Friday, December 20, 2019

Adventures in Old Freight Paperwork: Germany, Car 841 3032-9 Bremerhaven - Berlin

I received some original paperwork that came off a freight car numbered 841 3032-9 in Berlin-Lichterfelde West in the summer of 1980.

According to the number range table in Stefan Carstens' book "Gueterwagen Band 1", car number 841 3 032-9 is UIC type Ichs377. It's an insulated refrigerator car (I), with meat hooks (c), heavy insulation (h), and permitted to run at speeds of up to 100 km/h (s). Deutsche Bundesbahn apparently had 29 of these cars.
According to "Gueterwagen Band 2", these cars were introduced in 1956 as German class Tmehs50 with electrical heating and steam heating for use in passenger trains. In 1968, the cars were relabeled to UIC class Ichqrs377. Later, the heating connections -- (q)=electrical, (r)=steam -- were removed, and the cars became class Ichs377. The last cars went out of service in 1985. This was a common car in the 60's and 70's for transporting goods that needed to be kept frozen.

I have a couple of these cars in service on the Welztalbahn. The Maerklin model of this car is a bit shortened and lacks the fine details of other models, but gives an idea what the car looked like.


The trip I'd like to focus on for the rest of this post started on July 29th, 1980 in Bremerhaven-Geestem├╝nde, where car 841 3032-9 was cleaned inside out. This was recorded with a "Gewaschen"-Zettel on the car.


The next day, car 841 3032-9 was spotted at the Transthermos icing facility in Geestem├╝nde. The loading doors to the ice bunkers at the ends of the car were opened and water ice loaded. Overnight, the car was put on a transfer run to Bremerhaven-Kaiserhafen and spotted at the Frigus cold storage facility on the banks of the Weser river, so that it was ready for loading by 6:00am on July 31st. By that time the ice loaded the previous day had cooled the car down to about 4 degree Celsius.


Frigus cold storage was built in 1920 and was powered by a huge steam engine. KKA has an interesting article about the facility, including photos of the building and the cooling machinery. By 1980, Frigus was used by the U.S. Army for transloading frozen meat from ships into train cars.

Here is the Hauptzettel, moving the loaded car to Berlin. The car weighs 14 tons. It's loaded with 11 tons of meat, for a total weight of 25 tons. The car is treated as a regular freight car, but gets special routing in the vicinity of Bremerhaven, hence the use of Hauptzettel for "Sonderplanwagen".


The car is switched from the Frigus facility to transfer run 66497 Bremerhaven-Kaiserhafen to Bremerhaven-Lehe. In Lehe, the car is put on train 38045. Note how the names of cities are stamped onto the Hauptzettel.

At first I thought that the car would simply enter the regular car routing system of Deutsche Bundesbahn. Maybe be routed from Lehe to Bremen Rbf and on to the border at Helmstedt via Braunschweig. However, upon further reflection that doesn't make much sense. The Allied Forces occupied Germany. This was a movement to resupply military installations in technically enemy country. It was important to protect military supply lines. The 38... number range was used for military movements. Hence 38045 was likely Dm38045 and ran directly from Bremerhaven-Lehe to Berlin Lichterfelde West as "Interzonenzug". It was not integrated with regular car routing.

There were also regular military passenger movements between West Germany and Berlin. Germans were not allowed to use these military trains. Verbotene Zuege has more information.

Here is some additional paperwork. As I pointed out earlier this car was loaded in a facility used by the U.S. Army. I'm not sure what the purpose of this sheet is and whether it traveled with the Hauptzettel on the car or was kept with waybills. The form shows weight information, origin and destination, as well as where the car enters the GDR on it's way to Berlin: Helmstedt. The car was sealed while in transit, and was to be delivered to TSA EURSO BERLIN WK4TC8 . Maybe one of my American friends with army background can make more sense of this.


From 1947 to 1994 Berlin Lichterfelde West station was used by the Berlin Brigade of the U.S. Army for military traffic with West Germany. 

Once again, this was a fun exercise and I learned quite a few things just from trying to understand almost 40 year old paperwork. 

2 comments:

Jeff Rose said...

No military background, but looks like the car was being routed to the Quartermaster (QM) at the location, which would make sense as the Quartermaster corps is in charge of supplying and feeding the detachment.

Bernhard Beck said...

Thanks Jeff. Makes sense.
I have updated the post with more information about implications based on the train number.