ETS Coaches

Continental O Gauge coaches by ETS.

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ETS manufactures a range of traditional tinplate style mainline continental coaches that were used in Central Europe during the mid-20th century. German railway development was well chronicled with the earliest period – Epoch I – lasting up until 1920. Epoch II represented the golden era of steam railways from 1920 to 1949 when the German regional railways in 1924 were unified under the Deutsche Reichsbahn (DRG) banner to become a nationalised industry 100% owned by the German state. Epoch III covers the years from 1949 to 1970 when the German Federal Railway – known as Deutsche Bundesbahn (DB) – was created in the then West Germany. In Germany and other European countries diesel and electrification fuelled rapid modernisation as steam traction waned with the pace of post-war reconstruction. This period saw the demise of steam haulage although in some parts Poland pockets of steam operation was to survive until the turn of the 21st Century. Epoch IV covers the years leading to integration from 1970 to 1990 when the railway networks of the former East and West Germany began merging with unification whilst the latest period Epoch V straddles the modern, liberalised and integrated European railway market.

From its establishment in 1916 catering company Mitropa was responsible for providing dining and sleeping cars to railway companies within Germany and the Austria-Hungarian territories. Post WW1 Mitropa expanded its operations significantly with its instantly recognizable Mitropa M character logo style and burgundy-red livery although growth opportunities were restricted somewhat to the Netherlands, Switzerland and Scandinavian countries. In the inter-war years luxury trains were extremely popular with the travelling public; Mitropa introduced Pullman style services similar to its arch rival CIWL commencing a London to Berlin express followed by a similar Scandinavia to Switzerland service in 1925. Mitropa upped its game considerably in 1928 launching a violet and cream liveried luxury Pullman style train known as the Rheingold which was to link London via the North Sea to Switzerland. Such was the innovation of Mitropa’s Rheingold service CIWL was forced into offering a competing train later that year known as the Edelweiss (see ‘The Harwich Parkeston Quay Boat Trains‘). After WW2 Mitropa’s operations were split following the division of the country. It became the catering company for the East German national railway – Deutsche Reichsbahn whilst in the west its dining car and sleeper services were absorbed into a new business known as DSG – Deutsche Schlafwagen und Speisewagengesellschaft. DRG and Mitropa in the interwar period popularised the open style carriage format as new lighter steel (and in some cases aluminium) panelled coaches were introduced. Couplages were included on some Mitropa luxury trains where sets of coaches were attached to a similar carriage that incorporated a kitchen. These two or three car sets could serve passengers whilst they were seated without requiring them to walk through the train to separate dining carriages. Old style heavyweight wooden constructed carriages became redundant on premier services.

ETS produces a number of German inspired freelance Continental coaches which first appeared in the 1920s and would run throughout Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the then Czechoslovakia. Their continental first and second-class coaches and matching baggage cars are available in German Epoch II and Epoch III periods together with Mitropa (Epoch II) and DSG (Epoch III) burgundy red liveried dining and sleeping carriages. ETS continental coaches are constructed in tinplate measuring approximately 42cm in length. First-class seating is produced with a dark red colouring and brown interiors whilst second-class seating is produced in dark green. The dining cars and sleeping cars also come with appropriate matching interiors.

Shamrock Trains offers a standardised approach to ETS continental coaches and come with interior fixtures, lighting and drop link couplings. Optional additional specifications such as carriages with tail lights or alternative couplings are also available on request. Coaches come in either two or three rail formats. In three rail format and where a number of coaches are ordered together a double spoon pick will be provided on one coach with separate lighting wiring connections to other carriages thus reducing drag on a larger train coach formation. Where single coaches are ordered coaches will come without pickups.

If you’re looking for motive power to create a 20th Century European railway in German liveries then ETS’s continental O gauge coaches are the perfect accompaniment to run with their 1:45 scale locomotives and also MTH’s range of German ready to run locomotives.

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