© C.Tippe
Dear friends of railway
Since 1983 I have been collecting these birth certificates of all possible railway vehicles. I invested heaps of time, money, patience and sometimes nerves therefore. I thought that there must be other loonies out there who collect the same things. Moreover I thought in the beginning that by reaching the “magic 100 plaques” I must have collected everything that has ever been build! My first three signboards were presents I got from my neighbour. Those were: Dessau 1916, Linke-Hofmann Lauchhammer 1923 (a small and very rare construction) and LHW Breslau 1928. My mind broadened and so did the circle of friends in the AW Offenburg that time. They drove around with their 323er Köf in the Awst and drove locomotive carts for construction into and out of the factory each day. During a chat with those workers it figured out that many of those construction locomotive carts had partially still been operated with very old frames and that their original plaques had still been used. Exactly those original plaques have been given to me almost weekly as “free home deliveries”.
Small advertisements in railway magazines helped a lot with collecting and this is how I met more friends of railway. Many of these friendships last longer than 20 years now and are spread all over Germany. The ending of the German Democratic Republic and the reunion of Germany resulted in a growth of my collection, too. Other locomotive signboard gatherers might have experienced the same. Since we can use the Internet everything has gotten faster. Writing letters is almost overtaken by writing e-mails and this is how one gets to know people around the world. Since not everybody is able to write English things can get quite exhausting some times. But this was the same issue with letters from Poland or the Czech Republic, too. Somehow people communicate and reach an agreement or don´t. The online auction platform e-bay is a good place to get new plaques as well. Many other fancy men meet here to sell and buy. Hence it can happen that one gets overbid when offering 1000 Euro for a railway car signboard, not for a locomotive signboard of course.
When undertaking trips to railway junk yards in Europe, one was never the customer with money in his purse who was welcomed friendly but was camouflaged as a railway worker who could understand the national language. This is how one got to know a country and its people and was never in trouble with the construction railway car inhabitants or their lead workers. Nobody was ever officially declared when entering the railway area and consequently just mingled not knowing where one got to in the evening and how the journey would continue tomorrow. One just took a look on the map and drove to every station.
Sometimes one met local gatherers who were willing to sell plaques.
     One have had free choice there    - a wall sozzled with plaques. -
After that one took a tea and moved on. In 9 out of 10 railway cars one got what one was looking for – to give a little obulus in the “thank-you box” rarely missed its mark.
After 10 days railway holiday abroad one could hardly carry all the collected plaques himself.
Those were the days!
After a visit on one or the other junk yard,one had to
to decide which plaques to leave and which ones to take away.
There were way too many of them and one had free choice
Those were the days! After a visit on one or the other junk yard, one had to decide which plaques to leave and which ones to take away. There were way too many of them and one had free choice – one railway car was lying upon another. It was a land of milk and honey for people that fancy old iron. For most of these items this was the way to escape the furnace and to be owned by gatherers today. Unfortunately only few pictures have been taken as people always feared to get in trouble. Awesome places with railway flair that have irrecoverably been changed and that have never been mugged are fading away slowly. Now I made the effort to show all of this stuff here in the Internet, on the one hand to show what manufactories and models
there are and on the other hand to sandwich every picture I will receive between these manufactories and
models.Everybody who owns plaques which are not yet shown here shall be invited to send them to me.
I would be happy to publish them. Every gatherer shall be able to look up those plaques which his
collection is still lacking. For sure this catalogue will never be perfect because from time to time plaques
still appear which were unknown by then. Moreover manufactories exist and nobody has these plaques
in his collection to date. There were around 170 railway car manufactories in Germany between 1835 and
today. Hence there are many plaques missing. This is why actions around my collection calm down
these days. There are many things which I already have and few things I still need.
Locomotive railway plaques, except the frame plaques, are surely, bigger, partially beautifully
compounded, more seldom and expensive. I always had a lot of fun to deal with “railway car plaques”
as well and there are also nice, seldom and expensive ones existing of these types.

Under the heading “exchange” you can find plaques which I can give away
and under “search” I am happy to receive your offers to enlarge my collection.

Please enjoy watching!
Claudius Tippe