Germany earns enough trust for bird flight line train connection to Denmark

Much of Denmark consist of islands, including the capital Copenhagen. Islands offer a natural secure barrier. To lower those barriers requires trust and trust must be earned. So slip on your smoking jacket, fill your pipe, take your first sip of your adult beverage, and sit back in your most comfortable chair. Welcome to todays offering from The Philatelist.

West Germany helpfully provides a year of issue on most of their stamp offerings. This is a good thing on this stamp as from the style I would have guessed the stamp 20 years newer. The stylized bird contains a map of the new train line celebrated by the stamp. Vogelfluglinie means bird flight line. This means most direct route and though talking trains, a shorter distance meaning quicker and more frequent travel. The future is going to be great and this stamp really captures that spirit.

The stamp today is issue A242, a 20 pfennig stamp issued by West Germany on May 14th, 1963. It was a single stamp issue that celebrated the new more direct train line from Hamburg, Germany to Copenhagen, Denmark. According to the Scott catalog, the stamp is worth 30 cents in it’s mint or used condition.

The train line, was first proposed in the 1920s, mimicked the flight paths of birds migrating from northern artic areas to central Europe. Copenhagen before then required much longer train routes through Jutland when traveling there from the south. The train line proposed a train carrying boat ferry from Warnemunde in Germany to  Rodby Denmark. Work did not get started on the line until 1941 after Germany had conquered Denmark in 1940. It is therefore understandable that all work stopped at the end of the German occupation in 1945.

There was additional issue that caused delay as a result of the end of World War II. Warnemunde was now in East Germany and using it would have drastically slowed travel times. It was an iron curtain after all. The German part of the route was rerouted through the West German port of Putgarden.

I expected to find in my research that the rail line had since fallen into disuse with auto motorways and discount airlines taking up the slack. This is not the case. Instead a tunnel is being constructed that will handle both car and train travel. This would replace the ferry part of the trip. There are fairly new bridges connecting Copenhagen with Sweden and so a quick rail link to Copenhagen becomes even more important with Copenhagen more of a gateway to Sweden and Norway. The world is getting smaller.

Allowing for this is somewhat a leap of faith for Denmark. Looking back into history, Denmark has had troubles with both Germany and Sweden. The southern tip of Sweden was once part of Denmark and the border with Germany has laid at different places. Denmark is a small wealthy country with 2 much larger countries around it. There must be some fear of being swallowed up culturally if not anymore militarily.

Well my drink is empty so I will journey to the club car for another round. Have any of our readers ridden on this rail line? Come again tomorrow for another story that can be learned from stamp collecting.

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