Railway timetables and WWI

By | Category: Travel destinations
the ble carriages of Ludwig II

the ornate carriages of King Ludwig II

In the week where Belgians remember the capture of Brussels  – the 100th anniversary is today – by the Germans in WWI, many commentators have referred to the importance of railways to the German war plan. Did the Germans rely on railways and the timetables to plan a knockout early blow?

It was interesting to see the first month of the war to end all wars from a German perspective and see just how Germany prepared when countries committed themselves to war and seemed unable to stop. The place to see that perspective is Nuremberg in southern Germany.

The rail company DB – Deutsche Bahn – has a museum in the city as part of Nuremberg Transport Museum  which records the story of rail development from its early beginnings to its views on where rail will be in 2020. It is a fascinating museum and one area has been set aside for a chronicle of the country’s preparations for war and the railway played a part. Most of the exhibit has only explanations in German but what does come across from seeing the images of the rolling stock and the orders that rail played an important part in how Germany planned to move so much equipment and men into other countries.

Unas of Egypt funerary room

the colourful recontsruction of the funerary rooms of King Unas

If I thought I was entering a railway museum when I walked through the doors, I was soon to be shown the error of my thoughts.

On three floors the museum is more than about railways for there is also the Museum of Comminication in the same building. It features communications in general including a replica of  an Egyptian room, the burial chamber of King Unas, that records the first case of texts to assist a pharoaph entering the next world. They are to be found on the walls and ceilings of this colourful room whcih – unlike the original in Saqqara, you can photograph.

From 4,000 years ago to just a a couple of decades ago and you can see the mobile phones that I used to hump around thirty years ago not only makes me feel old but reminded me of how much change has taken place in communications of such a relatively short space of time.

the children's room at the DB-Museum

where children – and big kids – can play

Included in the same building is a large room set aside for children to play on large trains, play with working models and generally have fun. I’ve seen creches with fewer toys!

But railways remain the key. You will find the sustere black coach that Bismarck used. Compare this with unparalleled grandeur of the blue coaches that King Ludwig II, the king who planned those fairy-style castles in Bavaria so beloved of visitors and film-makers, with more gold gilt than you’ll see in many stately homes. Most of the engines though are on another site a few miles away.

Bismarck's carriagei

the railway carriage of Bismarck

To get to the museum you can follow the signs from the centrail railway station. Don’t give up because it leads you quite a way from the station and at times you think you have lost your way but peservere as its an easy way to spend a few hours And if you have purchased a “Nurnberg Card” allowing you free travel on the local transport then you can enter the museum for nothing.

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