On April 17th, 1945 most of the depot's area was laid to waste. Only roundhouse #4, which still exists today, and the administration building were not completely ruined but could be reconstructed rather quickly. After rehabilitation of roundhouse #4 and re-assembly of the repair shop ("house #5"), a new roundhouse was established in the place of former roundhouse #1 in 1953. This new building is what we recognize as "the roundhouse in Dresden-Altstadt" nowadays. Its design also allowed for hosting electric locomotives in addition to steam engines. However, no electric locomotive has ever been located in Dresden-Altstadt - except E 77 10 since 2013/2014, but that's another story.
Roundhouses #2 and #3 were not re-erected but some parts of their places were used for some multi-purpose (temporary) buildings or even lay fallow for decades. By these times of the early 1950ies the basic facilities of the depot were recovered.
The basic stock to fulfil everyday's haulage tasks continued to consist of pre-war locomotives for many years. All locomotives suitable for express passenger train services dated back even to the times before WW I (e.g. classes 18.0, 19.0 and 39).
Apart from the established classes, several exotic locomotives could be found in Dresden-Altstadt as well. They were relicts of confusions related to WW II, especially the final chaos in early and mid-term 1945, which had stranded in Dresden or its close surroundings. Some of them had been built long before WW I, some of them were foreigners. Enormous efforts were made to retain these species in working condition or re-design them for practicability at all - everything just for some very few years. But in those days, any locomotive available had to be utilised by any means. Two individuals among these "uncommon" engines are to be mentioned by name: formerly French 231-E-18 and 241-A-4, denominated as 07 1001 and 08 1001 from 1952 onwards, respecitvely. In spite of everything, they remained unwelcome mavericks and suffered from more days in the mechanical departments than in hauling trains. Finally, they were discarded in 1958.
The state railway authorities of GDR, which continued to denominate themselves as Deutsche Reichsbahn (DR, although there was no "Reich" = "empire" any longer), allotted several locomotives of their newly developed classes 23.10 and 65.10 to the depot in Dresden-Altstadt in the mid-1950ies. As well, several locomotives of class 22 resided in Dresden-Altstadt. These were fundamentally refurbished engines of class 39, so-called "Reko" (reconstructed), equipped with newly designed boilers. By 1958, class 03 re-entered Bw Dresden-Altstadt. The final era of express train steam locomotives initiated in 1967 when Dresden-Altstadt gave home to non-reconstructed class 01 again. Until September 1977 these engines handled the entire heavy international express passenger service between Dresden and East Berlin, the capital of GDR.
As well in 1967 the importance and individuality of Bw Dresden-Altstadt was curtailed significantly. By that time, the authorities of Deutsche Reichsbahn unified the three independent depots of Dresden-Altstadt, Dresden-Friedrichstadt and Dresden-Pieschen in one so-called "large scale complex". The name "Bw Dresden-Altstadt" vanished and was replaced by a phrasing like "sub-division of Dresden depot, located at Zwickauer Straße" (in German: "Bw Dresden, Betriebsteil Zwickauer Straße"). Headquarters were established in Dresden-Friedrichstadt. However, all the steam engines for the prestegious express passenger services remained at their inherited place.
On September 25th, 1977 regular steam engine operations of Bw Dresden expired. For quite some time, only class 01 had still been in active service. Some of the last 01's of Dresden were handed over to other depots in GDR. And some of them lateron even started a "second life" - e.g. 01 066, 01 118 and 01 204, but that's another story. After that date, some few steam locomotives in Dresden-Altstadt were used for local heat supply services only. Non-steam engines entered the depot in Dresden-Altstadt, but these were shunting diesels only.