Some of the most interesting railway subjects to model can turn up when you start digging into all the experimental and prototype designs that have been tried over the years. Such is the case here with this set of 1914 Prussian, electric demonstrator train equipment by Falk Schulz (a.k.a. bricknerd of Flickr).
In 1914, the Prussian State Railroad Administration strived to replace steam traction on the commuter trains of Germany’s rapidly growing capital city, Berlin. One requirement was to re-use the existing stock of standard 3-axle coaches, which lead to a traction concept of electric slugs semi-permantely coupled to control cars (modified coaches with one compartment replaced by a control stand and equipped with pantographs for 15kV AC feeding).
A typical so-called “half-train” (Halbzug in German) would consist of such a slug and its control car, followed by four coaches, and a second control car at the remote end for bi-directional operation. Two of those half-trains could be merged to form a full-train (Vollzug), with a third slug at the trains’s center as optional helper.
In order to provide a full train for testing, three demonstrator units were ordered in 1914: EB1 through EB3, with EB3 delivered one year after his two cousins and designed as a semi-autonomous helper unit carrying its own pantograph. To speed up delivery, the running gears of the slugs were taken one-to-one from EG511-class (later DR E71) locomotives in production at that time.
Testing started in 1914, but the turmoils of World War One, rapid technical progress, and superior competing designs lead to the concept being abandoned by 1920. All three demonstrator units were scrapped, with their running gears re-used as spare parts for E71’s.
bricknerd has done an awesome job replicating this fascinating set of early electric equipment from Berlin. The pantographs make great use of the Bar Holder with Clip piece to replicate the look and operation of the prototype. The windows on the control cars are also nicely done using alternating 1x2x3 Windows with stacked, clear, 1×1 bricks and plates to achieve a close spacing and thin frame.
You can find photos of the original prototypes and more information on them here.
And take some time to visit the rest of brick nerd’s Flickr gallery. He has an excellent portfolio of past LEGO train models.