. .

History

Timeline

1835
1882
1899
1901
1914
1920
1925
1935
1939
1953
1960
1985
1995
1996
1997
1999
2001
2001
2002
2003
2005
2005
2007
2012
2013
2013
2014
2015
1835

1835

Germany's first railway 

The first train in Germany made its maiden voyage on 7 December 1835. Called the Adler ("Eagle"), it pulled nine passenger coaches from Nuremberg to the nearby town of Fürth. Initially, the train only ran twice a day, and coal shortages meant that it was often drawn by horse instead of being powered by steam.

The opening of the Ludwig railway line 7 December 1835

1882

The early days of the DB Museum

Bavaria's state-managed railway opened a small museum in Munich dedicated to the (then) kingdom's rail history. Initially open only to railway employees, it opened its doors to the general public in 1885 – on Wednesday afternoons from May to October!

1:10 models have been essential to our historic collection from the outset

1899

Opening of the Royal Bavarian Railway Museum

Nuremberg's mayor Georg von Schuh had an eye to history when he succeeded in getting the historical collection of Bavaria's state railway relocated from Munich to Nuremberg. Where the Museum of Natural History now stands (Norishalle building), von Schuh gave the railway company an empty exhibition pavilion free of charge. The Royal Bavarian Railway Museum opened its doors on 1 October 1899.

The Royal Bavarian Railway Museum on Marientorgraben

1901

A new name: the Royal Bavarian Transport Museum

A new section for post and telegraph opened in 1901, and the railway museum changed its name to the Royal Bavarian Transport Museum as a result. The link between railways and the post system reflected the state's administrative structures. After the German Empire was established in 1871, Munich still retained control of the railway network and post and telegraph system, which were jointly administered by the same ministry.

Post coach from the collection of the transport museum's post section

1914

Cornerstone laid for a new building in Lessingstrasse

It wasn't long before the bigger museum needed more space. Once again, the city of Nuremberg provided invaluable support: It simply donated a site in Lessingstrasse and even took over some of the costs of constructing the museum building. The sod-cutting ceremony took place in summer 1914. Shortly afterwards, the outbreak of World War I put an end to building work.

The layout of the Lessingstrasse museum building

1920

Reorganisation after WWI

After the end of the war, the two sections of the museum were separated and assigned to different government bodies: the transport ministry, which was in charge of the national railway company, Deutsche Reichsbahn, and the post ministry. Both museums expanded their collections to cover developments throughout all of Germany.

Oskar Böttinger, museum director during the Weimar era

1925

The museum moves house 

Begun in 1914, the new building in Lessingstrasse was finally completed in 1925. The museum moved to the site it continues to occupy today and which comprised 9,700 m² of exhibition space: 8,500 m² for the railways and 1,200 m² for the post system.

1920s poster from the transport museum

1935

The "Eagle" returns: part 1

To mark 100 years of Germany’s railways, Deutsche Reichsbahn ordered the construction of a replica of the Adler steam locomotive. Together with several passenger coaches, the rebuilt locomotive was displayed in public for the first time as part of a vehicle parade on 7 December 1935. The Nazi government exploited the event’s appeal for its own propaganda purposes, and Adolf Hitler took part in the celebrations.

The replica of the Adler during the vehicle parade on 7 December 1935

1939

Damage during WWII

World War II resulted in the destruction of large sections of the transport museum, which was closed after war was declared in September 1939. Between 1943 and 1945, the Lessingstrasse building was heavily damaged during repeated air raids. It was not until the 1960s that all rooms were once again open to the public.

Undoing damage to the transport museum

1953

Partial reopening of the transport museum

Sections of the transport museum, damaged during WWII, were reopened in 1953. Bundesbahn's Nuremberg office was now in charge of the museum's railway exhibits.

The transport museum in the 1950s

1960

More exhibition space added

1960 marked the 125th anniversary of Germany's rail history, and the giant model railway on the first floor was unveiled for visitors.

One courtyard was repurposed as a display room for the Adler steam train.

The Adler train in its hall, 1960

1985

New permanent exhibition and outdoor space

To mark the 150th anniversary of the German railways' existence, the museum created its new permanent exhibition chronicling the various eras of rail history. At the same time, work was completed on the vehicle hall in Sandstrasse, opposite the main building. Following a heated public debate, the museum turned its attention to the issue of the Nazi era for the first time, dedicating a small room to the subject.

The section of track construction in the museum's permanent exhibition, 1985

1995

The DB Museum goes online

The transport museum in Nuremberg was one of Germany's first museums to create its own webpage: www.vmn.nuernberg.de. Initially, the DB Museum and communication museum shared their website, but they went their separate internet ways in 1998, when the DB Museum launched its very own website at www.dbmuseum.de.

The DB Museum's first website

1996

DB Museum: Deutsche Bahn AG's company museum

Deutsche Bahn AG took over the management of the railway section of the transport museum, turning it into its company museum and renaming it the DB Museum. Since then, the building has been home to two separate institutions: the DB Museum and communication museum.

New advertising banners outside the transport museum after its reorganisation

1997

The Railway Experience opens

DB AG initiated the wholesale overhaul of the DB Museum. One of the first changes was the opening of the Railway Experience in 1997, providing children with a playful way to learn about trains.

Built by Brio: a table for toys in the Railway Experience

1999

Happy 100th birthday, DB Museum!

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the institution's foundation, the DB Museum hosted the special exhibition "Travel in Germany, 1899". The high point of the event was the spectacular display of vehicles with scores of locomotives and a parade of trains on the site of an old freight handling facility in Nuremberg.

Locomotives on parade for the museum's 100th anniversary in 1999

2001

Permanent exhibition: "On Separate Tracks"

2001 saw the opening of the exhibition "On Separate Tracks: Reichsbahn and Bundesbahn, 1945 – 1989". This represented the first instalment of the new permanent exhibition on the history of the railways in Germany. It focused on technological issues in the development of the railways, in addition to the economic, social, political and cultural context of rail transport. The exhibition meant that former East Germany's rail history now also had a permanent home in the DB Museum. 

A boundary post symbolises the separation of the Bundesbahn and Reichsbahn companies.

2001

DB Museum in Koblenz

The DB Museum opened its first external branch in Lützel, a district of the city of Koblenz, in 2001. Housed in the locomotive hall of the former freight wagon upgrading facility, its exhibits include electric locomotives, train coaches and saloon coaches.

Visitors to Koblenz can see the E 69 03.

2002

Permanent exhibition: "In the Service of Democracy and Dictatorship"

The second part of the permanent exhibition on the history of Germany's railways was called "In the Service of Democracy and Dictatorship: Reichsbahn Until 1945". It focused on the history of the rail service during the Weimar Republic and the Nazi period, and it did not shy away from the company's involvement in the crimes committed during the Third Reich.

Forced labour for Reichsbahn during WWII

2003

DB Museum in Halle an der Saale

In 2003, the DB Museum opened its second branch outside Nuremberg. The engine shed of the Halle P former locomotive depot in Halle an der Saale is home to several steam locomotives that were Reichsbahn property and a large array of old electric and diesel locomotives.

Vehicles exhibited at the engine shed in Halle an der Saale

2005

Completing the historical review on the ground floor

The review of the railway's history on the ground floor of the DB Museum was completed in 2005, when the exhibition "A Century of Steam: Railways in Germany 1835 – 1919" was the third instalment of the permanent exhibition. With this, the DB Museum completed its comprehensive review of the history of the railways in Germany between 1835 and 1989.

A glimpse of the permanent exhibition "A Century of Steam" on the ground floor

2005

A fire in the Gostenhof depot in Nuremberg

In 2005, a serious fire at a roundhouse rented specially for museum vehicles at DB Regio's depot at Gostenhof in Nuremberg damaged 24 vehicles, including the replica Adler. DB AG decided to reconstruct Germany's first steam locomotive and other historic railway vehicles.

The damaged replica Adler amid the ruins of the Gostenhof museum depot

2007

The "Eagle" returns: part 2

Two years after the fire at the Gostenhof museum depot in Nuremberg, the reconstructed replica Adler returned to the DB Museum once again. Once back home, it went back to work as a popular ride for museum visitors.

Adler and a train of happy travellers

2012

The outdoor area and display depot

On 1 March 2012, the DB Museum opened a display depot in a renovated hall in the outdoor area of the museum site. Now, items which had previously languished in warehouses could go on show to the public. Covering 15,000 m2, the renovated outdoor area opened approximately six months later. One of its new features was a display demonstrating train signals and a "time track" about the history of the superstructure.

The renovated outdoor area with its collection of old signals

2013

All aboard for KIBALA

KIBALA (short for Kinder-Bahnland, "Kids' Railway Land") opened in January 2013 to replace the Rail Experience for children. About 1,000 m2 in size, KIBALA is an interactive exhibition designed specially for the museum's little visitors up to 11 years of age. The high point of their day is undoubtedly a trip on the KIBALA Express.

The "climbing frame train" is right at home in KIBALA

2013

Part of Deutsche Bahn Stiftung gGmbH

The DB Museum was incorporated into Deutsche Bahn Stiftung gGmbH, which oversees all of Deutsche Bahn's non-profit activities, on 1 April 2013. This independent institution was founded in January 2013 with the objective of promoting ideas and material advancements that serve the common good. Its activities focus on the issues of education and culture, integration and care, climate and environmental protection, in addition to humanitarian aid.

2014

Next stop: the future – the new permanent exhibition at the DB Museum

20 after the founding of DB AG, the DB Museum opened its new permanent exhibition exploring the recent history of Germany's railway network.

The multimedia display opened on 1 April 2014 and explains the huge changes that have happened since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Visitors can now take in the grand sweep of rail history from the Adler steam engine to the ICE.

2015

The "Modellarium" – the new permanent exhibition at the DB Museum

The new exhibition area is dedicated to railway models. The "Modellarium" has over 2,000 models on display, ranging from 1:5 scale historical vehicles to a 1:700 scale mini-locomotive.