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German Reichsbahn 18 201
Germany | 1961 | only one produced
18 201 with both tenders in June 2010 in Darmstadt-Kranichstein
18 201 with both tenders in June 2010 in Darmstadt-Kranichstein
Hugh Llewelyn

Around 1960, the Reichsbahn was looking for a fast locomotive that could be used to test the running characteristics of newly developed passenger cars. The choice fell on the building of a new steam locomotive, which had to fall back on parts from other machines. Large parts of the frame were taken from the streamlined tank locomotive 61 001, which once reached 175 km/h with its 2,300 mm coupled wheels. Other parts of the running gear and the outer cylinders came from the not very successful high-pressure locomotive H 45 024, while the middle cylinder was built from scratch. The result was completed in 1961 at RAW Meiningen, had partially streamlined fairing and was painted green.

The machine was able to reach 160 km/h in an early phase of testing and managed 176 km/h on the Velim railway test ring in November 1964. In the first few years, road number 18 201 was regularly used in express service between test runs, but this was discontinued after a few years due to signs of wear. In 1967 the main firing was changed from coal to oil. With the transfer to the computer numbering system, it became 02 0201-0. In 1972 the record was improved to 182.4 km/h, making it the fastest operational steam locomotive in the world.

After the locomotive was no longer required for test runs, it was used in front of special trains from 1980. Later it got a second tender that made it easier to cover long distances. Derailments and a lack of lathes for the large wheelsets caused problems on several occasions. After it was decommissioned in 1997, number 18 201 was bought up and refurbished by Dampf-Plus GmbH, which was specially founded for this purpose, so that it was able to run again in 2002.

Between April 2002 and 2005 it was painted red with donations from the model railway manufacturer Roco, until it was given a green color again. In 2011, 160 km/h was reached again during a special trip. After several changes of ownership, the machine, which has since been registered as a monument, was stored again in 2018 after the boiler deadline had expired. The new owner gave the locomotive in November 2019 for another general inspection. As of today, it is not operational again.

ManufacturerRAW Meiningen
Axle config4-6-2 (Pacific) 
Gauge4 ft 8 1/2 in (Standard gauge)
Dimensions and Weights
Length82 ft 5 15/16 in
Wheelbase43 ft 10 3/4 in
Fixed wheelbase16 ft 8 13/16 in
Empty weight225,974 lbs
Service weight250,445 lbs
Adhesive weight134,923 lbs
Total weight411,823 lbs
Axle load45,856 lbs
Water capacity8,982 us gal
Fuel capacity3,566 us gal (oil)
Power sourcesteam
Indicated power2,119 hp (1,580 kW)
Optimal speed37 mph
Top speed112 mph
Starting effort36,249 lbf
Power Plant
Driver diameter90.6 in
Boiler pressure236 psi
Expansion typesimple
Cylindersthree, 20 1/2 x 26 in
Grate area45.5 sq ft
Firebox area229.3 sq ft
Tube heating area1,991.3 sq ft
Evaporative heating area2,220.6 sq ft
Superheater area902 sq ft
Total heating area3,122.6 sq ft
Calculated Values
steam locomotive
last changed: 05/2024

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