Volunteers work to save vintage train simulator in berlin grade 9 static electricity test

Completed in communist East Germany in 1968, the one-of-a-kind train simulator had its last major overhaul nearly 30 years ago when it was outfitted with then-state of the art equipment — its 16mm film screen replaced with LaserDisc technology and a Commodore Amiga 3000 computer installed to run the system.

Not surprisingly, those systems today are breaking down more and more frequently, and volunteers who have kept the unit running in a museum in an industrial building on the eastern outskirts of the German capital are now trying to raise the funds to save it.

“It has quite a historical importance,” said Lutz Tannigel, the last teacher to use the simulator to test train drivers. “It was the first simulator that the Deutsche Reichsbahn (East German national railway) had. And we still have it and it still works, so it is absolutely imperative to maintain it for the future.”

In 1988, it was moved to Berlin and refitted to match the city’s local “S-Bahn” commuter train service. The simulator was kept in service after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the following reunification of Germany, and it got its upgraded LaserDisc video system and Commodore computer over the next two years.

A few hundred guests visit by appointment each year, and are allowed to test their skills driving the train through the Berlin of three decades ago, watching out for signals, stopping at stations, opening and closing the doors and informing their imaginary passengers of upcoming stations and possible delays.

He’s been trying to raise 10,000 euros ($12,000) to add a new computer with modern software and to digitalize the historic videos for future playback. In addition to an advertising campaign to try and get more visitors to the museum, a crowdfunding page has also been started but it’s far away from the goal with only about 300 euros ($355) pledged so far.

Completed in communist East Germany in 1968, the one-of-a-kind train simulator had its last major overhaul nearly 30 years ago when it was outfitted with then-state of the art equipment — its 16mm film screen replaced with LaserDisc technology and a Commodore Amiga 3000 computer installed to run the system.

Not surprisingly, those systems today are breaking down more and more frequently, and volunteers who have kept the unit running in a museum in an industrial building on the eastern outskirts of the German capital are now trying to raise the funds to save it.

“It has quite a historical importance,” said Lutz Tannigel, the last teacher to use the simulator to test train drivers. “It was the first simulator that the Deutsche Reichsbahn (East German national railway) had. And we still have it and it still works, so it is absolutely imperative to maintain it for the future.”

In 1988, it was moved to Berlin and refitted to match the city’s local “S-Bahn” commuter train service. The simulator was kept in service after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the following reunification of Germany, and it got its upgraded LaserDisc video system and Commodore computer over the next two years.

A few hundred guests visit by appointment each year, and are allowed to test their skills driving the train through the Berlin of three decades ago, watching out for signals, stopping at stations, opening and closing the doors and informing their imaginary passengers of upcoming stations and possible delays.

He’s been trying to raise 10,000 euros ($12,000) to add a new computer with modern software and to digitalize the historic videos for future playback. In addition to an advertising campaign to try and get more visitors to the museum, a crowdfunding page has also been started but it’s far away from the goal with only about 300 euros ($355) pledged so far.