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06-07 July 2024: Sommerdampf

other types of vehicles The "Disaster train"


Apart from its locomotives, the society possesses an extremely unusual train. Known as the "Catastrophe" or "disaster" train, it was in essence a breakdown train officially intended for use in cases of natural disasters (hence its name) or serious accidents to care for the sick or injured. In reality, it was much more frequently used during large-scale troop manoeuvres of the Warsaw Pact countries in the GDR as a mobile hospital. In total, there were 14 of these trains in the former GDR, of which ours is the last in working order.

Our train was converted in the years 1975/76 from four-axle passenger cars of the Bghw type, and technically (as were the other thirteen) was officially under the charge of the German State Railway's Berlin HQ Machinery Management. However, its papers show that its movements were determined by officers of the People's Army.

Four railway personnel were permanently stationed on board the train to look after the carriages and make sure they were always functional. When the train was in service, they were joined by various doctors, nurses, cooks, kitchen helps and other assistants. Unfortunately, we have been unable to track down any information on how many would have been involved.

Altogether, a train like this would have been composed of two bunk-bed cars, in which three-tiered bunks were installed, a stores car in which there would also have been tents to protect any other victims, an operations carriage, a kitchen car and a generator car. In addition, HQ Material Management had six supply carriages altogether, which were always ordered

Der Küchenwagen von außen.

Der Küchenwagen von außen.

Fixtures and fittings in the kitchen cars

Der OP-Wagen von außen.

Operating tables

Der Maschinenwagen von außen.

Machinery in the generator cars

Der Begleiterwagen von außen.

Ein Abteil im Begleiterwagen.

image of the month

Dampflokfreunde Salzwedel e.V. Am Bahnhof 6, 19322 Wittenberge