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AUTUMN 1945 (October to December)

For three weeks in September and October, seven of us from our four radar stations were at H.Q. at Bad Godesberg - at the Johanniter Hospital - to do a heavy technical building job.  The Rhine west bank route from Köln through Bonn to the south, KBS 600, was in full use and I spent as much time as I could by the trackside near the hospital. I was still not willing to do any shed-bashing, nor did I try to get hold of a railway timetable. Most of the trains were freights and were in charge of BR 50s with the odd BR 42 or 52. 1 saw one P8; 38.1402 in Bonn Hbf. and altogether six BR 39s, the Prussian three-cylinder 2-8-2s, mostly on the few passenger trains made up of old Prussian four and six-wheeled coaches.

The shed at Bonn was a standard Reichsbahn half-moon round a turntable and not, I think, damaged. On the one time I went close to it, I saw my first loco in the pre-war black and red livery; 50.182 (Bw Köln-Nippes) with large smoke deflector plates. Early in 1946, back in Winterberg, I obtained, from local railway men, the February timetable for RBD Wuppertal and the complete January Kursbuch for the whole American Occupation Zone. At that time, only seven passenger trains ran in each direction through Bonn. Three were P-trains from Köln to Remagen, at the Zone border with the French Occupation Zone. D270 ran from Köln to Mainz (depart 0755, arrive 1248) and three P-trains ran through Remagen from Köln to Koblenz. The north-bound services corresponded. The through service from Köln to Frankfurt ran on the west bank of the Rhine, not from the Hbf. but from Deutzerfeld, as the Hohenzollern Bridge was not restored until later in 1946. According to the January time­table, this service was a conditional daytime E-train taking from 0851 to 1538 for the journey. There were also two through P-trains taking about nine hours for the journey with stops at all stations. When the job at Bonn was completed, we all returned to our units. I remained at Winterberg from mid-October 1945 until January 1947, except for home leaves, two short leaves inside Germany and a four-week course at Bückeburg. I have often regretted I did not do more in the short time I was at Bad Godesberg and Bonn, but the whole district was alive with British troops, from the Guards’ Division, and, with plenty of Military Police around, I decided that too much obvious railway observation was a bit risky. But perhaps I was wrong. In Winterberg, everyone’s main interest - apart from the prospects of leave and meeting local girls - was the approach of winter and possible early snow for skiing and sledging. In the event nothing heavy fell until mid-January. During the autumn, I did not leave the village and saw only a few local trains; freight and passenger. 38.3410, previously seen derelict at Bestwig shed, came up one day in November and the first BR 42 seen  in Winterberg was 42.1080, at about the same time. Just before Christmas 1945 I went on my third home leave and, this time, it was almost completely by rail. We went by truck to Neheim in the middle Ruhr valley (KBS 350). Part of this little town was swept away by the flood when the Möhne Dam was smashed in 1943 by the R.A.F. Houses by the roadside still showed stains up to the first floor window level from the muddy waters. Acres of land at the north end of Neheim were swept clear by the flood. We took a train of five standard DRG coaches in charge of 38.2153 (Bw Arnsberg), ran by the bomb-damaged yard at Geisecke, ( just east of Schwerte where routes from Wuppertal split for Hamm and for Kassel), and then round the avoiding line past RAW Schwerte( the workshops not being much damaged I thought) and then on to KBS 400 towards Hamm. At Hamm I saw my first standard BR01s; 01.009, 059 and 070 which were, I think , on shed. In Münster Hbf. I saw my first BR 03; 03.090. Our train ran round to the north of the town, where there was a single track branch up to the local transit barracks, a former Wehrmacht place, cavernous and chilly. Next day we went off early behind 50.061 for the Hook of Holland. At the frontier at Bentheim, a Dutch 4-6-0, no. 3729 took over. On this first DRG journey, the main interest, apart from the numerous smaller Prussian locos, were the ubiquitous BR 50s and the first non-streamlined Pacifics. Those, I later found, worked almost all the expresses on the level North German plain. The marshalling yards at Hamm, Münster and Rheine were still in a terrible mess, though there was recovery work going on everywhere. How these railway men managed on the poor civilian rations I never understood. 

I returned to Germany early in January 1946 but most of my journey was in darkness. We had the same P8 as before on the train to Neheim. Back in Winterberg I found there was plenty of snow at last, and almost everyone on the unit had obtained skis and was learning quickly. I took several good photos at this time in Winterberg station, including 58.1218 and 56.2776 in very sunny weather. The driver of the second engine had worked in America before the War and spoke perfect American-English.

BR39.055 near Bad Godesberg on 4th October 1945.

BR 42.1805 at Bad Godesberg on 4th October 1945.

52.2736 at Bad Godesberg on a northbound freight train 3rd October 1945.

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