reached. But the technology also has its limitations: the Maglev coaches cannot be very long and several coaches cannot be run very close to one another, so that the actual capacity counted in passing passengers per hour is not very large despite the huge speed. For a while one of the Transrapid maglev train wagons was set on display together with a very short piece of the track that it needs at the Frankfurt airport. This is a picture from that display, taken in 2007 by Ilkka Siissalo.

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