11 November 2016

Berlin goes back to the future with Dora

If this train looks a little old-fashioned, well that's because it is, writes Brian Byrne. In fact, it's one of three 60 years-old sets of locomotives and carriages which the city of Berlin is refurbishing to go back into service.

The trains are slated to run on the city's newest and most controversial line, the U55 which is currently being completed after a stoppage when money ran out for what was to be a showcase line between the former East and West areas.

The U55 will have only three stops, between the Main Station and the Brandenburg Gate. Apart from the fact that it will cost far less to refurbish the old trains instead of buying new rolling stock, the city hopes they will attract tourists to the line.

The trains are officially designated D and DL type, and when in operation in the 50s and 60s they acquired the affectionate names of 'Dora' from their users.

There are still Doras running, by the way. In North Korean capital, Pyongyang. And the Berlin connection there is that the city sold 105 of the trains to the Koreans in the late 1990s.