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03/2024 by Klaus Kosack

New apron mail van from Fleischmann

Factory photo of the postal car

As a trade fair novelty in 2024, Fleischmann presented a postal car in Epoch III in N, which was also delivered in December 2023. It is an apron mail van from the Roco heritage.

Model of the car

In the mid-1930s, the Reichspost did not want to lag behind the new developments in DRG passenger cars. The last new DRP buildings from the 1920s all still had skylight windows and were very reminiscent of the compartment cars from Prussian times. In the meantime, welding technology had become more advanced, meaning that riveted wagons or wagons with wooden bodies no longer had to be built. So the architecture and interior design of the 35 passenger cars were taken into account and a mail car was designed that would fit in these new trains. What was new on the '39 postal cars was that the entrance doors at the ends of the car were no longer retracted, but were aligned with the car wall. The Görlitz III bogie was installed on the new cars. This car was built in two versions:  As a postal car with a side aisle and bellows (Post 4ü) and without (Post 4e).

The DRB (as it was now called) passenger coaches purchased from 1938 were approved for 150 km/h; The DRP wanted to follow suit here too and have corresponding cars built. Here, too, the architecture of the passenger carriages was based on and the carriages, which looked similar inside to the carriages delivered in 1936/37, were also given an apron. In the roof, these cars had skylight windows that were beloved by the staff and were embedded in the roof vault. The Reichspost ordered around 500 cars in 1939/40; because of the war, only around 150 cars were delivered from 1941 to 1943; the post-war deliveries looked very similar. The cars were approved for 120 km/h.

After the war, the Bundespost and Deutsche Post (GDR) had both types of DRP wagons in their inventory. The DBP retired the 39 model by 1976. The cars lasted in the GDR until 1982.

The postal cars were used in express and express train services and finally also in local transport (if the volume of mail was appropriate). For this purpose, a wagon was usually added to the train, which was placed at the beginning or end of the train together with the baggage wagon. Often the mail cars did not run with the entire train, but were uncoupled along the way, usually when locomotives changed. Furthermore, entire mail trains were driven as needed. In Era III and IV, these consisted of postal cars, with DB baggage cars added as needed and also fast-running boxcars, such as the Glmmhs 57.

A look at the train formation plan A from the summer of 1956 shows the composition of these mail trains, here referred to as the train type “Expr” (train numbers Expr 30xx), which was reserved for faster-running mail trains. In 1956 there were a lot of mail vans in the Expr, as well as a lot of converted MPw4 vans, which were once available from Roco and soon also from Minitrix. There were also normal baggage wagons, as well as boxcars - here probably the Glmhs 50.

Postal carriage routes and trains were published in a postal route book. If only one mail van was provided, this was noted in red on the header column; Postal trains were entered by hand in red in empty columns of the course book. As a rule, the mail trains only stopped at larger train stations and usually ran at night. Because of the exchange of mail (=loading traffic), the trains usually stopped longer than passenger trains. For example, mail trains stopped at Bonn main station for around 10 minutes to unload packages and mail bags and load packages and mail from Bonn. The DB's mail trains could run at speeds of up to 120 km/h. Train locomotives were therefore express train locomotives of the BR 01 or 03, V 200, E 10 and E 41. Uses of the BRn 23, 38.10 or 39 were also conceivable.

To resolve the postal car designations: “a” means all-postal car, in which all types of mail could be processed; “b” on the other hand was letter mail, here only letters were sorted during the journey and in “c” wagons only parcels were processed. The number after the slash is the length of the work space in the mail truck.

Postal car in model and used on the facility

The very first mail van was in N, as is usually the case from Arnold. However, there was a downer: it was a model of the PwPost4ü-28, albeit very shortened. The car saw the light of day in 1964. As early as 1960, Arnold had a new mail van with a sheet metal chassis in its range that was only 10.1 cm long instead of 16.4 cm.

Let's move on to the mail vans from the 1930s.  Here is a picture of the 35 model from Fleischmann.

Post4ü-35 from Fleischmann

Fleischmann has been working with mail vans since 1982. The first to appear was a four-axle postal car Post4 b/17, which was one of the compartment cars. It's a classic Prussian with skylight windows. The Post4e a/21.6 appeared just a year later to match the type 35 express train cars. There have been four versions of this car so far, three of them without bellows and one (it was the first) with bellows.

The postal car to be discussed here originally came from Roco, who in 1980 released a series of apron express train cars in Era IV, including a postal car. The Era IV car remained in the range until 2003; strangely enough, Roco never decided to release the car in Era III. By 2005, 7 variants had appeared, 4 of which were the Reichspost and its successor before 1949.

Postüe-39 apron mail van Ep IV from Roco 1980 (Deutsche Bundespost)
Post4üe-39 Apron postal van Ep IIc from Roco - distributed by Post Philately (Deutsche Reichspost)
Post4ü-39 Apron postal van Ep III from Roco - distributed by Post Philately (Deutsche Bundespost)

In 2013, Fleischmann remembered his Roco heritage and, together with the Schürzen express train cars, also released the mail car in Era II; after a year he disappeared again. Fleischmann had given the car a close coupling.

Let's come to the novelty of 2019, the mail train with item number #814509. It consists of three variants of the above-mentioned cars. Here is an overview of the cars:




LüP (Modell)

Erstmals gebaut


Post4ü-35 a/21,6

4552 Ffm




Post4ü-39 a/21,6

4797 Ffm





100 004 Mü



All three cars have revision dates from 1957/58. So the cars were on the road around 1958. The Wagenlauf displays show another detail: you can decipher Frankfurt-Würzburg-Nuremberg-Munich with some effort. A look at the train formation plan “A” from the summer of 1956 shows that only one train is possible for this, namely the Expr 3002, which ran from Mainz via Würzburg and Nuremberg to Munich. The train was diligently shunted along the way: According to the train formation plan, the train between Würzburg and Nuremberg was composed as follows: Locomotive- 4x Post4-2x Walking- Pw4- Post4- MPw- Gh.   [nbsp ]                 [ nbsp]                                 [nbsp ]            The train locomotive would have to have been an electric locomotive because the entire route was in 1958 electric. So only an E 10.1, E 17, E 18 or E 41 comes into question.
Fleischmann suggests the BR 23 for the mail train. The Mainz depot had locomotives of the BR 23 with mixing preheaters, but I hardly believe that the locomotives came via Frankfurt to Würzburg via the Spessart steep ramp under overhead lines. At most, it could be used as far as Frankfurt main station, because that was the main station and the locomotive had to be changed and that only if one of the electric locomotives failed. So here the model railroader can choose one of the above-mentioned electric locomotives as a train locomotive, which is/was available from Fleischmann, Hobbytrain, Piko or Minitrix.

Post4ü-39 b/21.6 (Fleischmann 2019) - Ep III

It is noticeable that the door in the transition is actually superfluous on the Post4e-35. In the original, the door was closed with a sheet of metal. The crossing probably comes from the Reichspostwagen with folding bellows.

Post4ü-39 novelty 2023 (Fleischmann)

It is also noticeable that the new 2023 model does not have a train running indicator. Was that forgotten? If you compare the '39 mail cars, you'll see that little has been changed to the casing. The Roco designers have obviously done a good job.

The novelty has the REV date of March 23, 1961 and only fits in with a wink to the above-mentioned postal car set. The designation 4-a/21.6 still stands under the post horn. This means that it is an all-purpose mail van.

Another question was what Fleischmann did with the Roco cars: They gave the car a close coupling, which Roco had denied its models in the vast majority of cases. Everything else seems unchanged: movable running boards that are controlled by the bogie. However, this means that the bogie cheeks at the end of the car no longer have a web, so you have to be careful that the wheels stay in the bogies where they belong. The car also comes with a bag with short bellows to better equip the mail car at the end or start of the train.

Here is a picture of the two apron mail vans from below:

Apron mail van from below Roco (above) Fleischmann (below)

You can see that only the company logo was replaced on the bottom of the car and at the end the cutout for the KK drawbar was installed and a close coupling link was installed.


Train with E 94, apron and mail car on the club complex

A single mail van was delivered here, which was the original around 1961. In fact, the car turns out to be a lettering variant of the 2019 mail car from the train set mentioned above. This means that five postal cars of the 39 series have now appeared in all eras from IIc onwards, including two from postal philately. The car fits perfectly with the apron car set #6260004 with four cars. The asking price of €42 is still acceptable. [next]


Klaus Kosack



Train formation plan “A” from the summer of 1956, published by DB
Deppmeyer/Kirsch/Wagner, Small Type of German Railway Mail Car, Stuttgart 2003
H. Miosga, 130 years of rail mail in Germany, in: Archive for German Postal History, Issue 1/ 1980
K.Kosack, comments on the new express train from Fleischmann - DM-Toys, 11/2023

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Fleischmann_6260005: Freight car Apron postal car DB Ep.III

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