Hailing from the 1950s, few Berliners may be old enough to remember when these trains were first in commission before the Berlin Wall was erected. The decision to revive the old carriages came about to the surprise of many, but with the intention of exploring the city’s lesser known past. Clad in green leather upholstery and the same bright yellow exteriors as the contemporary ones Berliners are used to, these retro trains are affectionately referred to as ‘Doras’.
Interestingly enough, there is one other group of people besides Berlin’s old timers who would certainly recognize the trains. That is, the citizens of North Korea residing in Pyongyang. That’s because Berlin sold more than 100 models to the authoritarian state back in the 1990s.
While all of this is rather nostalgic – save perhaps for the bit about North Korea – Berliners are exactly the sentimental types. That’s why it won’t come as a surprise to learn that there is also a more pragmatic reason for reviving these oldies. Expect to find these trains on Line U55, which only has three stops, including Hauptbahnhof, the Bundestag, and Brandenburger Tor.
Needless to say, this line is primarily used for shuttling tourists, which makes it a perfect fit for the old trains. It is expected that here, the Doras will garner even more popularity and attraction for those visiting the city. In fact, CityLab called the trains ‘a mobile 1950s theme park’. The city has even decided to leave a few original details inside the trains, including a warning that riding without a ticket will result in a fine of 60 Deutsche Marks.
Furthermore, it means big savings for the city. Berlin is quite short on locomotives, and renovating the Doras would be cheaper than purchasing brand new engines. What’s more is that aside from the money, the nostalgia and the tourist draws, the trains represent something else. They were decommissioned when the Berlin Wall was erected, and their reinstatement has happened well after the city unified and reinvented itself. If only the Berliners of the 1950s could know about this happy ending.