Eisenbahnen in Volkes Hand DVD (8468)

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This DVD covers the railways in East Germany from the 1950s to the 1980s, during the years of the DDR. Most of the footage is from films made by the DR itself and cinema newsreels. The first few sequences are dominated by steam traction, with war-damaged locos being restored in the opening scenes. Reflecting the close links between the DR and the Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands (Socialist Unity Party) there is also footage of an SED parade. New designs of steam loco are seen being built and outshopped, including the ill-fated Class 25 and more successful types such as Classes 23, 50.40 and 65.10. The latter two were rebuilt versions of Classes 50 and 65 respectively. Other highlights from the early years of the DDR include the construction and opening of the southern section of the Berliner Ringbahn, the now plinthed SVT 137 railcars on the Berlin–Praha–Wien “Vindobona” service and freight being loaded into wagons by a team of young workers. The first new diesels seen under construction are the V 60 shunters, some of which were exported to Indonesia, North Korea and the then USSR. Other classes featured include the Russian-built Class 130/131/132 Ludmilla and V 200 Taigatrommel locos, not forgetting the home-built V 180. New-build electric locos depicted are Classes E 11, E 42, 243 and 250. Near the start of the programme we see the inauguration of electrification between Halle and Köthen in 1955; however, it was not until the 1980s that large parts of the DR system were energised. As well as the standard gauge network, there are also several sequences showing trains on the DDR’s once numerous narrow gauge lines. Footage also covers the events of 1989 (the Wende) when SED lost their power and a democratic government was established, the storming of the Berlin Wall and a Ludmilla-hauled special from Karl-Marx-Stadt (now Chemnitz) at Berlin Charlottenburg. German commentary. 58 minutes running time.

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