Rheingold Express

Rheingold Express

The legendary Rheingold-Express (Rhine Gold) was a famous train riding between Hoek van Holland near Rotterdam and Basel, Switzerland, a distance of . It ran along the Rhine River via Arnhem, Netherlands and Cologne, Germany had special luxury coaches. It was named after Richard Wagner's Das Rheingold opera, which romanticized the Rhine.


Basel SBB - Freiburg - Baden-Baden - Karlsruhe - Mannheim - Mainz - Cologne - Düsseldorf - Duisburg - Zevenaar - Hook of Holland - by boat: Harwich


The first Rheingold (trains FFD 101 and FFD 102) started service on May 15, 1928. In The Netherlands it was pulled by the 3700-3800-3900 steam locomotive series, in Germany by the Baureihen 183 (Badic IV h, between Mannheim and Basel) and BR 184-5 (Bavarian S 3/6, between Emmerich and Mannheim) and in Switzerland by Ae 4/7 electric locomotives. In 1930, the BR 01 (01 077-181) was used between Mannheim and Basel and permanently from 1935 on, and the NS 3900 in Holland.

The luxurious Pullman type salon coaches had a distinct cream/blue livery in 1st and 2nd class each measuring . At both ends (one behind the locomotive) there was a blue luggage wagon. Some cars had a kitchen, with one kitchen serving two cars. Mitropa Waiters served the passengers. The cars were the most technically advanced the DRG had at that time, but were less advanced than the later (from 1939) Schürzenwagen (skirted coaches), typical World War II cars. The interiors were designed by artists and architects of the time, and besides being very luxurious were also phenomenally spacious. In total there were 26 coaches and three luggage wagons. In these days, the trip took 11 hours. At first, the cars had the Deutsche Reichsbahn Gesellschaft and MITROPA inscriptions with the DRG logo. Around 1931 the name RHEINGOLD was printed on the coaches and the locomotive tender, and the DRG logo remained. In the fall of 1938, due to the start of World War II the train service was cancelled.


The service was reestablished in 1951 as trains FD 163/164, later F 163/164, F 9/10 and F 21/22. Most cars survived the war but nevertheless the coaches in Western Germany were painted over and rebuilt to dining coaches Gesellschaftwagen, long distance coaches (F trains) and short distance train coaches (D trains). The Rheingold now used skirted coaches and was pulled by the Deutsche Bundesbahn steam locomotives BR 01, BR 01.10, BR 03 and BR 03.10 and the BR 41 between Cologne and Kaldenkirchen. In 1954 "Express" was dropped.

TEE Rheingold

In 1962 the Rheingold became established again as a link between Switzerland and the Netherlands on the pre-war route. In 1965 it became a Trans-Europe Express. First still in the cream/blue livery pulled by the new Class E 10.12 series, later (1972 onwards) in cream/red and pulled by the imposing Class 103. The Rheingold even had a special dome car, a singular view on German railroads.

The later years

Operation of the Rheingold TEE ended on May 30, 1987, after 59 years and 15 days. The TEE 14 was pulled by a BR 103. It was the last train of the TEE-system in Germany.

See also

External links

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