Passenger car (rail)

Passenger cars are rail vehicles that can be used by people in rail transport - unlike wagons.


Among the cars include:

  • Coaches
  • Other cars

From passenger cars one speaks only of railways. With trams, the term sidecar is used in Germany, Switzerland trailer or trailer. Even non-driven cars of railcars by rail shall be referred to as a sidecar. Likewise, the term sidecar was formerly common in many secondary and local railways and narrow gauge railways.


A coach is a for transportation of persons in travel provided railroad cars. Therefore a rule, it is the general public transport serving vehicles. Exceptionally not find coaches generally train service use, such as government-owned or private saloon car.

Regarding the interior, and thus its function, there are different types of coaches:

  • Compartment cars have compartments with sitting, reclining or sleeping places.
  • Großraumwagen, in contrast to one or a few passenger spaces for a larger number of passengers, with the passenger compartment can also extend over the whole car. In Europe, they usually only as seat car, in the field of railways of the former Commonwealth of Independent States, China and other countries as a couchette.

In addition, there are:

  • Sleeper
  • Parlor car
  • Company car
  • Dining car

The cars are designated by letters according to the standard of the International Association of Railroads; whose composition is described in UIC car number. The equipment of the car depends in detail in general after the car class. The higher the class, the more space is given to the individual passenger, the more comfort as possible and the more expensive the ticket. New comfort is usually introduced first in the highest class and is then later also in the or the lower class ( n). This is true for example for lighting, heating, toilets, air conditioning and also the number of seats in a compartment or arrangement thereof. In addition there are wagons or areas with special functions to transport luggage or bicycles.

Examples of known coaches:

  • Corail cars of the SNCF
  • Einheitswagen of Swiss railways
  • Eurofima wagon
  • Lightweight steel cars of the Swiss Railways
  • Panorama car of some Swiss narrow gauge railways
  • Metropolitan
  • MOD car of the DR
  • Rheingold cars of the DB
  • Reko car of the DR
  • Schlieren cars of the ÖBB
  • Pieces of silver (n- trolleys) DB
  • D- train - car (m- carriage) of the DB and FS
  • UIC -Y - wagon of the DR
  • S- Bahn carriage (x - carriage) of the DB
  • Halberstadt and Bautzen car of the DR

Other cars

Other cars do not serve the general travel, but either train operating purposes or nevertheless (also) carried in passenger trains:

  • Baggage car
  • Railway mail carriage
  • Car passenger coaches
  • Optional car. These are cars that can be used as passenger or freight cars. They were widespread until after the Second World War for small and secondary paths.
  • Bauwohnwagen are the property of the construction workers. In general, there are former coaches that were discarded because of advanced age and lack of comfort of the passenger service and converted for the purpose as a caravan.
  • Company cars are built to the RIC rules (usually measuring carriage ).

The railways in Germany 1999 15.300 cars were available.

Historical Development

Passenger cars were manufactured in the early days of the web with two or three axles. The subframe is made ​​by carpenters wooden beams, some with iron reinforcements ago. For suspension you use leaf springs. The structures consisted of a wooden frame that was boarded up and externally with additional sheets. They resembled in Europe in structure and appearance to the contemporary Kutschbau, depending on the car size were multiple, unconnected, coach -like compartments with access only via exterior doors lined up ( compartment cars of the so-called English system ). In contrast to locomotive production was mostly recognized by coach building companies. The first car to carry passengers were between six and eight meters long; the car sizes increased but rapidly ( Württemberg through cars in 1845 already 14.2 m long). Not all car possessed a brake. Was such a built-in, it was a hand with a spindle out of the car or from the car roof and operated with poplar or basswood finished acting on the wheel tread block brake. Heaters, toilets and lighting were not immediately available.

But Steadily increasing travel speeds soon showed the limits of the traditional Kutschwagenbau largely taken over construction principles. Despite iron reinforcements the wooden frames were the train and shock loads in railway operation at higher speeds grown not permanent. The connections loosened and the frame warped. One therefore went from 1859 to completely customize the frame bolted or riveted steel profiles. The bodies were but, especially in their bearing skeleton, still mostly made ​​of wood. In case of accidents were particularly among the numerous openings ( doors ) provided the Prussian and Saxon compartment car, the weaknesses of this type also. The little -duty body construction gave the example auftredenden in an overturning forces did not stand, but shattered into its component parts, without offering the passengers any measures of protection. In the deceleration of the car, it remained for some time at the of a traveling brakeman on the engineer's whistle out of hand -operated spindle brake, although gradually the use of steel or cast iron brake shoes prevailed in place of the wooden blocks. In order not to have to use a brakeman for each car, only part of the car was also slowed in passenger trains. Even in 1885 it was dependent on the slope allowed, that only every second to eighth wheel of a passenger train was slowed.

In contrast to the European Personenwagenbau the early days was used, not least in view of the large travel distances in North America from the beginning instead of stringing completed, accessible by external doors individual compartments in the compartment car, the then so-called inter-communication car, a forerunner of today's wide-body car. This could be entered through platforms at the ends of the coach, also a transition between the car during the ride was possible over the platforms. Located in the historic American car the seats were arranged in a modern wide-body cars either side of a central aisle, so that the passengers get up during the trip and were able to get movement. The disadvantage was referred to this wagon type by contemporaries such as Mark Twain or Edmund Heusinger von Waldegg the resulting down the aisle and the greater number of persons in the same room unrest. The American car type but allowed to set up a stove in the car and as a when to allow also non-uniform and non -hazardous because of the open fire, car heater. In the compartment car, however, you could only comparatively insufficient with heat- bottle-like metal containers with hot water or baskets of glowing coals, which are presented from the outside in compartments under the seats, manage before taking place from about 1870 introduction of the steam heating means generated by the locomotive steam.

The use of such cars in passenger trains is referred to in Europe as the so-called American system. Car of the American system is used for example in Württemberg or in Switzerland.

To go A combination of the advantages of both car systems, ie the greater tranquility in the car through closed compartments and the possibility of the cart back and forth or to change the car, Heusinger succeeded by Waldegg with his 1870 "Organ of the progress of the railways " presented " new coupe car system with Intercommunication ". In this, the compartments were connected as in the modern passage cars with compartments on one side of the car by a lateral gait with each other transitions in the middle of the car ends allowed at the same time a change of the car while driving to achieve approximately a dining car.

Toilets in coach came only from 1860 hesitantly for installation. This was due, among other things, that as a result of the lack of continuity in the way of his time Abteilwagen only during standstill of the train station in the bathroom could have been achieved.

As the vehicles were longer, came for the sake of Kurvenläufigkeit ( or side shiftable radially adjustable Einzelradsätze were still unknown) bogies used.

Today, coaches are usually built only four axes with bogies. In order for limited stroke length to accommodate more seating just put a double-deck cars.