The extensive collection goes back to the early 1960s, when responsible employees of Deutsche Reichsbahn and Verkehrsmuseum Dresden considered its establishment. Due to limited space, only eight original vehicles can be exhibited in the Johanneum. The remaining vehicles are kept at the museum depot or are on loan to other institutions. The railway vehicle collection includes locomotives of all types of traction.
Among the steam locomotives are types of the Saxon, Prussian and Baden railway administrations as well as standard design locomotives such as the Osten 1135, of Prussian class pr. S 10.1, DR Number 17 1055; class 19 017 [sä. XX HV]; class 58 261 [bad. G ]; or class 24 004.
Examples of notable diesel locomotives include the following: class V 15 1001, class 240 001, class 120 338-9 and class 130 002-9 as well as a catenary inspection railbus (“Oberleitungsrevisionstriebwagen”).
The collection also includes historical Saxon and Prussian passenger and freight cars as well as new railway vehicles dating from the period between 1960 and 1985. These exhibits, however, are presented to the public in a larger scale only at vehicle exhibitions, for example, at the Dresden steam locomotive festivals which have taken place to date.
Railway vehicle preservation
By means of historical railway vehicle displays, the Transport Museum aims at demonstrating as many eras of German railway history as possible. As a State Museum our museum has a budget for the preservation, restoration and presentation of suitable vehicles.
During restoration we always pay attention to exact historical details and the smallest losses possible of the original substance. Thus our goal is not the operable refurbishment of vehicles, especially of locomotives, as this would mean sacrificing too much of the original substance. Compromises are inevitable only when at least vehicle movability is to be maintained. The museum value of the railway vehicles maintained in such a way is very high, even if the experience value may seem low for vehicles no longer operable.
Thanks to the cooperation of the Transport Museum with associations and 'Bahnsozialwerk' groups (groups offering social services at train stations), visitors can also experience locomotives and cars that are still operable. The annual highlight of this collaboration used to be the Dresden steam locomotive festival, organized until 2004 in cooperation with Deutsche Bahn AG (German Railway) and the registered society IG Bahnbetriebswerk Dresden-Altstadt e. V.