German Railway History:

I considered that it would be helpful to give a few pre-railways dates to help set the scene in the early Eighteen hundreds.
Germany consisted of more than two hundred separate states, with little co-operation or trade between them.
The three main powerful states, Austria, Bavaria and Prussia were often at war with each other, and Prussia in particular was endevouring to gain the support of minor states so it could survive against the might of Austria.

Pre-railways dates:

1815. Loose federation of 39 German states agreed.
1814-30. North German Customs Union formed. (Prussian based)
1828. Bavarian-Wuerttemberg Customs Union formed.
1828. Central German Customs Union formed by non-aligned States.
1834. Single Customs Union formed.
1837. Official Exchange rates agreed.
1850. Beginning of German industrial revolution.
18/01/1871. German Reich formed. Common currency adopted.
Free trade continued until 1879.

Epoche 0. 1835 -1874.

07/12/1835. Ludwigsbahn. Nuernberg-Fuerth Eisenbahn.
11/07/1836. First German railway freight. 2 barrels of beer.
24/04/1837. "Leipzig-Dresdener Eisenbahn" opened. First main-line rr.
1838. Prussian law gave a 30 year concession to railway builders.
Bavaria & Saxony offered funding assistance to Private enterprise.
Wuerttemberg & Baden made railways a state enterprise.
1840. Baden adopted 1.6m gauge.
1848. "Nord Deutsche Verband". Agreement re wagon return.
1850. Prussian Postal Union for all states except the separate
but co-operative Bavarian/Wuerttemberg Postal service.
1851. First steel tyres by Krupp. (By 1870, most locos fitted.)
1855. Baden conversion to 1435mm gauge.
1870. Franco-Prussian war reparations stimulate railway growth.
Alsass Lorraine "Reichsbahn" formed.
1871. Standardised signalling agreed except for Bavaria.

Epoche I. 1875 -1920.

1879. 1st practical electric railway built by Werner von Siemens
for the Berlin Trades Exhibition 31/5/1879 to 30/9/1879.
1881. Wagon standards agreement, Prussia, Hessens, Mecklenburg,
Oldenburg, Elsass-Lothringen.
12/05/1881. First public electric railway Lichterfelde.
1893. Agreement to standardise German railway time!
01/04/1909. Deutsche Staatsbahnwagenverband agreement.
28/07/1914. WWI. Austria declares war on Serbia. (assassination 28/6/1914.)
1916. MITROPA formed.
1918. End of the Great War.

Epoche II. 1920 - 1949.

01/04/1920. The "Deutsche Reichsbahn" was formed from 11 provincial railways.
Two administrative regions were set up, Prussia and Bavaria.
1923. USA "Dawes plan" made the Reichsbahn a "reparations object" and a Private Company,
valued at 26 Billion Gold Marks. 66 Billion Gold Marks was to be paid in equal installments
over the following 38 years.
1923. Standard Locomotive numbering scheme adopted.
30/08/1924. Act of Parliament to create a state owned enterprise.
11/10/1924. Act implemented. This made the
"Deutsche Reichsbahn-gesellschaft" independent of Govt.
1925. "Deutsche Reichspost" formed.
1925. Revised locomotive numbering scheme adopted.
13/03/1930. Railroad Act amended.
01/01/1933. Adolf Hitler elected.
1933. Bavarian Railways finally completely absorbed into D.R.G.
30/01/1937. Deutsche Reichsbahn. Act of Parliamt.returns State control.
10/02/1937. Deutsche Reichsbahn. (DR). becomes Government Department.
1938. Austria and Sudetenland absorbed.
1939. Poland. Czechoslovakia etc absorbed.
1939. Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemberg and most of France absorbed
Areas occupied but in War zone, were under Wehrmacht control.
_ 3 Tier control. (Home, Associated, Military.)
1942. Italy comes under German Military control.
1942. DR controls over 200,000 route km. (not including Wehrmacht
controlled territories, Russia etc.)
1945. Fall of Germany. Control by: Russia, USA, France & England.
Railway divided into 4 sectors.
- French and British sectors combined.

Epoche III. 1949 - 1967.

1949. Hand over of US and British/French control to civilian operation.
13/12/1951. "Deutsche Bundesbahn" formed by Act of Parliament.

Epoche IV. 1968 - (1985)

01/01/1968. Computer numbering instituted.
1977. Last steam operation.
1985. 150 years celebrations.

Epoche V. (1985)- 1993.

New colour-schemes instituted.
--/--/1990. German reunification.
01/01/1992. "DR" renumbering to "DB" system.

Epoche VI. 1994 on.

01/01/1994. "DBAG" formed.

I'm quite happy to receive further entries, more accurate information, or corrections to the above list.E-mail.