Well, open car is a platform

The platform truck


The "blunderbusses"
Commuter car from the 1920s

At the beginning of the 20th century, the rails in Germany were not yet completely welded, as is customary today, but the individual rails were screwed with brackets, so that there were a lot of rail joints.
In the past, three-axle wagons were also common, the central axis of which dampened the rail joints quite well. For reasons of cost and weight, however, after the First World War almost only two-axle passenger cars were procured, but these rumbled “better” over the rail joints “thanks” to the missing central axis. Initially, the wagons had wooden car bodies and some wooden frames, so that the development of noise was still limited.

From 1921 the first carriages of the so-called “Donnerbüchsen” -type appeared, these too initially had wooden car bodies covered with sheet metal, as well as wooden roofs (wooden construction). But still in 1921 it was clear that in future the wagons (except for the roofs) would be made entirely of iron (iron construction). This resulted in an increase in driving noise compared to the wooden construction. In 1926, the all-steel construction finally emerged, and now the roofs were also made from sheet steel. The driving noise increased even more, and the entire car body boomed quite loudly while driving because there was no longer any insulation between the wheel and rail and the roof. This was called “thunder”, and that's how it came to be known as “Donnerwagen”, later “Donnerbüchse”, under which this family of wagons is familiar to every railroad enthusiast to this day. The name “Donnerbüchse” is therefore actually only applicable for the all-steel wagons. However, since the older types have a lot in common with the later types and are only marginally quieter in operation, the older types are often referred to as “Donnerbüchsen”. For some model railroaders in particular, the name “Donnerbüchse” is incorrectly synonymous with all two-axle platform wagons, regardless of their origin!

The blunderbuss train of the Swabian Alb Railway
From the Ruhr area to the Swabian Alb - and to the Schluchsee

On the occasion of the state horticultural show in Oberhausen in 1999, the city of Oberhausen started a major project for railway enthusiasts in cooperation with the Historischen Eisenbahn Oberhausen and Emscher Park-Eisenbahn GmbH. A complete train of blunderbusses should shine in its old splendor again. A suitable draft horse was also found. The 78 468 is the only operational Prussian T18 in Germany today and is a worthy representative of this impressive series, which once drove over 500 units on German tracks.

At the beginning of 2001, the project comprised 6 cars in addition to the 78, which could be put into excellent condition. Unfortunately, the historic railway in Oberhausen was confronted with a sharp decline in active members in the following years, which led to fewer and fewer uses of the train. The 78 468 was finally handed over to the railway tradition in Lengerich, while the cars were still parked in the Krefeld depot.

At the beginning of 2009 the members of the SAB became aware of the train through an advertisement at the VDMT. Since the funds to buy all 6 cars were not enough at that time, a rental contract was signed first. The goal of the owners in Krefeld and Oberhausen, that the train was maintained and in operation, could be achieved by renting it out. In September 2009 the train was finally transferred to Reutlingen for the upcoming anniversary. Since then, the cars have been used regularly on the SAB. They were also guests on the Sauschwänzlebahn and the Drei-Seen-Bahn and delighted a large audience with their open platforms.

The lease included a purchase option, which SAB had to comment on in the course of 2015. The funds required were still substantial. However, all the work and capital that had flowed into the vehicles in seven years of renting would have been gone if it had not been possible to acquire the vehicles. Together with the Drei-Seen-Bahn, a concept was developed that enables the entire train to remain in southern Germany and continues to provide for the mutual exchange of vehicles. In a joint effort, we finally managed to buy all six cars at the beginning of 2016. The wagons 36 404, 83 282 and 83 117 went to the Drei-Seen-Bahn, the wagons 81 293, 27 171 and 82 951 remained with the SAB.

Ci 81 293 - The “wooden can”

The oldest blunderbuss at the SAB is the 81 293. It was built in 1922 as 81 293 Erfurt in the type Di-21 (later Cid-21). This third class two-axle car weighs 18.4 tons and is 13.92 meters long. The car is braked using a Kunze-Knorr type compressed air brake. It has open entry platforms with 10 standing places and 55 seats in the third class (seating 3 + 2). The heating can only be operated with steam. A generator and a 24V battery provide the power supply for the incandescent lamp lighting. There is a toilet in the middle of the car.

A special feature of this car compared to the other blunderbusses is the wooden car body, which is not made of steel profiles. Actually, the nickname “Donnerbüchse” does not apply to the 81 293 at all, because the roaring and thundering of the car was only caused by the sound box which was caused by the steel construction.

This car has been preserved in the area of ​​the former GDR Reichsbahn, this is still recognizable today by the windowless sliding doors. In 2001 it underwent a general inspection and a restoration of the interior in the Czech Republic. The car body was merely repaired and the roof was left in its old condition.

In 2011 in Münsingen, the axles were redesigned and the car was given a new roof skin. Over the years, the old roof tarpaulin had only been covered with liquid bitumen and leaked in several places. In 2016, there was strong rust perforation on the side panels, whereupon the car body was opened and showed severe damage to the load-bearing wooden structure. This was the offset result of the initially invisible damage caused by penetrating water through the leaky roof membrane. In addition to a thorough repair of the wooden parts, both side walls were re-lined, the car was freshly filled and painted with a high-gloss finish. The owner of this car is SAB e.V.

BPwif 82 951 - The “control box”

This vehicle is a specialty among the Donnerbüchsen still remaining in Germany. It is one of only two surviving “control cars”, so it originally had a driver's cab and corresponding signaling devices in the control compartment or luggage compartment.

The 82 951 was built in 1927 by Linke-Hoffmann in Breslau in the type Di-27. He was initially assigned to the Reich Railway Directorate in Frankfurt. Today, due to the luggage compartment, it has 42 seats in third class; due to the driver's cab, it now bears the type designation CPwif, which is atypical for these cars. Like all cars, it is steam-heated and has a generator and a battery for lighting. The owner of this car is SAB e.V.

27 171 - The buffet trolley

The only car on the train with a closed boarding platform is the bar car 27 171 Esn. It was built in 1929 by the Schöndorff brothers in Düsseldorf and was a Bi-29 model. It belonged to the second car class and offered comfortable 40 seats. Initially assigned to the Reichsbahndirektion Hannover, the car, like the 83 282 Esn, survived in the North Rhine-Westphalian town of Geldern as a power station car and warehouse. With a weight of 20.4 tons and a length of 14.04 meters, its construction is otherwise heavily based on the other blunderbusses.

Today the 27 171 as a buffet car is the center of many train journeys. It also has a generator, sufficient cooling options and a long counter for the bar. In the summer of 2014, the car received a general chassis inspection in Münsingen. In the winter of 2015, the interior of the car was completely renovated. In addition to a completely new floor and substructure, new wall paneling as well as four dining tables with comfortable table lamps and 8 benches were installed. The electrics and the counter were also renewed. The owner of this car is SAB e.V.

52 787 - The Achertäler

Thanks to the cooperation with the Achertäler Eisenbahnverein, the three remaining of the once six blunderbusses have grown again. It is a two-axle unit through car of the 3rd class of the type Ci-26 of the Deutsche Reichsbahngesellschaft (DRG). Between 1926 and 1927, a total of 77 cars of this series were produced by various manufacturers (including Waggonfabrik Rastatt). Immediately after its arrival from Offenburg in autumn 2016, the car was subjected to a general inspection in the SAB workshop in Münsingen. In addition to the work required by the railway authorities, the wheel tires were re-profiled, the entire braking system was repaired, the chassis was completely derusted and repainted. In addition, the car received a new Webasto type hot air heater. The owner of the car is the Achertäler Eisenbahnverein e.V.

The wooden wagons from the Länderbahn era (until 1918)

Ci 14 passenger car

This car also came with me from the Achertal. It is not a blunderbuss, but belongs to a previous generation of vehicles, the wooden cars of the Länderbahn era. With a length of 8.6 meters, it is the smallest vehicle and, with the year of construction in 1896, also the oldest. In the post-war period, the car was used for many years on the Bühlertal Railway and most recently on the Bad Krozingen-Münstertal-Sulzburg branch line. The Ci 14 has been part of the historic steam train in the Achertal since 1968. The car is made of wood with external sheet metal that was renewed in the winter of 1984/1985. The vehicle, which has been kept very simple, is almost in its original condition and, with its small coal stove in the middle of the car, has quickly become a crowd-pleaser at SAB. The owner of this gem is the Achertäler Eisenbahnverein e.V.

C 15 passenger car

In 1903 the machine works Augsburg-Nürnberg (MAN) probably built this wooden passenger car for the Reutlingen-Gönningen branch line. Other sources report that the Busch wagon factory in Bautzen was the builder of this vehicle. Compared to the wagons that were delivered to the State Railways at that time, it definitely seems spartan to us today. Sparingly Swabian, it has no ornamentation whatsoever, apart from the roof supports above the entrances. And these are also kept extremely simple compared to other cars of the time. Thus there is at least no doubt about the question that it was delivered to Reutlingen. After all, where is the money more looked at than in the city of millionaires? The relatively strong arched roof is characteristic, which was rather untypical for the wagons of that time. The car initially had the number WN 9, later came to the Tälesbahn Nürtingen-Neuffen of the Württembergische Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft mbH (WEG) and finally to the local railway Amstetten-Gerstetten, where it was known as "WEG No. 3" for a relatively long time (until 1975) Reinforcement car for the multiple units was in use. There it was bought by the Society for the Preservation of Rail Vehicles (GES), which still owns the car today. The GES subjected the car to a total reconstruction in the mid-1980s, during which the entire car body was rebuilt and extensive renovations were made to the chassis. As part of the cooperation with the GES, the SAB has been ensuring the operational maintenance of this historically very interesting car with its very special regional reference since 2013.

Ci 133 passenger car

In the years 1922 to 1928, the group administration of the Deutsche Reichsbahngesellschaft procured a number of local railway cars, which were based heavily on the types developed by the Bavarian State Railway. The Ci 133 was delivered to the Deutsche Reichsbahn in 1926 as LBi 8078 for 17,800.00 Reichsmarks. In 1961 he was at
sold by the private DEBG, which had it converted into a railcar trailer for the Achertalbahn in the Bodenwerder repair shop. He received a Webasto heater, permanently installed tail lights and an interior cladding made of Hornitex panels. Painted red with beige decorative stripes, it was also used on the Wiesloch net. From 1968 to 2013 he was used in the historic Achertalbahn steam train. In the winter of 1989/90, the roof was renewed by the SWEG. The "133er" also came to Münsingen from Offenburg in 2016 and, as a representative of the interim period between the state and Reichsbahn times, establishes the link between the "more modern" Donnerbüchsen and the wooden regional railway wagons. The owner of this car is the Achertäler Eisenbahnverein e.V.