The Beatles travel from Munich to Essen

Saturday, June 25, 1966

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Essen • Grugahalle • Germany

Jun 25, 1966 • 9pm show • Germany • Essen • Grugahalle

Essen • Grugahalle • Germany

Jun 25, 1966 • 5pm show • Germany • Essen • Grugahalle

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The previous day, The Beatles performed the two first concerts of their West Germany tour in Munich. On this day, they took a special train from Munich to Essen, to perform two concerts later in the day.

[…] They made the train all right. Although Brian Epstein had to leap on while it was moving. After all, it was hired for the occasion so it had to wait for them — even though they were half-an-hour late. They burst through a side door at the station, leapt aboard and John Lennon raced up to the British musical writers and said “I’m glad y’here, I thought I was on the wrong train. See you later”

And some measure of the repute the Beatles have in Germany now is given by the fact that it was the same train that carried the Queen on her recent German visit.

The train pulled in at a small station a few kilometres from the Grugehalle — but surrounded by fans.

John hared down the station steps right into the arms of the fans. He had to make a hasty retreat shielded by Neil and Alf Bicknell, the genial third road manager. But there was only one way to the cars — through the crowd. And there were an anxious few minutes before the party was on its way.

The British press travelling in a minibus had a police escort of its own. We raced through Essen with the motorcycles forcing everyone off the road to get us through. […]

From Melody Maker – July 2, 1966

[…] After a very late night everyone stumbled into the garage under the Bayerischer Hof the following morning where a fleet of seven white Mercedes awaited to take us to the station where we would board the train to Hamburg, stopping en route at Essen.

The boys emerged through the garage door looking surprisingly awake with the exception of John who tripped over the step — which made him all the more unsociable.

The police motorcade which escorted us was quite unnecessary at this unearthly hour of the morning, because there was only a handful of onlookers at the station.

The special train which carried the Beatles and their entourage was the same one as used by the Queen last year. The Beatles, together with Brian Epstein (who just about made the train), Tony Barrow, their press officer, Neil, Mal and Alf had their own suite of which consisted of a large dining-room, a lounge, and four bedrooms and bathrooms.


Breakfast was served about ten o’clock and consisted of fruit juice, cornflakes (a Beatles favourite), bacon and eggs, rolls and tea and coffee. After breakfast the boys retired to their compartments to catch some sleep which was interrupted by lunch half way through, and they came back to sleep again till about three o’clock when they came through to the other compartments to chat to everyone and have a few photographs taken. Paul was wearing a beige suit with a cream shirt and a red, yellow and brown striped tie plus his yellow-tinted specs. Ringo was dressed in black slacks and polo-necked sweater with a brown suede jacket. George wore a self-striped maroon velvet jacket and John was geared in his airport departure ensemble — red and White striped trousers with a white jacket.

The train pulled into Essen around four thirty, and as off the train there was a dozen policemen panicking whilst trying to hold back people on the platform — which was laughable. Further down the platform were three men dressed as barbers in white smocks and bald-topped wigs carrying giant-sized combs. As we mounted the stairs it was obvious that the police had underestimated the crowd outside, for suddenly there was a big swoop and everyone started running including the Beatles — John thought it would be better to run the other way in the direction of the train, but as the rest of us were being hurled into cars, Alf grabbed John and threw him in on top of everyone else.


Again it was the white Mercedes plus police motorcade which took us on a very slow drive to the Grugehalle in Essen. The reason for driving at a funeral march pace, was so that we’d arrive after the audience had gone to their seats.

From The Beatles Monthly Book – August 1966
From The Beatles Monthly Book – August 1966

In 1963, The Beatles sang their way into my young girl’s heart with ‘She Loves You.’ When The Beatles were due to come to Essen during a Blitzournee, it all came down to one question for me: how do I get there? My parents categorically declined it. My father, an officer with the railway police, spoke of ‘layabouts’ and ‘long-haired men’ and remained steadfast. Only to then surprise me with confidential information. After making me promise not to breathe a word to anyone, he told me that he was one of the officers on duty at the trainstation where The Beatles would arrive and said I may be able to experience the arrival of the train.

The day before, we found out that my school friend Rita could also come along; the destination of our dreams: Mühlheim-Styrum. My God, I was excited when we arrived there on 25 June 1966. There was nothing going on, there were barely any barriers set up. Were we to have The Beatles to ourselves?

When the chartered train arrived, I felt queasy. I’m not about to faint, I thought to myself. My father gave me the signal we had agreed upon, telling me what compartment The Beatles were in. I climbed aboard – and stood in front of The Beatles. My heart was racing and I couldn’t get a word out. All I could do was hold out my autograph book and a pen and silently ask them for their autographs. What a moment!

The moment ended abruptly when a police officer manouevered me out of the train. When John, Paul, George and Ringo departed the train, the only people on the track were photographers and the two of us girls. Right in front of the stairs the line of policemen ended. Our chance. No one stopped us as we lined up with The Beatles. We walked, no, floated, down the stairs next to them.The concert at the Gruga [Hall] wasn’t important any longer, we couldn’t get closer to The Beatles than that.

Juliane Grote, WAZ, 25 June 2012 – From Meet the Beatles for Real (

From The Beatles Monthly Book – August 1966
From Beatles HamburgTours on Twitter – Munich train station
Paul McCartney (left) and John Lennon (1940 - 1980) on board a train to Essen during the German leg of the Beatles' final world tour, 25th June 1966. The train had previously been used by Queen Elizabeth II. Credit: Robert Whitaker
From Paul McCartney and John Lennon on board a train to Essen during the… Photo d’actualité – Getty Images – Paul McCartney (left) and John Lennon (1940 – 1980) on board a train to Essen during the German leg of the Beatles’ final world tour, 25th June 1966. The train had previously been used by Queen Elizabeth II. Credit: Robert Whitaker
From Performance in Essen – The Beatles History (
From The Beatles on the train to Essen, June 1966. : INACTIVE BLOG (
From Meet the Beatles for Real (
From Performance in Essen – The Beatles History (
From Performance in Essen – The Beatles History (
From Performance in Essen – The Beatles History (
From Meet the Beatles for Real (

Neil Aspinall, Road Manager to John, Paul, George and Ringo, continues his story of The Beatles’ most recent German tour during June of last summer.

AFTER the two shows at Munich, we moved out of the Bayerischer Hof Hotel and on to Essen.

We travelled on the Saturday, using our own private train for the eight-hour rail journey. This took us to the North of Germany and along the picturesque banks of the Rhine.

There can’t be a more comfortable train in the world. Everyone had armchair comfort, plus a proper dining room, individual “apartments” with beds and showers, even a radio and telephones!

We had charted the same train used in May, 1965, by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip when they spent a week touring Germany. And the same butler-cum-headwaiter-cum-guide was there to look after The Beatles’ every wish.

It was during the Munich, Essen journey that The Beatles listened to the very first copy of their Revolver album, flown in specially from George Martin’s office in London.

They set up their portable player on the elegant diningroom sideboard and played through the first side while they tackled a luxurious lunch of trepang soup, tournados Rossini and ice cream Furst Puckler with waffles!

At one thirty we shall reach the Rhine,” said a waiter. In fact, we saw the famous river for the first time at precisely 1.29 p.m. — by which time George and Paul had retired to bed and John was deep in his Thurber book. At 4.32 p.m. we were scheduled to pull in at a little station outside Essen. In fact the train drew alongside the platform at 4.29 p.m., an accomplishment which would put most of the world’s regular rail timetables to shame.

Straight after the two performances in Essen Grugahalle, we went back onto our train and travelled through to Hamburg by night. Waiting for us on board was another lavish meal, a late dinner, for which the menu read:

Shrimp Cocktail
Oxtail Soup with Old Sherry
Medaillons of Veal Hawaii
Kronberger Strawberries with Cream.

By now The Beatles had settled upon a running order for the album, having sorted out the fourteen tracks into a balanced programme sequence.

They’d decided to have George’s Tax Man to open Side One and John’s Tomorrow Never Knows to close Side Two. But they didn’t have an album title.

It’s really essential that something is decided before we leave Germany,” reminded Brian Epstein and he joined in the thinking session, too. John was the most prolific with all sorts of half-joke half-serious title proposals, ranging from Full Moon to Fat Man And Bobby !

From Fabulous208 – January 7, 1967
From Fabulous208 – January 7, 1967

Last updated on October 25, 2023

Going further

The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years

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We owe a lot to Barry Miles for the creation of those pages, but you really have to buy this book to get all the details - a day to day chronology of what happened to the four Beatles during the Beatles years!

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