Berliner S-Bahn Luise Herr
(Written by PG)
I take the liberty to dedicate this article to all women and particularly to Jennifer,
with many, many wishes for her professional career.
I have often met at work, as well as in life, really remarkable women and I will now tell you about a Berliner who left her name in the history of miniature trains.
The city of Berlin has, like Paris, two underground networks.
The oldest, open since 1902, is the U-Bahn …
the second, structured in the ’20s, is the S-Bahn.
Today united under one company, they have a total length of just under 1,000 km and each year carry approx 930 million people.
At its opening the S-Bahn, …
…. then mostly roofless, operated with steam traction …
… Then came the electrified third rail ….
and on its tracks
several generations of trains ran.
The construction of the Berlin Wall opened deep wounds in the S-Bahn …
… and the network unfortunately followed the shameful division of the City.
of previous trains, … ..
… In 1938 the ET / EB 167 convoys, appropriately modernized, came into service and they characterized many Berlin lines until 2003.
And it is this train that was chosen in 1948 by Luise Herr to be reproduced in HO scale.
Passionate about mechanics and especially the railways, in 1924 Luise Herr , together with her husband, founded in Berlin the namesake brand (initially named “Elektromechanische Werkstätten L. Herr”).
The Company under the strong hand of Frau Luise rather than of her husband, initially produced designs and machine parts and equipment and then quickly switched to miniature railways.
Gradually her repertoire was enriched with rail material, rolling stock, then locomotives, also sold directly in the shop of Herr Lebenbachstrasse 1.
At the end of World War II, the company’s headquarters remained in the Russian occupation zone where it continued to operate until the ’57, after having integrated in ’56 the ERGA brand.
In 1957 Luise Herr takes refuge in West Berlin and leaves the business to her son Kurt Herrmann, from the eastern side of the wall which is then to divide the city, continue with many difficulties her activity until ’72.
In that year, the brand will disappear, victim of another wave of nationalizations of the communist regime intended to abolish any remaining private property in the GDR, and is in the conglomerate VEB Plastikwaren Berlin.
The S-Bahn train of Luise Herr, of which the Mikado indicates eight variants, comes in a cardboard box without rails, with a cover illustrated by a drawing where a two elements train runs in the midst of smoking chimneys …
I own a set with four carriages …
…………. of which the third has a strange peculiarity: while the other three have the bodywork Duroplast (bakelite-like substance used in the DDR) colored in the mass of ivory and painted in red for the lower band, the third, on the contrary, is Duroplast dark red-colored in the mass and the band close to the windows is ivory painted.
The frames are constructed of sturdy iron plate of sliced and deep-drawn ….
… and underlying ballast in lead are glued the stamps with the “Luise Herr” brand.
On this locomotive …
… the motor bogie is to the rear with the mechanics of the second version (1950), with horizontal motor and transmission gears in cascade,
while the first version was equipped with a rather brief transmission to vertical pin on the front carriage, which had proved unreliable .
The trolleys have side panels fixed to the body centered by side screws. Wheels, metal, have the rather large rolling face, as in use in the ’30s and ’40s
The reverse speed is via relay, the outlet from the central rail is made through a central shoe (definitely rear installation), which allows the use of this train even on tracks with central contact points.
The two central trailers,
without cabin … ..
… different from each other, as already said, to the base color and the body, are equipped with monobloc carriages different of those of the driving and their wheels, of dimensions equal to those of the drive, however, they are in black bakelite.
The “false locomotive” …
…. has wheels and the sides of the carriages equal to those of the loco.
Soon we will publish another article about Luise Herr, to talk, in particular, of her electric locomotives called “Bulli”
(@ January 6, 2017)