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Endstation Magazine - graffiti on trains !

  MARCH 8, 1999


ISSUE # 14 

Dortmund - Haupt Bahn Hof
Report made by Endstation reporter in Dortmund. Copyright endstation
Welcome to Dortmund HBF - a city well known for its mass-trainbombing graffiti flavour a couple of years ago and therefore considered the nr# German city of steel-damage.
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Though the transit-system's face changed alot during the last ten years, you can still spot panels in service. For a complete history of Dortmund Graffiti Life , you might want to check Mason`s Dortmund Book and Mike´s Dortmund Update News on www.graffiti.org/midniterun/
before you read further.

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In this special report, you will learn what has changed since that time, what is going on today and what we might expect from Dortmund in the future. The additional photos are only a small fraction of what has been bombed in 1996-99. It is almost impossible to put everything online due to the enormous amount of rolling steal destruction. Moreover, I also felt it was neccesary to include quite alot of photos of tourist writers who have left important marks down here.

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Talking about tourists; It seems that almost every well-respected travelling european train-writer did at least once pay a visit to the Dortmund yards. Even those guys from overseas, America and Australia did not fear the costs and trouble to fly over here and see their  name up on our trains. There must be some special flavour which separates Dortmund from other German cities where graffiti is going strong aswell. Maybe because a very small group of notorious vandals made it possible to destroy a whole transit system for quite a long time, and still after all those years, DB (the transit company) still could not keep the trains clean. Whereas other cities like Berlin come up with more than 12.000 active writers, and still never reached the Dortmund level of rolling steel damage - in relation to the amount of graff gangs. That was the good old days, when graffiti in Dortmund was on top.

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Even the late years like 1996-97, graffiti in Dortmund was still kind of going strong. Alot of Wholecars got done and alot of them also got into service. The amount of panels, throw-ups and tags was endless. Although the Vandal Squad sometimes busted a few kids, there was no end in sight. The train-company spent too much money on cleaning trains instead on improving  the transit service for passengers. Finally a zero-tolerance program was introduced to stop the vandalism. Also a big change of the train timetable was done in the first months of 1998. This anti-graffiti project resulted in:

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- A few yards and backjump-spots were closed down.
- 500 Security guards were engaged during '98 to ride the s-trains and local trains to cut down on inside crime and damage, meant as one part of a new 24-hour security concept for trains and stations.
- 360 degree cameras got put up on every station that used to be a major attraction to writers , plus cameras in certain high frequented train lay-ups.
- Responsibility was given to the transit police offices instead of just the Vandal Squad. They were forced to check their own territories for graffiti activities involving a few new techniques.
- All trains were cleaned in a very short time.

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These methods had effects on the scene; Alot of people got caught during 1998, and it turned into something special to see a nice panel run. Panels were taken out of service and cleaned as soon as it was possible. Luckily, the local DB department was not able to buy the large amounts of new cars, so painted trains ran at least for a day or two. But the local graffiti writers adjusted themselves to the new situation, and started to do more silver pieces, because of the limited time. Still it was important to have nice and clean productions seen, though the success rate was decreasing every month. Nonetheless, the scene did not die as people expected and as DB might have hoped. Even wholecars still got done, mostly far outside of Dortmund. Once in a while they got into service very early in the  morning, taking a ride to the Dortmund Buff where they accidently vanished again.

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Dortmund would not be Dortmund, if the local guys didnt try to change that situation again. Christmas holliday '98 was the worst time of the last year, from the view of the DB, the security-kids and the Vandal-Squad. While the train service and number of security patrolls was cut down during that time, operation "silver storm" was set in work by the writers. During X-Mas and New Years day, i guess about 150-200 panels, and a few
Whole-Cars (including one whole-train) got painted! Concentrating on panels was a wise idea; A few lines were almost completely killed again. Motivated by seeing this, a couple of new school kings, had decided to keep this level up in '99 and today it is possible to see new stuff every day again! On the other hand the buff is not sleeping either, but this doesnt matter at all right now.
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The new year had a very good start, i suppose it will be a fresh year and always keep in mind: ....Dortmund will NEVER die !

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