The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 11 (June 1, 1930)
Germany's Great Transport Achievements
Germany's Great Transport Achievements.
No railway system in Europe ranks of greater importance than that of Germany. A recent study of conditions throughout this far-flung railway undertaking reveals strikingly the prosperity of the system, and the ability and energy displayed by German railway workers of every grade. The German Railway Company was formed on October 1, 1924. Its tracks run to 33,000 miles, and in 1928, the German railways handled 2,000,000,000 passengers and loaded on an average 150,000 wagons of merchandise on each working day. In addition some 160,000,000 tons of coal were conveyed during the twelve months.
Generally speaking, train speeds are not high in Germany. Only about four per cent, of the passengers handled in 1928 travelled by fast train, the majority preferring to take advantage of the cheaper service offered by the slow trains, or “Personenzug” as they are styled. This feature, by the way, was brought home strikingly to your correspondent during his lengthy stay in the Rhineland when engaged as a Staff Officer on supervisory work on the railways in the Cologne area. Express trains were used almost exclusively by members of the Allied forces with a mere handful of German civilians. The slow trains were packed with civilians, a very small proportion of whom found seating accommodation. On the main trunk routes of Germany the fastest trains are those between Berlin and Cologne, Frankfort and Hamburg, these averaging speeds up to 55 miles an hour. The average length of haul for freight traffic in Germany is 94 miles, and the average freight train consists of 39 wagons. Goods rates work out at about 39 per cent, over the 1914 figures.
The most famous of all the fast passenger trains in Germany is the “Rheingold Limited,” running daily between Hook of Holland and Basle. This page 31 service represents the last word in travel comfort, and maintains fast connections from London, Hook of Holland and Amsterdam, or from Switzerland and Italy, to the Rhine Valley. A separate section operates from Amsterdam, and during the summer tourist season the “Rheingold Limited” has Lucerne as its southern terminal, in place of Basle. En route through the Rhine Valley connections are made with the principal trunk services across Germany. On the 500 mile run through Germany, the locomotive of the “Rheingold Limited” is changed only once.
The carriages of this crack express are of all-steel construction. They comprise combination salon-dining rooms, with intimate compartments in the first-class carriages for two and four passengers respectively. The seats are heavily upholstered, with high backs. They consist of revolving arm-chairs in the first-class, and of stationary individual and twin-seats in the second-class. A separate kitchen is provided for each pair of passenger carriages. No two carriages are alike in interior colour combinations, upholstery or tapestry. The exterior of the “Rheingold Limited” is painted bright lavender, with cream window-frames and a silver grey roof. Extra fares, over and above the ordinary passenger rates, are charged for travel on this most famous of all German passenger trains.