Saxon Convertible (DR Open Air Observation Car)
The Saxon Oberlausitz Railroad Company has two observation cars on its roster as so-called "Saxon Convertibles" that were developed out of updated provincial railroad cars and that have an interesting past:
In 1912/13, the Royal Saxon State Railways purchased 54 type 720 narrow gauge cars, 3rd class. Another series of 52 similar cars were placed into service in 1922. The frame for these cars consisted of riveted steel shapes. Due to the large truck king pin spacing of 8,100 mm / 318-7/8" this frame had to be reinforced at the side sills by a straight truss rod. Two two-axle sprung trucks supported the frame. Since the side sills only reached to the end of the car body, the open-end platforms at the car ends had to have diagonally mounted auxiliary side sills installed. They were sheathed with sheet metal halfway up and had extended step boards as entries. Wooden half-timbered construction was used for the car bodies in which the walls, floor, and the high-vaulted ceiling were lined on both sides with wood. A sliding door at both ends of the car enabled entry to the car interior. In 1958, the cars were given the type designation 970 with a corresponding consecutive number as part of the numbering plan introduced by the GDR's German State Railroad Company (DR) in 1950.
From the mid-Seventies on the DR had its narrow gauge passenger cars updated. The essential plan was to replace the wood body frame with as standardized a steel design as possible. Just the car roof had to be kept due to different car widths. The new side walls were made of fabricated sheet steel that were welded together as well as to the underframe.
In the new millennium, the SOEG converted two of these cars to observation cars: The roof and the upper part of the car body were removed so that only about 100 cm / 39" of the car bodies still remained. An approximately 20 cm / 8" grille construction was placed on this to keep passengers from leaning out too far. Inside the car, there are wooden lattice benches / seats with backs and a seating distribution of 2+1 seats for around 40 passengers. Since being put into operation these "Saxon Convertibles" (car numbers 970-257 and -375) are included in the SOEG trains in good weather and thus delight the "open air fanatics" on the train.