2012: THE BERLINER

Very few trains operate in a climate so tense that a single mistake could trigger nuclear Armageddon. Hence no trains from North to South Korea since 2008 thankfully.  But that is what the Royal Corps of Transport did – daily – from the end of the Berlin Blockade to the reunification of Germany. Four decades of walking on railway egg shells and never once did they slip up.  We thought that extraordinary level of professionalism, attention to detail, and not a little British Army sang froid with the Soviet border guards, was worth celebrating, 21 years after it finished running. And we put right a little bit of unfinished business.

In 1991 RCT proposed steam hauling the very last train – to celebrate the reasons above.  But the Garrison Accountant killed that plan, so we put the “Roaring Monster” – pacific locomotive 03 1010 on the train – there was eventually steam on the Berliner despite the accountant, we just had to be patient.

Click the links to see some fantastic reports on The Berliner by ForcesTVand the BBC (flash player needed).

Fotos by different sources


Commendations

Below are the commendations we received after the Berliner British Military train Tribute. It may look suspiciously like we made them all up, so the originals are retained in our office for inspection, and in the interests of editorial balance there was one complaint, which we did not keep on file, but 1 in 700 passengers is exceptionally good for any business and unprecedented in the railways!

Neil,
Just a very quick note to thank you for the Berliner trip. It brought back many memories after a gap of 31 years.
There were lots of good stories from people who had travelled on the train at various times during its long life.
I was very honoured to be a part of it.
thanks
regards
IC


Dear Neil,
I would like to thanks you very much for the possibility to join THE BERLINER yesterday. lt was not
only a great event for a friend of old trains but as well interesting to speak with British people who
were working in Berlin in the 60th and 70th. Due to a date with the family I had to go home with a
regular train soon after our arrival in Hanover, therefore I did not find the chance to say “bye-bye”
personally. Sorry for this!
I wish you some relaxing days after several month of planning and managing! As far as your ideas for
the 2013 programme become more clear do not hesitate to contact us again! I will try to support
you as far as possible!
Best regards
JR


Dear Neil,
Please accept my sincere congratulations for organising such a marvellous day
yesterday. I hope you and your wife feel that all the frustrations and tensions which I
know you experienced ahead of the weekend will have been more than
compensated by the great sense of enjoyment your customers demonstrated on the train.

Kind regards,
S and V T


Hi Neil
Just a great big thank you from Helen and myself for the invite to join the BMT last Sunday
We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves it was great to see some old friends from 79 and chat to the
‘movers’ that were still serving at 24 Regt.
Helen captured quite a nostalgic picture at Braunschweig of myself and the Other ‘DB’ driver
from 79, Steve Ainsworth. The last time we were on that platform together was 1988.
I hope the RBL made a grand figure for their branch, all for such a good cause.
Many thanks again.

J & H


Dear Neil,
I would like to express my thanks for the Berliner weekend. The train on both days was
fantastic, and I enjoyed the opening events equally on Friday. It was delightful to share the
company of so many great people, and to meet up with several whom I knew of old. I think the
whole event was successful and carried off in good style. One of the aspects that I
particularly liked was the mix of people – Brits, Germans, rail enthusiasts, military reunions,
historians, media – quite refreshing.
Very best wishes,

Colonel S C MBE TD


Dear Neil,
I am sure this will be buried in a mountain of e-mails and that you will get to kit eventually. I do hope
you have had a bit of a rest by now?
This e-mail is simply to say a really big thank you for allowing me to be part of your venture and I
really did enjoy myself. I am sure when the dust settles you will feel that it was a success despite the
various little “issues” along the way.
I do hope we can keep in touch and meet up again soon.
With thanks again and very best wishes to your good Lady,

BR


Dear Neil,
May I first of all express to you my heartfelt congratulations on your wonderful project
in resurrecting the Berliner for this past amazing week end in Berlin. You have pulled
off something close to a miracle and although I can only imagine that the
complexities of this remarkable project must have been downright scary at times,
Goodness you have given a lot of people a huge amount of pleasure and provided
really important historical reminder into the bargain. I was sorry not to have had an
opportunity to thank you in person but you were, to say the least, a busy man! I do
hope that things will have calmed down for you a bit by now and that you can reflect
on a great achievement. My Wife, Susie and I felt very privileged to be included in
this historic event. Thank you so very much for making it possible.
With all good wishes.
Yours ever,

Maj-Gen Sir RC



Hallo Neil,
I hope that you are enjoying the rest you so well deserve! What a feat!
THANK YOU most sincerely, for the superb day we had on the train yesterday. We
appreciate the enormous effort needed to put the two trips together, and we don’t
underestimate the complexities involved in organising such a massive Operation, and how
you must have had to deal with many unexpected problems too! The thought you put in to
the really interesting booklet, the provision of leaflets just when necessary, and the fact that
you chose such amiable travelling companions made it, for us, even more special. We much
appreciated meeting Herman Pfauter, whose father had been taken out of the city because
of his valuable engineering skills. We talked nineteen to the doz., and discovered that as
Herman was travelling away from Berlin, aged 12, we were actually travelling towards it,
that same winter of ’47-8. Had we been able to predict the future, we could have waved,
and called out ‘see you in 64 years!’!!! But seriously, it was a very special event, and people
bonded so readily that it was clear that the sense of shared experience was all that was
needed for people to enjoy themselves.
Thanks for providing us with the opportunity to join in with everyone else and share the fun
: it was a fabulous and historic occasion. I hope Train of Events has an immensely successful
future : you and your team richly deserve it.
With best wishes,

JS


Well done folks great trip appreciated by all
Cheers SN

Thanks for everything, Neil – had a marvellous time, and the procession down into Helmstedt was
quite amazing, immensely friendly locals waving Union Flags. (Managed to find a bar just around the
corner, and that lubricated things!) I also bumped into somebody I hadn’t seen since I retired 5 years
ago, so that was an added extra.
I’m sure you must have had all sorts of logistical nightmares, but it was a great success.
Regards,
DW
Cheltenham


Good Evening Mr Howard,
Just to let you know I thoroughly enjoyed Saturdays special, am glad I came& travelled on
The Berliner.
Although at the moment am unable to say whether or not I can make next years Cold War
Express, but please can you include me on your monthly bulletins for the trip as they come
up.
Many Thanks
C W


Dear Neil
First to say a very big thank you for all the work you did to pull together such a wonderful
and memorable trip last Saturday. It was good to meet you briefly, and I am sorry we did not
have longer to chat.

Please will you ensure my personal thanks are passed on to those who did the work. I am sure
there are many, but those who come to mind are the locomotive crew, both footplate and
depot, and the catering staff.

Dear Neil
Just a word of thanks for all your hard work and attention to detail that made last week-end
such a memorable occasion. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, meeting old friends and
making new ones.
Congratulations and well done indeed.
Kindest regards

R and J G.


Neil,
just a quick few words to say thanks for one of the most enjoyable weekends I have had for a
very long time. We were on the train on the 13th and it was a fantastic experience, meeting
old friends a making a couple of new ones and of course travelling behind 03 1010,one of the
highlights were the instructions over the train public address systems which were looked
forward to with eager anticipation.
As an ex Military Railwayman I know John Poyntz quite well and I suggested that we should
challenge you to organise a 40th year tribute with the added bonus of a non stop run from St
Pancras to Berlin using a chartered DB ICE which by then should be running to London,
inviting both city mayors should help to smooth the way!
Anyway once again thanks again for the opportunity to participate in such an enjoyable and
historic event.

With warm regards,
Richard Faulkner

Lord Faulkner of Worcester


Hi Neil,
Just a quick mail, one of the many I guess, to say thank you for all you did in making the Berlin Trip most enjoyable. It was a mammoth task, it took some sorting but you did it and wll done.
We are interested in the Budapest Trip so fi you would be so kind as to let me know any detail when you get it I would be most grateful.
Tanks once again.
Best wishes
B N


Dear Neil
Just wanted to say thank you for organizing the events over the last weekend, which we enjoyed very much! You must be exhausted after pulling everything together. Anything involving humans is always hard work anyway…!!
Not sure whether enough people responded with their consent to DP enabling you to draw up a list of attendees. If there is a list of sorts, are you able to e-mail through a list of those who travelled on both Sat and Sun?
Everyone seemed to be having a wonderful time. So, well done you for coming up with the idea in the first place, and many thanks again for making it happen.
Kind regards –
CH


Dear Neil,
Having just returned from Berlin, I must thank you for a fantastic day on Saturday. It was obvious a lot of hard work had gone into the organization of The Berliner.
Please pass on my thanks to everyone especially the catering staff who were worked off their feet. A special mention to Ben who kept smiling even though he ws being hassled from all sides.
I do hope the Sunday trip was as successful as Saturday’s.
Many thanks again,
J & J McS