The Class 05: Flying High on the Rails.
The German airline Lufthansa was started in 1926; a new transportation carrier was established in all of Germany. Five years later powerful, reliable passenger planes were available in the form of the Ju 52, and they were used to serve a growing network of routes. The German State Railroad recognized the coming competition and sought ways to counter it. New concepts such as the "Flying Trains" were developed on designated express routes in close cooperation with the railroad industry.
The dominance of steam motive power was not a question; the German State Railroad required a new generation of standard design locomotives for long distance service at speeds of 175 km/h / 109 mph. The physical limits of the classic express steam locomotive had almost been reached with the class 01. The previously available continuous power output was about 2,500 horsepower, and new technology had to be used for higher speeds:
Three-cylinder running gear with increased boiler pressure.
Large driving wheels with a diameter of 2.30 meters / 90-9/16".
A frame with a 4-6-4 wheel arrangement as with the American "Hudson" locomotives.
The aerodynamics from airplane construction as a new design element for railroad
locomotives and cars.
In 1935, Borsig presented two giants that combined modern construction and efficient design: the 05 001 and die 05 002 with completely enclosed streamlining. This was parallel to a similar approach taken by Henschel (class 61). Both units fulfilled the demands made of them in an exemplary manner, and they surpassed the guidelines by a great deal. In 1936, test runs with passengers reached over 200 km/h / 125 mph - a record envied by other state railroads. At that time it might still have seemed possible to surpass the speed of the flying competition. Actually, this turned out to be the magic limit for passenger trains for almost 30 years. The DB's E 03 was the first to question this speed over time, which made today's fast passenger service achievable.
Road no. 05 003 that followed was supposedly still more innovative: its cab was located at the front like the prototype of the American "Cab Forward" locomotives. The direct, smoke-free view down the track was supposed to increase safety at high speeds, and the aerodynamics was theoretically smoothed out to a greater extent. Since the boiler now had the smoke box door facing the tender, the fire box up front could no longer be fueled with normal pieces of coal. The solution was coal dust firing with mechanical-pneumatic conveying of the coal dust the entire length of the boiler. In 1937 testing began - and the difficulties with this daring design also began. Quality, weather, and the locomotive in operation had an unforeseeable effect on the over 14 meter / 45 foot path of the "fuel". It was almost impossible to guarantee the required rate of fuel entering the fire box and continuous combustion. Right up to the prepared test runs, this locomotive demonstrated that it was not up to the expected peak performance in operation. In 1944, the German State Railroad gave up: Road no. 05 003 was converted to a normal locomotive - with anthracite firing and with no streamlining at all. At this time every locomotive was needed; the flagship locomotives served as fast work horses.
All three express locomotives survived the war in good condition and were acquired by the German Federal Railroad in 1950. Since there were no new high performance locomotives for long distance passenger service on the horizon, these locomotives were not discarded like other "splinter classes"; they were modernized. In the meantime, all of the streamlined locomotives had had their streamlining removed, because efficient travel speeds were more important then spectacular high speed. The class 05 locomotives were equipped with Witte smoke deflectors and inductive signaling equipment; this meant they were equipped for speeds of 175 km/h / 109 mph. However, the general maximum speed for all trains on the DB was still 130 km/h / 81 mph.
In this purely utilitarian form these locomotives showed the belated high point in the development of the standard design locomotives and at the same time the crowning finish. Until 1957 the class 05 locomotives represented the absolute stars in German long distance passenger service - only the E 19 could keep up with them. The 05 locomotives weren't vulnerable until the new construction program with the V 200 and the E 10, and the progressive electrification of the route network, and this time the DB showed no mercy. All three were retired in 1958 and were supposed to be scrapped in 1961 - and yet one came through. The Nürnberg Transportation Museum showed historical interest in road no. 05 001. The original cladding for streamlining was found almost complete in the repair shops, and this red "suit" still fit. Since then this locomotive has been maintained in operational condition and has its place in the main building of the DB Museum, where it remained preserved from the catastrophic fire of October 17, 2005.
Road no. 05 003 with its eventful history also lives on today: as a Märklin model in the scale of 1:87. Even in this size the striking silhouette and the impressive technology gives a powerful and harmonious impressive effect. A timeless and incomparable locomotive, whose exact reproduction as a high-tech model is being produced for the first time for Märklin Insider members.