Heizer bei der Bundesbahn: Als Student im Plandienst auf dem Führerstand (VGB)

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In the mid-1960s, German Federal Railway (DB) all but cancelled its footplate training courses in anticipation of the imminent end of steam. But a sudden economic boom in the early 1970s meant many long-out-of-use steam locomotives had to be pressed back into service at short notice. With this sudden reprieve came a requirement for footplate staff, hence DB embarked on a fresh recruitment and training programme.

One such recruit was Reinhard Gumbert, a young steam enthusiast who jumped at what was effectively a dream come true. He enrolled on a course to become a fireman in 1972. Heizer bei der Bundesbahn: Als Student im Plandienst auf dem Führerstand is the story of two exciting years in Reinhard’s life, during which time he fired numerous distinctive steam locomotive types.

It includes accounts of some of the remarkable escapades that took place at the time, including the occasion when a steam loco was unexpectedly needed to haul a Hamburg-Sylt express and another when a locomotive almost ran out of coal.

Most of Reinhard’s adventures took place around Heilbronn and Lauda. On many occasions he was able to carry his single-lens reflex camera, with which he skilfully recorded this unique period of railway history. Many of Reinhard’s own images have been supplemented by those of other photographers who recorded the trains from the lineside.

The majority of the photographs are black & white, complemented by a short section of colour images. 192 pages. German text. Hardback.

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