[locomotive] Die Güterbahnen: Noisy protest against cuts to rail freight transport


Berlin, make some noise! This time not in one of its iconic clubs, but on the rails of the ‘Stadtbahn’ weaving through the heart of Berlin. On 17.01.2024, the German association of rail freight operators ‘Die Güterbahnen’ (again) organized a protest train of 14 locomotives blowing their horns through Berlin.

Due to all-around budget cuts by the German government, the funding for rail freight transport in 2024 has also not been spared. To make matters worse, funding for desperately needed infrastructure has also been cut when the network is already at maximum capacity. Die Güterbahnen claims this will result in job losses and a shift from rail to more polluting lorries. They have filed the following demands:  

  • No cuts to the promised funding for infrastructure expansion, compensation for the disadvantages of lorries and the introduction of innovative technologies
  • No track price increases without quality improvements
  • A coherent political concept for increasing the market share of rail in freight transport to 25 per cent and consistent implementation
The consist at the iconic photo spot near Berlin-Jannowitzbrücke on 17.01.2024 © Bastian Vogelvanger

To voice their complaints to the German government (which sits quite close to Berlin’s Stadtbahn), a train consisting of various locomotives from member operators of ‘Die Güterbahnen’, drove through the heart of Berlin on 17.01.2024. Not only did this rare consist attract those interested in railways, but it also turned heads with the general public, with loud horns echoing through the streets. 

Does this all sound familiar to you? That’s because it is! Die Güterbahnen organized a similar protest in 2020, pleading for more funding during Covid-19. That time, a unique ‘Hör das signal Berlin’ locomotive was wrapped for the occasion, with a livery designed by Railcolordesign. 

About the consist

The 2024 train consisted of the following locomotives: 

The consist lead by Press > 185 063 at Berlin-Jannowitzbrücke on 17.01.2024 © Bastian Vogelvanger
The latter half of the consist, Berlin-Jannowitzbrücke on 17.01.2024 © Bastian Vogelvanger
Akiem > Metrans 187 013 with Güterbahnen stickers (recently transferred from Captrain © Bastian Vogelvanger
A handsome closing locomotive: Metrans 186 534 at Berlin-Friedrichstrasse © Bastian Vogelvanger