With the rise to power of the Nazi Party in 1933, the German Reichsbahn (or State Railway) became a powerful instrument in carrying out the party’s agenda. As a government run company, it set an example by expelling all social democrats, communists, trade unionists and Jews from employment and the “Heil Hitler” salute became mandatory for all Reichsbahn officials.
The German Reichsbahn
The German railway was used extensively in propaganda as the nations pride. German people could be seen taking the train to visit the Nazi Party events or their holiday destinations connected to the “Kraft durch Freude” (Eng: “Strength through Joy”) organisation.
The railway infrastructure was greatly improved to facilitate better public transport, but most important for military re-armament, transport and from 1939 with the start of WWII; fast troop deployment to Poland and later Western Europe. Very soon after, the German Reichsbahn would also facilitate the transport of Jews, Gypsies and other victims of the Nazi regime to the many concentration camps in Germany and the occupied territories.
Locomotive DR-Baureihe E19
To facilitate the need for better, faster transport during the 1930’s, the E19 type electrical locomotives were designed and built, based on the successful design of their predecessor the E18 locomotive. At this point, they were the fastest, most powerful single frame locomotives of their kind, designed for travel speeds up to 225 km/h. In regular service and during WWII however they were restricted to lower speeds between 180 and after the war to 140 km/h. This was mainly due to the fact that the testing of this loc type hadn’t been done extensively, the high-speed testing even not at all and the railway tracks not always prepared for this kind of speed. Also the breaking system did not adhere to the 1000 meters braking standard at the time.
Of this E19 type only 4 locomotives were built. The last one retired in 1978. Only two E19 locomotives remain today.
Visit E19 01 in Berlin
The E19 01 locomotive is on display in the Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin. View the museum website for more information about opening hours, etc.