Untitled Untitled Railroad German Steam

Copyright 2021   Richard O. Aichele and InforWorks.com


In the 1970s, steam powered locomotives were quickly becoming history. The writer had one more opportunity to photograph them still powering local passenger and freight truns near Tübingen in southern Germany.


Last  of  the

German  Steam   Locomotives

Richard O. Aichele

Email - - richaichele@aol.com


In 1972, a number of steam locomotives could still be found performing reliable passenger and freight service for the European railroads.




     Locomotives at the engine maintenance facility in Tübingen, Germany

It was called The Eisenbahn (iron roadway) in Germany when in 1838 the first train powered by a steam locomotive traveled between two cities. Steam power and locomotive design technologies developed rapidly. They remained the primary power for passenger and freight trains until the late 1940s when diesel and electric propulsion began to be introduced. The West German railroad, then called the the Bundesbahn, in the late 1950s began planning to phase out all the remaining approximately 5,000 running steam locomotives in service over the next ten years.

That timetable was slightly delayed and reliable steam locomotives served longer primarily on some of the secondary passenger and freight lines. That delay also allowed these photos to record some of the steam action in 1972. The southern German cities of Tübingen and Reutlingen were among those where steam locomotives operated the longest. In 1975, the Bundesbahn's last steam powered passenger express train was on a northern German route and two years later the last freight train powered by a steam locomotive made its last run.


Left Photo: Engineer ready to depart the station with a passenger train.

Center Photo: Locomotive fireman shoveling coal into the firebox as his freight train departed from Tübingen.

Right Photo: The author aboard the freight train locomotive waiting for an oncoming local passenger train to pass.



Locomotives were fueled and ready for service in Tübingen, Germany




Engineer and Fireman watching passenger train approaching to pass.




The era of steam railroad locomotives still survives in Europe for the enjoyment of railroad and steam power enthusiasts riding the special steam trains or watching them pass by.



According to the creator of the film, T. Sohns of Germany, the steam power was, "Rebuilt in the 1950s by the German Federal Railway (DB), 01 1066 and 41 018 are among the most modern and successful German steam locomotives. Both are equipped with oil burners. Whilst express train locomotive 01 1066 is a 3 cylinder 4-6-2 Pacific cleared for 140 km/h (87 mph), fast freight engine 41 018 is a 2 cylinder 2-8-2 Mikado cleared for 90 km/h (56 mph). On October 21, 2006 at 2:10h pm and 4:48h pm the two engines battled gravity with 12 coaches in tow on the famous 2.5 percent Schiefe Ebene grade (Neuenmarkt - Marktschorgast) North of the town of Bayreuth not far from the German-Czech border. Both runs were recorded from different perspectives at the reverse curves near to kilometer post 80 - this video shows the 2:10h pm run. The tour was organized by IGE Bahntouristik, www.bahntouristik.de."



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