Deutsche Reichsbahn/East German Railways

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Anon Mouse

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I'm not sure if anyone on here will have the answer but here goes.

Prior to re-unification of Germany in the days of the Berlin Wall the railways of Germany were split. East German Railways was the Deutsche Reichsbahn (DR) and West German Railways was the Deutsche Bundesbahn (DB). An odd (but understandable given West Berlins isolation in the DDR) element of this was that both the S Bahn in East & West Berlin was operated by the Deutsche Reichsbahn (and a small number of DR ticket vendors in West Berlin too).

My question is, were the employees of the DR who worked on the S Bahn in West Berlin, the DR ticket offices etc based in East Berlin and commuted over the border to work or if (as I imagine) West Berlin citizens employed by the DR and in effect paid by the East German Goverment?

cheers!
 
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The exile

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They were West Berliners paid by the Reichsbahn. This was in part the reason for the almost complete closure of the S-Bahn in West Berlin in the early 1980s (a strike was the official one) - the West Berliners had boycotted it for years and the West S-Bahn was becoming a massive drain on resources. The political advantage of having a presence in the West got less and less after the "rapprochement" started by Willi Brandt in the early 1970s, so the East Germans were happy to palm it off onto the West Berlin Senate. By the late 1980s, the only "cross-border" services on the S-Bahn were the North-South S-Bahn which crossed under East Berlin and the S3 Wannsee - Friedrichstraße via the Stadtbahn, which terminated at a strongly guarded (armed soldiers up in the station canopy) platform. These were worked by western employees whose incentive to "jump ship" on the wrong side of the border was fairly low! There was of course the driver who used his locomotive to punch through the border fortifications near Spandau in the 1960s, but that (as they say) is another story!
 

Anon Mouse

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That makes things a lot clearer and explains how run down some of the S Bahn stations in the West looked (admittedly I've just seen pictures, too young to have expereinced it myself). I wonder if those West Berliners who worked for the DR would have recived attention from the authorities as I am sure there would have been plenty of suspicion on them although I guess less than if it was the other way around!

I've seen pics of Friedricstasse and it looks facisnating and terrifying at the same time certainly an experience for those who witnessed it. The cross border 'mainline' trains seem to have been hauled most of the way by DR locos judging by a few photos I've seen of DR Kettles at Hamburg and a surprising clip on Youtube of DR Railtours celebrating the 100th anniversary of Berlin Zoo station.....

I also heard tales of the British Army train being hauled by clapped out locos with no heating and being shunted into sidings to deliberatly delay it and cause inconvineince.

I never heard about the Driver using his Loco to try and escape, wonder what happend to him?
 

The exile

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Will try to find out later - though I'm pretty sure he made it. There's also the story of the train load of passengers who got stuck in "no mans land" for several hours when the power was switched off on the S-Bahn Ring (somewhere near Sonnenallee station) to let the Army lay the barbed wire that eventually became the Berlin wall. Can't remember which way the train ended up being sent (probably into the East) but it must have been a nightmare for the passengers as presumably "keeping the passengers informed in case of delay" was well down the list of priorities that night.
 

Anon Mouse

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Will try to find out later - though I'm pretty sure he made it. There's also the story of the train load of passengers who got stuck in "no mans land" for several hours when the power was switched off on the S-Bahn Ring (somewhere near Sonnenallee station) to let the Army lay the barbed wire that eventually became the Berlin wall. Can't remember which way the train ended up being sent (probably into the East) but it must have been a nightmare for the passengers as presumably "keeping the passengers informed in case of delay" was well down the list of priorities that night.
I imagine the DDR Soilders with their AK47's might have kept them quiet!

Its amazing that the whole wall building was kept secret until the day it was errected. I just cannot start to imagine how the familes who ended up seperated managed to cope with the enforced seperation. Regardless of political viewpoint (I lean 100% to the left) it was a heartless measure made by folk who could not see humanity beyond their ideals. Ditto North/South Korea.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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I crossed the border at Friedrichstrasse a few times around 1980, and it was indeed fearsome when you looked up to the overall glass roof (like at St Pancras) and saw the border guards at the ready with their machine guns.
You were not shown any courtesy at passport control, and were pushed forcibly from one official to the next.
You eventually tripped though a blank door guarded by another goon into an East Berlin side street.
It was amazing how they blocked up subways and cross-passages in the original station to form the border controls, covering 3 levels (main-line, S-bahn, U-bahn).
While waiting for a train back to the west you could hear crowds of Easterners joining their trains on the other side of the station with no means of getting out.
It was all quite laughable at the time (once back in the west).

However, a generation on it seems that we have now reached a situation where our own border setup is almost as intimidating, with all the security procedures, guns, bureaucracy, photographs, arbitrary powers and unsmiling officials - just to travel to Paris.

I never had any problems once inside the DDR.
Travelled on my last public service steam train there in 1979 - Erfurt to Jena.
 

gordonthemoron

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west Berlın s-bahn was taken over by BVG (u-bahn operator) ın mıd 80s due to west Berlıner boycott. When I used ıt ın 1986 there was no s-bahn rıng and the only servıces were from Wannsee to Frıedrıchstrasse and through the north-south tunnel
 
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