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DRG Class 52: Wikis


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DRG Class 52
Austrian 52.1198 in original condition.
Number(s): see text
Quantity: 7000+
Manufacturer: see Text
Year(s) of manufacture: 1942–ca. 1950
Retired: ČSD: 1976
DB: 1962
ÖBB: 1976
Wheel arrangement: 2-10-0
Axle arrangement: 1'E h2
Type: G 56.15
Gauge: 1,435 mm
Length over buffers: 22,975 mm
27,532 (with condensing tender)
Overall wheelbase: 9,200 mm
Service weight: 84.0 t
Service weight incl. tender: 102.7 t
Adhesive weight: 75.9 t
Top speed: 80 km/h
Indicated Power: 1,192 kW
Driving wheel diameter: 1,400 mm
Leading wheel diameter: 850 mm
No. of cylinders: 2
Cylinder bore: 600 mm
Piston stroke: 660 mm
Boiler Overpressure: 16 bar
Grate area: 3.89 m²
Evaporative heating area: 177.83 m²
Tender service weight: 18.7 t
Water capacity: 27.0/30.0 m³ (when using an ÖBB covered tender)
Fuel: 10.0 t coal
Train heating: Steam

The Deutsche Reichsbahn's Class 52 was a German steam locomotive built in large numbers during the Second World War. It was the most produced type of the so-called Kriegslokomotiven or Kriegsloks (war locomotives). The Class 52 was a wartime development of the pre-war DRG Class 50, using fewer parts and expensive materials to speed production. They were designed by Wagner who was Chief Engineer of the Central Design Office at the Locomotive Standards Bureau of the DRG. About a dozen classes of locomotive were referred to as Kriegslokomotiven, however the three main classes were the Class 52, 50 and 42.



Over 6700 locomotives of this type were built, mainly for use on the Eastern Front during the Second World War. It therefore has a claim to being one of the most numerous steam locomotive classes in the world. To achieve such numbers, the German locomotive manufacturers were merged into the Gemeinschaft Grossdeutscher Lokomotivhersteller (GGL), which was a subdivision of the Hauptausschuss Schienenfahrzeuge (HAS) founded in 1942. Key HAS figures were the Reichsminister for munition and armament, Albert Speer and the Reich transport minister, Julius Heinrich Dorpmüller.

The class 52 was a radically simplified version of the pre-war Reichsbahn class 50 locomotive (produced 1938-1942). The simplified design of the class 52 was intended to reduce the man-hours and skills needed to make it and an adaptation to war-time shortages of materials. Additional design changes gave the locomotives and their crew better protection against the cold winters experienced on the eastern front. Between 1942 and the end of the war in May 1945 over 6300 class 52 locomotives were built. Additional locomotives were built post-war giving a class total of probably 6719 units, delivered by seventeen manufacturers.

The Class 42 was a larger version of the Class 52 and was produced in small numbers.

In the early post-war years the 52s were used by many European countries, the largest user being the Soviet Union which had more than 2100 of this type. Poland was another country with more than a thousand and East Germany had about 800 examples. The type was also quite widespread in most of the other east European nations. West European countries replaced them with more modern locos as soon as possible, with the exception of Austria where they were used until 1976. The simplicity and effectiveness as well as the large production number meant that many east European countries were slow to withdraw Kriegslokomotiven, with Poland using them until the early 1990s. Turkey and Bosnia were also late users of the type.



Wagner had wanted locomotives which were long-lasting and easy to maintain and unlike British engineers did not consider a high power-to-weight ratio a priority. The resulting Kriegslokomotiven had a low axleload of 15 tons and could haul 40% more freight than the Prussian locomotives they replaced. They could haul 4,000 tons at 80km/h without significant strain.

The GGL included the following locomotive manufacturers (including an approximate number of Class 52s produced):

100 were built for Romanian State Railways, becoming their Class 150.1

Over 150 were in use by the Bulgarian State Railways as Class 15.

10 were built for Turkish Republic Railways, forming the TCDD 56501 Class. Turkish Railways acquired 43 additional locos at the end of the war, these had previously been on hire.

Several have been preserved. One of these is preserved on the Nene Valley Railway in Peterborough, England. Another one is still in service with the Franconian Museum Railway in Bavaria, Germany.

The DR in East Germany had 200 machines reconstructed to the new DR Class 52.80.

For more information see "The German Class 52 Kriegslok" by Slaughter, Vassiliev and Beier, published in English and German editions in 1996 by Stenvalls, ISBN 91-7266-140-2


In fiction

The Kriegslokomotiven are featured in the third sequel of the successful computer game series Railroad Tycoon under the name "Kriegslok 2-10-0".

External links



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