The reference for locomotives and railcars


Page views since 2023-01-26: 310077
Württemberg C
German Reichsbahn class 181
Germany | 1909 | 41 produced
Die Lokomotive, February 1910

The class C was the lightest Pacific locomotive from the Länderbahn era. As elsewhere, they were developed because the four-coupled express locomotives were no longer sufficient for the constantly increasing weight of the express trains at the beginning of the 20th century. As with the Bavarian S 3/6, the topography of the country played a role in the development, and the coupled wheels of the C were made even smaller with a diameter of 1,800 mm. Therefore, the locomotives could only reach a maximum speed of 110 to 120 km/h, but despite their low weight they had a high tractive effort. In addition, it turned out that they were also very economical in terms of the consumption of coal and water.

The class C locomotives could be easily distinguished from other Pacific machines by their special design features. The most noticeable was the outer subframe, which supported the inner plate frame and also contained wheel housings for the coupled wheels. Due to the large firebox relative to the overall dimensions of the locomotive, the trailing axle had to be pulled far back, which is why it protrudes behind the driver's cab.

Sectional drawing with dimensions
Sectional drawing with dimensions
Die Lokomotive, February 1910

On the power side, a four-cylinder compound engine was also used in Württemberg, in this case all cylinders acted on the second coupled axle. To increase efficiency through lower air resistance, the smoke box was designed in a conical shape and the driver's cab had a special, streamlined shape with a smooth transition from the boiler to the roof. In addition, as with the S 2/6, the steam dome and sandpit were housed under a common cover. The performance program to be fulfilled provided for trains weighing 350 tonnes, which had to be pulled at 100 km/h on the flat and at 60 km/h on one percent.

Production began in 1909 in the Esslingen machine factory with just five examples, which were to remain the only ones for the time being. Further engines were not built until 1914, so that the total number had risen to 41 by 1921. These locomotives, also known as the “beautiful Württemberg lady”, were used on trains such as the Orient Express. After the war, a total of four units had to be handed over to France and Poland, all others and those completed in the following years were taken over by the Reichsbahn as class 181.

During this time, all engines continued to be used almost exclusively on routes that were within Württemberg or started in Württemberg. The smaller of the two tenders used were replaced by Prussian ones with a larger capacity. After the Second World War, there were still 23 operational examples in the Bundesbahn, which were retired between 1952 and 1955 due to the small number of units and all scrapped.

Variant1909 variant1921 variant
Axle config4-6-2 (Pacific) 
Gauge4 ft 8 1/2 in (Standard gauge)
Dimensions and Weights
Length67 ft 0 5/16 in
Length loco43 ft 1 1/8 in
Wheelbase36 ft 2 5/8 in
Fixed wheelbase12 ft 5 5/8 in13 ft 11 5/16 in
Empty weight167,331 lbs
Service weight187,834 lbs193,160 lbs
Adhesive weight105,160 lbs105,822 lbs
Total weight324,893 lbs330,219 lbs
Axle load35,053 lbs35,274 lbs
Water capacity5,283 us gal7,925 us gal
Fuel capacity13,228 lbs (coal)22,046 lbs (coal)
Power sourcesteam
Indicated power1,814 hp (1,353 kW)
Optimal speed49 mph
Top speed68 mph75 mph
Starting effort23,570 lbf
with start valve28,284 lbf
Power Plant
Driver diameter70.9 in
Boiler pressure218 psi
Expansion typecompound
Cylindersfour, HP: 16 9/16 x 24 1/8 in
and LP: 24 7/16 x 24 1/8 in
Grate area42.6 sq ft42.5 sq ft
Firebox area161 sq ft
Tube heating area2,076.8 sq ft2,074.7 sq ft
Evaporative heating area2,237.8 sq ft2,235.8 sq ft
Superheater area586.2 sq ft699.2 sq ft
Total heating area2,824 sq ft2,935 sq ft
Calculated Values
steam locomotive
Von Borries compound
Eugen Kittel
last changed: 01/2022

We use cookies to save the following settings:

  • selected navigation structure
  • selected language
  • preferred units
  • spelling of railway company names

If you refuse the use of cookies, the settings will only be retained for the current session and will be reset to the default values the next time you visit the site.

Display of units

Here you can set the desired unit system for the technical data.

  • Metric: Lengths in meters, weights in tonnes, and volumes in cubic meters
  • Imperial (UK): Lengths in feet/inches, weights in long tons and volumes in imperial gallons
  • Imperial (US): Lengths in feet/inches, weights in pounds, and volumes in US gallons
  • Individual: Depends on the country of origin of each locomotive
Operator names

Here you can set the display of railway company names.

  • Short: Abbreviation or short form of the name
  • Standard: commonly used name, partially translated to English
  • Complete: full name in local language