In 1856, the Albertsbahn AG built an approximately 13 km long line on the Windberg south of Dresden in order to be able to transport the coal mined there to the main line near Freital. This route is still known today as the "Saxon Semmering Railway" and has gradients of up to 2.5 percent and radii of up to 85 meters. The first locomotives ordered were not suitable for this route, so three new ones were initially ordered from Hartmann in Chemnitz. These were delivered in 1857 and given the names “Elbe”, “Windberg” and “Steiger”. In 1858 another engine called “Freiberg” was built and only in 1866 the fifth, called “Burgk”.
In addition to two coupled wheelsets, these had a bogie with two leading axles and were therefore able to prove themselves on the Windbergbahn. In terms of power, they were also sufficient to transport the empty wagons up the mountain and bring the full wagons safely down the hill.
Due to their size, the wagons could be described as coal trucks and not as full-fledged freight wagons and each had a capacity of five tonnes. The trains usually consisted of ten of these trucks, which meant that the payload was about twice the weight of the locomotive.
The “Elbe” 1867 with personnel and coal trucks
archive Haus der Heimat Freital
With the nationalization in 1868, all five locomotives came to the Saxon State Railways and received the type designation H VIIIb T. To increase the power, they were equipped with a new boiler in 1877. This had an operating pressure of 8.5 instead of 6.32 bar. They were replaced by the VII T between 1885 and 1893. The new locomotives had roughly the same service weight as the modernized models, but since their entire weight was only supported by the two coupled axles, they were able to generate more tractive effort.