Content translated by a friend of a friend from the original published by our friends at Märklin

Era I
(1835 -1925)
Provincial and privately owned railroads with in some cases extensive route networks came into being in the beginning phase of railroading. Era I is characterized by a multitude of car and locomotive types, colors and lettering.
Era II
(1925 -1945)
The large national state railroads were established in Europe. In Germany the provincial and privately owned railroads were merged in 1920 into the German State Railroad Company (DRG). Standard designs cut down on the multiplicity of car and locomotive types.
(1945 -1970)
The 1950s and 1960s were characterized by rebuilding and economic growth. The young German Federal Railroad (DB) grew quickly; steam locomotives had to make way for more powerful and more efficient diesel and electric locomotives. The German State Railroad (DR) in the German Democratic Republic of that period developed parallel to the DB.
Era IV
(1970 - 1990)
The beginning of this era was marked by the European wide standardized computer UIC lettering system for all cars and locomotives. This process took place over several years, so that you could still see cars with the old and new lettering next to one another.
Era V
(1990 - Present)
New color schemes signaled the "new era" of modern railroading; at the same time almost all of Europe began to think in terms of basically new railroad structures that are being realized today. After the unification of Germany the German State Railroad (DR) and the German Federal Railroad (DB) were merged in steps into the German Railroad, Inc. The new logo for the German Railroad, Inc. has been in use since 1994. This era has also been marked by the juxtaposition of different color and logo variations.

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