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Deutsches Technikmuseum - February

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The Websites of the donation Stiftung Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin at a glance:

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The donation contains six locations:

Exhibit of the Month February 2014

Photo: The rusty lantern has four feet, the flap for the kerosene light is open, the panes of glass are broken. At the front the signal plate with two red triangles on white primer paint and the home district marking "Bww. Bln. Yor."

Lantern for an "official carriage" of the "Government Minister for the Occupied Zone" © SDTB / C. Kirchner

Rear train signal from the "Governmental carriage sheds"

A rear train signal is placed on the last railcar of a train to signal its completion (end). In daytime it consists of a special plate while at night red lights are used. The signal is a way to check to make sure no railcar has become disjoined or stuck along a stretch of track. The next train can then safely proceed. For many years, the Deutsche Reichsbahn (German National Railway) used upper carriage lanterns with kerosene lamps for this purpose. Since 1980, these high-maintenance lanterns were slowly but surely replaced by reflector plates and flashing lights. Their popularity as décor items among railway enthusiasts, however, has continued unabated.

Find from a secret workshop
The lantern shown here was recently discovered in Southern Germany. The still legible inscription "R.B.D. Berlin" (Reichsbahn Directorate) enabled it to be dated from the time between 1920 and 1945. The home district marking "Bww. Bln. Yor." (Maintenance depot Berlin-Yorckstraße) is a reference to the city workshop operating secretly out of a four-track railway shed next to the S-Bahnhof Yorckstraße (city train station). Employee access to the building was on Bautzener Straße.

Photo: Two carriages and a railway worker with a lot of different train signal lanterns

The "Lampist" (lamplighter) at the Stuttgart Train Station, June 5, 1981 © Photo: Karl-Friedrich Seitz

The code name "Gothenland" that was also found painted on the lantern was the designation for an “official carriage” of a special governmental train, in this case for the "Government Minister for the Occupied Zone".

With this, the exhibit is not only interesting as a technical remnant but as an artifact of contemporary history as well. Despite the broken glass and corrosion damage, no attempt has been made to restore the lantern because preserving the "aura of the original" seems the greater good.