Vintage trains to reappear on Berlin underground line

The Berlin Transport Company (BVG) has invested €1.9 million in revamping 1950s trains to run on the U55 underground line from next spring.

Vintage trains to reappear on Berlin underground line
The U55 line will operate using original 1950s trains. Photo: DPA

The Berlin Transport Company (BVG) has reconditioned an old train from the 1950s, transforming it from a museum-ready artefact to an operational train, BVG announced on Wednesday.

Two more veteran locomotives are reportedly following in its tracks, and the newly renovated trains are expected to be operating on the U55 line between the central station and the Brandenburg Gate by next spring.

The trains were originally built by the West-BVG in the 1950s, shortly after the end of the Second World War.

The refurbished trains have been adapted to satisfy safety regulations. Among other changes, cameras have been installed, and buttons have replaced handles to open the doors.

There will also be a warning sound and flashing lights to indicate that the doors are closing.

The original green seating, which has been reupholstered, and old 1950s advertisements is intended to create a nostalgic feel.

Two of the trains were part of the “Dora” range that was finally decommissioned in 2004, and were destined to become museum exhibits; the other was being used as a material store.

The BVG is not doing this to please nostalgic train spotters, but rather as a reaction to the capital's U-Bahn train shortage, forcing them into drastic measures on the line which opened in 2009.

By reusing the old trains on the U55, the modern ones can be transferred onto the U6 line between Alt-Tegel and Alt-Mariendorf, to help satisfy high demand on the north-south route.

Martin Süß, the BVG department head for U-Bahn trains, is convinced that the vintage vehicles will be able to cope on the U55.

The line is only 1.8 kilometres long, and is currently being extended from the Brandenburg Gate to Alexanderplatz, where it will be joined up with the existing U5 line.

Currently, the three existing U55 trains cover around 120,000 kilometres per year in total, about as many as a single train elsewhere on the network will travel in a year, Tagesspiegel reports.

The vintage trains will eventually make their final journey to museums once the U5 joins the U55 line, connecting Hönow to the main train station. The construction work is estimated to be completed by 2020.

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