Neckties are not normally symbols of change – but these two examples are indeed exceptions. At first glance they may look identical but closer inspection reveals a significant difference. The tie on the right has the Deutsche Bahn AG logo, the so-called “DB Keks” (cookie), which identifies it as part of the service uniform of the DB train personnel. The tie on the left is very similar in terms of the colour and fabric but carries the inscription “DR” in its middle, which stands for the GDR’s Deutsche Reichsbahn. Both ties stem from the early 1990s, which was the period right after German reunification.
Not only were both German States reunited at that time, but their railway companies as well. That was not an easy task, as the railways in the East and West had developed separately for more than forty years. Details like these neckties show that the consolidation did not take place from one day to the next, but was instead a gradual process. Following political reunification, the German Reichsbahn (DR) initially continued to run parallel to the German Federal Railroad in western Germany. In 1991, the DR even introduced new service uniforms that looked very similar to those of their West German counterparts.
On January 1, 1994, the Deutsche Reichsbahn and the West German Deutsche Bundesbahn were merged to form Deutsche Bahn AG. It is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.