Rheingold (train)

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Advertising poster for the introduction of Rheingold in 1928

Rheingold was the name of a luxury train of the Deutsche Reichsbahn-Gesellschaft and a Trans-Europ-Express of the Deutsche Bundesbahn , which ran from Hoek van Holland and Amsterdam through the Rhine Valley to different destinations in Switzerland . From 1928 to 1939 the train ran with specially procured Pullman cars from the Deutsche Reichsbahn, most recently from 1938 to Milan .

The Deutsche Bundesbahn reintroduced the train route after the Second World War in 1951 as a long-distance train (F) , now with all three car classes. From 1962 onwards, the DB again used cars specially designed for the Rheingold , including observation cars in the style of American "dome cars", and in 1965 upgraded them to TEE. As the last TEE on the DB route network, the train run was finally stopped in 1987. Various wagons procured for the Rheingold have been preserved and are used for special trips and museum purposes.


In the summer of 1921, the Deutsche Reichsbahn, together with the neighboring railways, offered a long-distance express train on the connection that the Rheingold later also used: Amsterdam – Basel through the Rhine Valley. The train only carried the old 1st and 2nd class . He only drove on weekdays and had extremely few stops, resulting in a travel time of only 16 hours. The intermediate stops on the German section were: Cologne South , Koblenz , Bingerbrück , Mainz , Biebesheim (in the southern direction of travel) / Worms (in the northern direction of travel), Mannheim , Karlsruhe and on to Basel SBB .

FFD Rheingold

Rheingold car in September 1930
Open 1st class, 1930
1st class compartment, 1930


The train was first used on May 15, 1928 as the FFD Rheingold long-distance express train . From 1928 to 1936 he carried the international train number FFD 101 , in the opposite direction FFD 102 . The train only carried the (old) first and second carriage classes . In addition to the fare for long- distance express trains , a special FFD surcharge had to be paid for its use on the German section of the route . This was - regardless of the distance covered - 2 RM in the second and 3 RM in the first class.

Competitive offers

With the new train, the Reichsbahn tried to divert wealthy English passengers on their routes between Great Britain, the Netherlands and Switzerland. There was a good ferry connection from Hoek van Holland to Harwich with a train connection to London . The customs control took place on the train.

Before that, many British passengers with destinations in Swiss holiday resorts such as Interlaken , Lucerne or Chur used the sleeping cars on the CIWL luxury trains that depart from Calais or Boulogne in the evening . From 1925 onwards, the CIWL had gradually introduced Pullman Express trains in daytime traffic, which the Reichsbahn followed with its new wagons. One month after the start of the Rheingold CIWL also introduced a luxury day train that from June 15, 1928 furnished and German routes bypassing Pullman train Edelweiss from Amsterdam via Brussels, Luxembourg and Strasbourg to Switzerland.


In order to be competitive with the Pullman wagons of the CIWL, wagons based on the Pullman principle were also procured as particularly comfortable open- plan wagons . There were also individual compartments in the first class. Outwardly, the cars had a uniform appearance . As a sign of their exclusivity, they were painted in violet / beige with a silver-gray roof. Inside, the cars were designed differently. Walls and ceilings were paneled with wood ( zebrawood , rosewood or maple ) or covered with fabric. The first class was furnished with loose armchairs. The interiors of the cars were designed by respected artists and architects.

Like the CIWL Pullman wagons, around half of these wagons were equipped with a kitchen to supply the passengers with food and beverages, which, however, also resulted in complaints about kitchen fumes at the passenger seats. The trains were operated by Mitropa . A kitchen supplied two cars each. Food and drinks were served at the seat , the menu was of a high standard. It was served on special porcelain dishes and with silver cutlery. The kitchen compartments were only around six square meters in size. Here, however, food was prepared for up to 60 passengers. In addition to a coal stove, there was also space for the sideboard, a refrigerator and storage cupboards for dishes and groceries in this limited space. The cars were built by:

Four of the first class cars were made, eight of the second class cars without a kitchen and ten with a kitchen.

In addition to the passenger cars , three baggage cars were ordered for the Rheingold. Two luggage wagons each of Baden and Prussian design, which were color-matched to the Rheingold wagons, served as operating reserves.

Three cars from 1928 and one from 1929 as well as a baggage car have been preserved. The train is maintained by the Freundeskreis Eisenbahn Köln eV in the Cologne-Nippes depot and is partly driven.


The train was pulled by fast and powerful steam locomotives:

Later, in Germany, the class 01 was used instead of the regional railway types , but the class 38 is also documented.


The train usually ran with them

  • a first class car with 28 seats,
  • a first class car with 20 seats and a kitchen,
  • a second class car with 43 seats,
  • a second class car with 29 seats and a kitchen,
  • a baggage cart with customs lock and dog devices.

Since, for safety reasons, a baggage car ran between the locomotive and the passenger car as a barrier car, a second baggage car was added when the locomotive and direction changed in Mannheim main station in order to avoid the first baggage car being moved.

As early as 1929, the train ran beyond Basel SBB to Lucerne and Zurich in the summer . The travel time from Hoek van Holland to Lucerne over the winding left-hand Middle Rhine route was around 13.5 hours, which corresponds to an hourly average of around 70 km / h.

The load conductor and another conductor of the train attendants each had to be trained in first aid .

In 1939 the train service was stopped due to the war .

The FD Rheingold in 1928, hauled by a
class 38 steam locomotive

F Rheingold Express

A train named Rheingold wrong after the Second World War again until the May 20, 1951 F train ( express train ) and Rheingold-Express between Hoek van Holland and Basel (D 164), including Parallelzug Amsterdam-Cologne (D 264), first with all three car classes. In particular, wagons of the 1938 type ( skirted wagons ) were used. These had a blue paint with the inscription "Deutsche Bundesbahn" in aluminum letters. The dining car was operated by the CIWL until May 23, 1955 , then by the German Sleeping Car and Dining Car Company .

From May 1953 the Rheingold Express F 164/163 was given the name Loreley , while the pair of trains F 10/9, which had been running the same route since May 1952 under the name Rhein-Pfeil , was now called the Rheingold Express from May 1954 he then simply Rheingold. The name change was also transferred to the F 22/21 wing train, which served the Dortmund – Munich (–Innsbruck) route. F 10/9 and F 22/21 drove from May 1954 to May 1958 under the name Rheingold .

Class 01 , 03 , 03.10 , 23 and 41 steam locomotives were used in front of these trains .

F Rheingold / TEE Rheingold


TEE Rheingold observation car

From 1962 onwards, new comfortable 26.4 meter long wagons exclusively for the first class were designed on the basis of the UIC-X wagons . These were air-conditioned open- plan cars with 48 seats, type Ap4üm-62 (Apmz 121 ), and compartment car Av4üm-62 (Avmz 111 ) with only nine compartments. The arched roof shape corresponded to the m-cars .

In each train set is also found Aussichtswagen AD4üm-62 / ADmh 101 and a hump dining car WR4üm-62 (type WRmh 131 ), a kitchen and utility room were in the separated on two levels. Both were connected by an elevator, and there was also a staircase between the two. Five of these cars were put into service. The successor type WR4üm-64 (WRmh 132 ) was, however, one-story again, but 27.5 meters long. As usual with the apron trolleys, these trolleys have side aprons to protect the equipment under the floor of the trolley.

To highlight the F-trains Rheingold and Rheinpfeil , which were exclusively equipped with these new cars , they and the locomotives were given a cobalt blue / beige paintwork, a mixture of the cobalt blue F-train and purple-red / beige TEE paint scheme. In 1962, with a top speed of up to 160 km / h, they were the fastest trains in the DB.

After the two F-trains Rheingold and Rheinpfeil were upgraded to TEE in 1965, all locomotives and cars were given the purple / beige TEE color scheme, so the cobalt blue / beige paintwork disappeared again after a short time.

From 1965 onwards, the wagons procured exclusively for the two F-trains were also mixed with first-class wagons newly delivered for other TEE and IC traffic. These had the uniform purple / beige TEE color from the factory and, from the 1967 series onwards, sloping roof ends (pitched roof). A 27.5 m long bar car ARD4üm-64 (ARDmh 105 ) was added. Many of the type Avmz 111.1 cars delivered from 1973/1974 (e.g. 61 80 19-90 162) were fitted with Wegmann type pivoting sliding doors.

Until the introduction of the Railway Construction and Operating Regulations in 1967, the train with speeds of up to 160 km / h required an exceptional permit from the Federal Minister of Transport in order to be able to exceed the general maximum speed of 140 km / h provided for in the current operating regulations. The train was also subject to the preliminary guidelines issued by the Deutsche Bundesbahn in 1962 for the planning and implementation of train journeys between 140 km / h and 160 km / h .


Specially developed for the Rheingold: The E 10.12 (112)

Six locomotives of the E 10 series (with angular end faces, E 10 1239–1244) were initially used as locomotives, which were given special bogies designed for 160 km / h and a coat of cobalt blue / beige to match the wagons. The class E 10.12 electric locomotives, which were actually intended for the Rheingold, with the more elegant frontal front (“crease”), the color of which corresponded to that of the wagons from the beginning, were used from autumn 1962. The provisionally used locomotives were then converted back to normal E 10.

Until the electrification of the section to Emmerich of the Oberhausen – Arnhem railway line, diesel locomotives of the V 200.0 series , later the 220 series of the Deutsche Bundesbahn , were used between Duisburg and Arnhem . Since the V 200.0 did not have a train busbar , the cars were also equipped with steam heating and axle generators .

From 1972 the newly developed electric high-speed locomotives of the 103 series were used in front of the train .

The Nederlandse Spoorwegen used electric locomotives of the 1100 and 1200 series to Arnhem, and from 1966 to Emmerich.

The SBB started using electric locomotives of the Re 4/4 I series from Basel .

Train run

The train started after the Second World War as an express train with the Zuggattungsbezeichnung F . As one of the few trains of this type, the Rheingold exchanged through coaches with the TEE Rheinpfeil (Dortmund – Munich) from 1963 . This change of car took place in Duisburg Central Station .

Car with train destination sign Amsterdam – Munich (1970)

In 1965 the train was upgraded to the Trans-Europ-Express (TEE) and the vehicles were given the color combination purple / beige. The southern terminus was now Geneva .

In 1976 the observation car was discontinued. After the introduction of the two-class Intercity network in 1979, the Rheingold continued to have problems with capacity utilization. From 1980 the Rheingold in Switzerland only ran to Bern , from 1982 it ended in Basel SBB .

From 1983, the wagons used in the TEE Rheingold were given an orange trim strip below the window to highlight the train, in addition to the purple / ivory paintwork. A wing train to Munich was introduced with a club car ( Rheingold Club ) converted from an open-plan car . In these there were not only meals but also folk music performances and tourist presentations. The culinary offerings in the club cars were, however, modest compared to the pre-war Rheingold. In addition to snacks such as hot dogs or a pair of white sausages with mustard and pretzels, the passenger could only choose between a cold platter, a goulash soup , a chicken stew and a single alternating main course called “Clubwagen delicacies”, such as meat loaf with mustard and pretzels.

In the 1983 and 1984 summer timetables, the wing train traveled the more scenic route than the normal intercity line via the Neckar Valley Railway from Heidelberg to Heilbronn  - Stuttgart  - then via Aalen  - Nördlingen  - Donauwörth and Augsburg to Munich . In winter the club car was part of the regular train to Basel.

Since the capacity utilization on the above-mentioned route was not satisfactory, the train was run year-round from Mannheim via Stuttgart - Ulm - Augsburg to Munich from the 1985/86 timetable, and the route in the 1985 and 1986 summer timetables was extended via Rosenheim to Salzburg Hauptbahnhof .

End and Succession

On May 30, 1987, the Rheingold was completely shut down in favor of the Europe-wide introduction of mixed-class, but fast EuroCity trains that were also largely air-conditioned in the second class . The follow-up offers for the Rheingold were the EuroCitys “Rembrandt” and “Berner Oberland” from Amsterdam to Chur and Interlaken , which in most years were largely or completely made up of rolling stock from the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) and always had one (at times German ) Dining car as well as a Swiss panorama car of the first class from 1992 in many timetable years.

Since the opening of the high-speed route Cologne – Frankfurt in December 2002, the ICE 104/105 with an ICE 3M double train has been providing a high-speed direct connection between Amsterdam and Basel once a day and has shortened the travel time compared to conventional trains between the two cities by around an hour to the current time 6 hours 45 minutes. The EC trains 6/7 and 8/9 continue to use the classic route through the winding Middle Rhine Valley every day, their names, numbers and endpoints have varied slightly over the years. Currently (as of: 2018 annual timetable) they connect Hamburg and Interlaken (via Bern) or Hamburg and Zurich. These EC train sets are currently being provided entirely by SBB.

Where the train sets are located

Car from 1928/29

Rheingold car from 1928

A total of six old Rheingold wagons from the years 1928–1929 were acquired and refurbished by the Friends of Cologne Railway (FEK) from the mid-1960s. In 1970 the association was able to resume the tradition of the historic Rheingold with special trips and has carried out over 100 trips since then. At the moment only one dining car with Pullman seats from the 1950s with the number 20508 KÖLN is operational and regularly goes with the FEK on special Rheingold trips. It can be booked through the association or used as a charter for trips or events. Three more are awaiting repair (24503, 24512, 24517). Six old Rheingold wagons built in 1928/1929 are owned by Transeurop Eisenbahn AG (TEAG). Two cars are fully operational (numbers 24506 KÖLN and 24507 KÖLN) and are used in the luxury train of the “Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express” (NIOE).

Another Rheingold car from 1928 (manufacturer LHB Breslau) was discovered in 2005 in a barracks of the United States Air Force near Wiesbaden after it had been considered lost for around 50 years. There it was used as a closed officers' mess and "Air Force Bar". He was acquired by the shareholders of "TEAG" from the US Army. Since it was spoils of war, the US government had to approve the sale. Since 2007 it has been undergoing a complete renovation in the former CSD railway works ZOS České Velenice . The car, like the already completed car 24507, will be reconstructed as a Rheingold Pullman saloon car based on old photos, Reichsbahn and manufacturer drawings. This is probably the car with the number 20505 KÖLN and built in 1928, a first class saloon car.

In 2008, the last existing old car (number 24513 KÖLN, built in 1929, LHB Breslau), which was set up as a party car first in Bonn-Tannenbusch and then in front of a restaurant in Königswinter-Oberpleis, with large technical and Rescued financial expense at its last location and put back on the rails after 25 years of storage. The car was initially transferred to the Rastatt railway works and then also transferred to České Velenice for renovation.

Two former Rheingold wagons (number 24515 KÖLN and another with an unknown number) were found in the Czech Republic in 2006 thanks to a tip from a railway fan in a junkyard in Most and acquired by TEAG.

The aim of TEAG is to completely recondition the six Rheingold wagons and to use them as a historic train. The vehicles are each privately owned by TEAG shareholders. The cars are part of a private foundation.

Car from 1951

Two apron carriages painted blue in the style of the Rheingold Express 1951 belong to the Passau Railway Friends .

Car from 1962

Former Rheingold observation car in the apple arrow color scheme, exhibited in Cologne on April 16, 1978

The German Federal Railroad had already decommissioned the humpback dining car and the observation car as maintenance-intensive and expensive special designs in the 1970s. The observation cars were sold to Switzerland in 1976/77 ( Apfelpfeil , resold to the Mittelthurgau travel agency in 1981/82 ), and a few years later they went to Sweden. In both countries, they were mainly used in special train services by private owners. After the Rheingold was discontinued in 1987, the remaining cars continued to be used as normal first-class cars in Intercity and Eurocity trains. Some of the former 62 series Rheingold wagons still run on the Allgäu Express between Munich and Oberstdorf. Some of these cars were previously used by Flex Verkehrs-AG between Flensburg and Hamburg-Altona.

Deutsche Bahn

As of 2002, Deutsche Bahn AG refurbished eleven former TEE cars, two dining cars, a club car and a second series observation car with four windows in the traditional purple / beige paint scheme. The vehicles are now part of the inventory of DB Nostalgiereisen, an organizational unit of DB RegioNetz Verkehrs GmbH, and the observation car belongs to AKE-Eisenbahntouristik. Another observation car of the second series owned by the DB Museum Koblenz is not open to the public and is currently being refurbished.

Friends of Cologne Railway (FEK)

The FEK has the only original dining car (humpback dining car ) of the Rheingold from 1962 that still exists and is regularly used on the Rheingold train. The FEK also has other cars in cobalt blue / beige paintwork, a dome car, a bar car, a party car and a compartment car. One of the three observation cars of the first series with eight windows was put back into operation in autumn 2006 in the old cobalt blue / beige paint scheme and is owned by EVB GmbH Vienna.


AKE-Eisenbahntouristik acquired three observation cars in 2005 from Svenska Tågkompaniet AB and brought them back to Germany. One observation car went to the company RailAdventure, a second to the DB Museum, and the third observation car was restored.

The AKE has the following wagons:

  • six TEE compartment cars (Avmz 111.0) from 1962–1968
  • a TEE open-plan car (Apmz 121.2) from 1969
  • two TEE dining cars (WRmz 135) from 1969
  • a TEE observation car (ADmh 101) from 1963
  • a club car (WGmh 824.0) from 1976

The former TEE wagons are used under the name AKE-RHEINGOLD. The train formation is supplemented by a half dining car (ex Kakadu , type ARmh 217) from 1966 and, since 2015, by the Rheingold locomotive E 10 1309 from 1963 (see below).

Car from 1983

The cars last used in the Rheingold were mainly used for EuroCity and Intercity trains. The seating carriages are still in use today after modifications.

  • The Avmz 111 compartment cars were brought into line with the series by installing folding doors . Since the incorporation of electronic target indicators, they have been called the Avmz 109 .
  • The Apmz 122 open- plan cars were pressurized and designated Apmz 117 , after the installation of the Apmz 127 electronic target display . Since the renovation of interior fittings and technology ( IC mod program), the designation Apmmz 126.1 .
  • The WRmh 132 dining car was used in EuroCity trains and later went to DB AutoZug . They are no longer in regular use today.
  • The club cars WGmh 854 were used in special and regular trains. For use in night trains, they were given a coat of paint based on interregional cars with a distant blue window band, in accordance with the current product colors of the German Federal Railroad at the time . One car went to Euro-Express and was temporarily leased to the Dutch Herik Rail. The other two club cars were restored to their condition from 1983 and today belong to the DB Museum Koblenz and the DB Museum Nuremberg .


Rheingold E 10 1239

A class 18.3 steam locomotive typical of the Rheingold, the locomotive with the number 18 316 can be found in Mannheim , a class 18.5 machine can be found in the Museum of the German Society for Railway History e. V. in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse . Further S 3/6 are preserved in the German Steam Locomotive Museum in Neuenmarkt and at Krauss-Maffei (non-public factory museum). The only operational copy is used by the Bavarian Railway Museum.

As of 2002, Deutsche Bahn AG refurbished two class 103 locomotives (prototype and series version) in traditional purple / beige paint in addition to the wagons mentioned . Later the pre-series locomotive E 03 001 was transferred to the DB Museum in Nuremberg and replaced by another series locomotive. The two series locomotives are now 103 184 and 103 235 and are stationed with the car set in Cologne (as of 2009). DB Nostalgiereisen used the vehicles under the name “TEE Rheingold” in charter traffic. Drawn with the 103 184 locomotive, the “TEE Rheingold” was even able to travel across borders to Switzerland, as this locomotive has a pantograph with a narrow contact strip required for Switzerland. With the dissolution of DB Nostalgiereisen, 103 184 and 103 235, together with the “TEE Rheingold” wagons, were transferred to the DB Museum's holdings. Currently, 103 184 and 103 235 are parked when the deadline expires. In 2018 E 03 001 was reactivated, which is now used together with 103 113 in front of the "TEE Rheingold" of the DB Museum for special trips.

In 2010, the 218 105 was also painted in TEE colors in order to have a suitable locomotive on non-electrified routes.

The E 10 1239 was reconstructed by the Lokomotiv Club 103 as a Rheingold locomotive with the color scheme cobalt blue / beige and is now back in the original delivery condition from 1962.

The original Rheingold locomotive E 10 1309 was refurbished from 2014 to 2015 at great expense in Dessau and given its characteristic purple / beige paintwork again. Since the end of 2015 it has been used as a tractor for the AKE-RHEINGOLD vacation train from AKE-Eisenbahntouristik.



  • DB Museum, Jürgen Franzke (Ed.): Rheingold - a European luxury train . DB Museum / Eichborn, Nuremberg / Frankfurt am Main 1997, ISBN 3-8218-1481-0 .
  • Friedhelm Ernst: Rheingold - The story of a luxury train . for the 75th anniversary of the Rheingold. 5th revised edition. Alba, Düsseldorf 2003, ISBN 3-87094-362-9 .
  • Konrad Koschinski: Rheingold. Luxurious through six decades . In: Eisenbahn Journal special . Publishing group Bahn, Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-89610-339-0 .
  • Konrad Koschinski: F-trains of the Deutsche Bundesbahn . In: Eisenbahn Journal special edition . No. 2 , 2012, ISBN 978-3-89610-360-4 .
  • Peter Goette: Rheingold - legend on wheels . EK-Verlag , Freiburg 2013, ISBN 978-3-88255-735-0 .


Web links

Commons : Rheingold-Express  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files


  1. The association in addition also has a Rheingold train from 1962 with an observation car (Dome Car) and the only remaining "hump dining car".
  2. For comparison: travel time over the Middle Rhine route according to the timetable information provided by DB AG on February 18, 2020 around 1:20 p.m. with four changes.

Individual evidence

  1. Railway Directorate in Mainz (ed.): Official Gazette of the Railway Directorate in Mainz of July 30, 1921, No. 45. Nachrichten, p. 491.
  2. Deutsche Reichsbahn-Gesellschaft (ed.): Official Gazette of the Reichsbahndirektion in Mainz from May 19, 1928, No. 23. Announcement No. 297, p. 171.
  3. ^ Discussion about the luggage wagons and locomotives of the Rheingold from 1928
  4. ^ Rheingold-Express 1928–1939 , train formation and covering
  5. ^ Toni Liebl: 150 Years of the Railway in Germany, 1835–1985 . Official anniversary ribbon of the Deutsche Bundesbahn. 2nd Edition. ELV Eisenbahn-Lehrbuch-Verlagsgesellschaft, Munich 1985, ISBN 3-923967-04-7 , p. 30 .
  6. ^ Deutsche Reichsbahn-Gesellschaft (ed.): Official Gazette of the Reichsbahndirektion in Mainz of December 29, 1928, No. 57. Announcement No. 726, p. 349.
  7. ^ On the route between Amsterdam and Basel: railway wagons with floors. More space for dining car guests - the cook bakes overhead . In: Arbeiter-Zeitung . Vienna February 7, 1962, p. 7 , bottom left ( berufer-zeitung.at - the open online archive - digitized).
  8. Götz Gleitsmann: The InterCity car of the DB - Part 4: Dining car . In: Schünemann-Verlag, Bremen (Hrsg.): Eisenbahn Illustrierte . Schünemann-Verlag, Bremen June 1993, p. 18-21 .
  9. www.reisezug-wagen.de - The ONLINE car database on the Internet. Retrieved July 14, 2020 .
  10. ^ Ernst Kockelkorn: Effects of the new railway building and operating regulations (EBO) on railway operations . In: The Federal Railroad . tape 41 , no. 13/14 , 1967, ISSN  0007-5876 , pp. 445-452 .
  11. ^ TEE Rheingold , History of the Train Run
  12. ^ Fritz Stöckl: Dining car. 100 years of gastronomy on the rails . First edition. Motorbuch-Verlag, Stuttgart 1987, ISBN 3-613-01168-9 . (Reproduction of an original menu on page 74).
  13. ^ VEB Vulkan-Eifel-Bahn. In: www.veb.de. Retrieved July 5, 2016 .
  14. ^ AKE railway tourism. In: www.ake-eisenbahntouristik.de. Retrieved July 5, 2016 .