If you want to be exact about the subject, you will find an overview on this page of the historic eras and emblems for past and current European railroads. The division in eras follows NEM standards, but the newer eras are not precisely defined. Even in the prototype, there can be some overlap in the features of different eras.
The pictograms described for the eras can also be found by the models so that you can assemble prototypical trains from an era is question. The search function in our Product Database also supports you here when you enter the era as a search criterion.
1835 to about 1925
In founder phase of railroading provincial and private railroads came into being with in some cases extensive route networks. Era I is marked by a variety of locomotives and cars, colors, and lettering.
1925 to 1945
The great national state railroads were established in Europe. In Germany, the provincial and private railroads were merged in 1920 into the German State Railroad Company (DRG). The variety of locomotives and cars was condensed by standard designs.
1945 to 1970
The Fifties and Sixties were marked by reconstruction and economic growth. The new German Federal Railroad (DB) grew rapidly, and steam locomotives had to make way for more powerful and efficient diesel and electric locomotives. The German State Railroad (DR) in the GDR (East Germany) developed parallel to the DB.
1970 to 1990
The European wide standard computer-generated UIC lettering of all locomotives and cars marked the start of this era. This process extended over several years so that a mix of old and new lettering could be seen chiefly on the cars.
1990 to 2006
New paint schemes signaled the "New Era" in modern railroading. At the same time, thought began to be given in almost all European countries to fundamental restructuring that have been realized in a concrete fashion at present. After the unification of the two Germanys, the German State Railroad (DR) (East Germany) and the German Federal Railroad (DB) were merged in steps into the German Railroad, Inc. (DB AG). Since 1994, there has been the new logo of the DB AG. A mix of different color and logo variations could also be observed in this era.
2006 to the Present
The liberalization of rail transport in Europe brings new challenges to the railroad's locomotives and cars that must adhere to European railroad standards for international use. In fact, there are no standard paint schemes or recognition lettering, but there is a new 12 digit numbering scheme (even for motive power) that even in the model clearly defines the locomotives and cars as belonging to the present of railroad technology.