Railway photography in Nazi Germany

Given the outbreaks of anti-photography paranoia which have occurred in Britain in recent years, I was amused to stumble across this 1938 Railway Gazette article “Amateur railway photography in Germany”, reporting that the Reichsbahn had recently clarified that railway photography was permitted from public areas.

The report was published on 15 April 1938 – the week in which you-know-who’s party won more than 99% of the votes in the final “election” before the war.

Railway Gazette report on photographing trains in Nazi Germany

The Museum of Army Transport rail-ripper

The question of what happened to the railway-wrecking hook which used to be at the now-defunct Museum of Army Transport at Beverley in East Yorkshire sometimes arises in various places.

Some time ago I e-mailed the National Army Museum to ask if they knew where it had got to, and they kindly got back to me with the following information:

When the Museum of Army Transport closed, a large proportion of the vehicles were transferred to the National Army Museum, including the railway wrecker. This vehicle (NAM. 1998-09-89), a Pline C24, was made in Germany in 1943. It was used in Italy and indeed captured there by the British Army.

Since the move of the vehicles, some have been transferred to other institutions who have much larger storage facilities for these types of vehicles. The railway wrecker was transferred to the Ministry of Defence Railway Service in Marchwood and it is unlikely to be on public display.

A 31 March 2008 report filed with the Charity Commission gives some details of what the National Army Museum did with former Museum of Army Transport (and other) exhibits, and includes the hook:

Date of disposal Accession number Object Result of disposal
25 Feb 2008 1998-09-89 Railway wrecker, Pline C24 Transferred

Does anyone have a better photo of the Beverley hook which I could include on this website? I was a regular visitor to the Museum of Army Transport when I lived nearby, but as ever with things which seem so familiar, I didn’t take any photos and then one day it was gone.

Great Patriotic War museum rail hook

A replica of a Second World War rail-ripper hook wagon is included in the outdoor display area at the Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Moscow.

Rail-ripping hook, Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War, Moscow, Russia

A sign explains:

The “Hook” combined track-wrecking machine (Germany)

Track-wrecking machine were produced at the Krupp factory since in 1942. They were applied for destruction of the railway way in second half of 1943. The mechanical principle of action was based on the breaking of the wood cross ties, deformation the rail and earthen cloth. It was towed by 1 or 2 locomotives.

The exposed track-wrecking machine was made for the museum by railway armies in 1995.


Weight of the equipped hook, T 30
Preparation for working, min 6-8
Work speed, kmph 7-10
Maintenance crew, people 10

Schienenwolf, Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War, Moscow, Russia

Railway destroying hook, Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War, Moscow, Russia

Railroad wrecking hook, Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War, Moscow, Russia

Other exhibits

Photos © Andrew Grantham, taken on 25 March 2011.

Oakham level crossing signal box

[front view]

Built in 1899 to Midland Railway design 2b, the Grade II listed signal box at Oakham in Rutland achieved fame as the prototype for the Airfix plastic kit, now made by Dapol (catalogue no.C006).

On 22 August 1999 I happened to be passing through Oakham, and I stopped off to take some photos of the signal box. Jim Filby has kindly supplied some photos of the interior, taken in 2004.

[Dapol model kit]

The June 2001 issue of Railway Modeller magazine had an article on detailing the Airfix/Dapol 4 mm/ft scale kit to resemble the real box more closely.

[right hand end view]

[back view]

[left hand end view]

Inside Oakham signal box

Some interior photos by Jim Filby in 2004.

[Inside view]

[Inside view]

[Inside view]

Village church

The Airfix/Dapol village church kit (Dapol catalogue no. C029) is based on the Old St Boniface church at Bonchurch, near Ventnor on the Isle of Wight.


The Airfix windmill kit might be based on Outwood windmill in Surrey.


I would be interested to know the locations of the prototypes (if any) which the other Airfix building kits were based on.

Trains in Poland in 2002

A few badly-scanned pictures of railways in Poland, taken when I was touring the country with a PKP Polrail pass in August 2002.

[Cast PKP emblem on a steam locomotive]
PKP emblem on a steam loco at Wolsztyn.

[Child looking up at steam locomotive cab]
I’m taking an early holiday ‘cos I know summer comes soonest in Wolsztyn.

[Steam train]
A real steam-hauled freight train leaves Wolsztyn on a wet morning. 2002-08-05.

[Driver of diesel locomotive waving for the camera]
The driver of SU45-205 on the Wolsztyn to Leszno train says says hello. Leszno, 2002-08-05.

[Loco at Hel]
A diesel-hauled train at Hel, waiting to depart for Gdynia. 2002-08-06.

[Polish countryside]
A view from the window of the overnight Gdansk – Krakow train, morning of 2002-08-07. Standing in the corridor and leaning out of the window seems a popular way to travel by train in Poland.

['WARNING! Train' in Polish, German, English and Russian]
A quadlingual sign at Oswiecim. 2002-08-07.

A tram in Krakow. 2002-08-08.

[Us on a pump trolley]
Once on board the train, we began to suspect that buying the cheapest ticket might have been a mistake… Chabowka, 2002-08-08.

Steam loco Ty51 182 in the railway museum at Chabowka. They’ve got quite a variety of standard and narrow gauge locos there. Entrance to the museum cost PLZ 3, and permission to take photos PLZ 10. 2002-08-08.

[Loco EU06-17]
Our train from Krakow to Wroclaw, seen on arrival at Wroclaw. Electric locomotive EU06-17 was built in Britain.

A tram in Wroclaw. The city has an extensive tram network, and almost every street in the centre seemed to have tram tracks. 2002-08-10.

A tram in Poznan. Gdansk, Katowice and Wroclaw had very similar vehicles.

An EP08 at Poznan. Most electric locomotives we found seemed to be green, but this one wasn’t. 2002-08-10.