Final farewell for Berlin’s last communist-era local trains


By AGENCY

Berlin’s red and yellow S-Bahn trains are an urban landmark, and while the sounds and colours of the trains have changed little, communist-era models have only now disappeared. Photos: dpa

Berlin's distinctive “coke can” local transit trains, which date back to before the fall of the Wall 34 years ago, have turned wheels for the last time.

Thousands of fans lined the platforms when they passed through several stations for a rousing final send-off on Nov 12, according to footage from local media.

“It never let us down in any big way. It was a lovely ride,” one train driver told local broadcaster RBB, recalling three decades of operation since the fall of the Berlin wall.

Berliners now have the chance to buy moquette seats which are being dismantled before the trains are disposed of.

The 22 S-Bahn train sets were supposed to have been withdrawn more than 20 years ago, but like many in the German capital they failed to leave on schedule.

Commissioned in communist Berlin in 1970s, the class 485 trains of the S-Bahn local transit system were a familiar sight until recently.

They quickly picked up the nickname of “coke cans” due to their red and black design, which was later changed to the red and yellow colour scheme of reunited Berlin’s S-Bahn trains.

Despite their scrappage at a yard in the Rhineland, the plan is to preserve a power unit at Berlin’s technical museum. One train set will also be used for training purposes

Berlin transport officials had poured millions into updating old GDR-era urban trains for continued use, but after yet another decade shuttling people around the city, their time is now coming to an end.Berlin transport officials had poured millions into updating old GDR-era urban trains for continued use, but after yet another decade shuttling people around the city, their time is now coming to an end.

The trains are the victims of technical progress and operator Deutsche Bahn says they cannot be equipped with the new, sophisticated train control system, required on all lines of the network from 2024.

A major disadvantage of the older trains is that they were too hot inside in summer while in winter snow could penetrate slots in the air cooling components, flooding components with water. The vehicles have little insulation, which makes them very recycling-friendly.

Berlin on Sunday also withdrew the last of its signature MAN six-wheeled double-deckers buses known for their enormous diesel fuel thirst. They first ran in 2004.

The deckers have been replaced by more modern ADL 500 Enviro buses built by Alexander in Scotland. These are still diesel-powered but are more economical to run. – dpa

A few decades after they first began carrying passengers around Berlin, old East German trains are now finally being decommissioned.A few decades after they first began carrying passengers around Berlin, old East German trains are now finally being decommissioned.

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