Electric railcar 491 001 “Gläserner Zug” of the Deutsche Bundesbahn.
■ For the first time in red-beige livery with Epoch IV lettering
To make travels and excursions more attractive again for the German population in the early 1930s, the then Deutsche Reichsbahn Gesellschaft (DRG) decided to build a total of five observation railcars. At the time, the DRG considered it essential to be able to stand up to the increasing competition from buses in the excursion traffic sector. The aim in building the railcars was to provide all passengers with an as free and unobstructed view of the landscape as possible. Additionally to the three diesel-hydraulic vehicles, the DRG ordered two more railcars for electric operation. The wagon manufacturer H. Fuchs Waggonfabrik in Heidelberg was responsible for the mechanical part, the AEG from Berlin supplied the electrical components.
The elT 1998, the first of the two electric railcars, which was presented to the public as early as 1935, was accepted on February 27 1936 when the DR tested it on the lines between Munich and the Austrian border station Kufstein and back. Both railcars ET 91 01 and 02, which were given the melodious name “Gläserner Zug” (“Glass train”) by the public, quickly established themselves among the passengers. Popular excursions were the Karwendel Round Trip via Mittenwald to Innsbruck or the Alpine Round Trip via Salzburg, Bischofshofen and Kufstein to Munich.
While the ET 91 02 burned out in a bombing raid in Munich in the night of March of 9/10 1943 and was utterly destroyed, the DR considered a safe place for the ET 91 01. It was transferred to the Bavarian town of Bichl and walled up in the engine shed there. It was the only electric “glass train” to survive the war and could soon be used for excursions again.
It was not until December 27 1995 that its long years of service came to an abrupt end when it collided with the loco 1044 235 of the ÖBB at the Garmisch-Partenkirchen station. The frame and the electrical equipment such as the traction motor and transformer were so severely damaged that the vehicle had to be finally scrapped.