Five generations on the railways

15. 03. 2023

Many families share a passion for the railways that extends over generations – as is the case with the family of RCG employee Sebastian Reil. He is the fifth generation of his family to work on the railways. We take a look at his family history.

Great-great-grandfather Karl in his office in Munich around 1940. He was already a big fan of the railways. This is clear from the miniature locomotive on his desk.

RCG employee Sebastian Reil is a committed railway worker, and he’s not the first in his family. He represents the fifth generation who chose a career on the railways.

Two of Sebastian’s great-great-grandfathers started off in this sector. “My great-great-grandfather Karl was a lawyer as well as a personnel manager in Salzburg, then became head of the Munich office.” Amongst other things, he also founded sports teams within the railways.

Great-great-grandfather Karl with colleagues on Lake Constance around 1940. In those days, the railways were responsible for boat travel on Lake Constance.

Johann, who was also one of Sebastian’s great-great-grandfathers, worked as a train driver on the route between Munich and Salzburg.

Then the next generation came along with Hans, the great-grandfather. He was a technical head of department and electrical engineer for electric locomotives and high voltage in Munich and continued development on push-pull locomotives. 

Great-grandfather Hans (approx. 1985)

Hans had a brother called Franz, who was Sebastian’s great-granduncle. He was a technical head of department and mechanical engineer in Munich who was responsible for diesel locomotives and transmissions. “In my family we often said that both Franz and his brother Karl Hans always discussed which locomotive was the better of the two – diesel or electric. The question mainly focused on which one would be the locomotive of the future.” Another member of the family who worked in the railways was great-grandfather Otto. He was initially a conductor who was later active on the works council in Munich.

Sebastian’s grandfather was called Karl Hans, who worked as a surveyor in Regensburg and Munich. His area of responsibility covered the planning of S-Bahn (commuter rail systems) and train lines. The highlight of his career was planning the new lines in Bavaria as part of expanding infrastructure before the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. “Another highlight at the end of my grandfather’s career was the planning and surveying of the new line between Ismaning and Munich Airport, which was opened in 1992”, said Sebastian proudly. Furthermore, his grandmother Renate worked in the HR office at the head office of the Federal Railways for a couple of years.

“My great-grandfather Karl Hans also wanted my mother to work on the railways and had already organised it that she would work there as a technical drawer. This came to nothing as she wanted to work in medicine instead. After four generations, she was actually the first one who did not work on the railways.”

Sebastian’s grandfather Karl Hans (ca. 1960)

Sebastian’s grandfather Karl Hans (right), during surveying for track construction in around 1960.

Sebastian Reil continues a family tradition of working on the railways and is following in the footsteps of his ancestors. The 31-year old has been working in price management at RCG since 2021. “Even as a small child, I grew up with stories about the railways from my grandfathers, great-grandfathers as well as great-great-grandfathers and have always felt quite attached to the railways as a result.”

Sebastian Reil