The long history of the Carriages Series 5000 began at the very end of the Civil War, when the private railway companies making up the Spanish Rail Network, found that their fleet of passenger carriages had shrunk significantly and was badly damaged.
This fleet was made up of an extremely diverse amount of vehicles that were very old and grouped into families of barely 10 vehicles each. For instance, one of the main private rail companies (the rail company of Madrid to Zaragoza and Alicante, MZA) didn’t have any metal carriages. In fact, adding up all the companies’ fleets, there were no more than one hundred metal carriages in total.
Therefore, not only did they urgently need modern metal passenger carriages, they also needed a large amount of them to cover passenger services in those times. To understand the origin of this type of carriages, it’s essential to know about the industrial, economic and political scenario right after the Civil War and in the midst of the Second World War, where Spain supported the Axis powers.
The war was particularly harsh on the industrial premises, especially those devoted to building capital goods, such as rolling stock. But even before the war, the trains were far behind in technical and technological aspects.
It was Germany, where they had made great progress in building carriages with metal structures, who firmly intervened in designing and creating the carriages series 5000, which were technologically innovative thanks to their fully welded and self-supporting structure.
The design took into account the shortages in the Spanish industry, so the design of the structures was adapted to use the traditional rolled profiles with only a minimum amount of inlaid metal elements that would otherwise require special equipment that wasn’t available in the Spanish industry.
Despite these adjustments, the urgency of the situation meant that the national rail industry was unable to cover all the needs and they had to resort to the French industry. As the French were also immersed in the post-war period, they agreed to build 100 carriages in their factories and manufacture the parts for another 100 carriages that would then be assembled in Spain; what we would now call a “self-assembly kit”.
This is how the carriages series 6000 came to life. The main difference was using the original German design, as the French industry had sufficient technology and resources to deliver, so, structurally, they used huge inlaid metal sheets. On the outside, it’s practically impossible to tell them apart from the carriages series 5000, save for tiny details on the inside (the 6000 were the first carriages with fluorescent lighting) and on the outside.
This large family consisted of 546 carriages in total, making up the first large family of carriages in the Spanish rail network.