The sole surviving Tp2-34, photographed at the Jaworzyna Śląska depot on August 4, 2004.




The same engine, photographed on May 1, 2006.




Tp2-45, location unknown. According to my data this picture was taken in August 1962, but in fact Tp2-45 was withdrawn one year earlier.




Tp2-34, this time photographed in June 2008 by John Bryant (thanks for permission!).




G72 side drawing, © Lokomotiv-Revue. Source: TB vol.1.



An unidentified Tp2, derailed at the Warszawa Czyste station, December 30, 1934. Details are not known, but probably the accident was not a serious one. Source: National Digital Archives (NAC), used by permission.



An unknown G72, possibly a factory photo. Source: Die Lokomotive August 1910.



KPEV Mainz 4632 (Hohenzollern 2181/1907), probably also a factory photo. Later served with DRG as 55 1085, withdrawn in May 1932. Source: Die Lokomotive February 1922.



DR 55 800 (Henschel 8660/1908) was originally delivered to KPEV as Bromberg 4678. Taken over by PKP, it was re-numbered Tp2-213. It was not returned after the war and was sold to industry in August 1961. Location unknown, August 7, 1952. Source:

Between 1893 and 1917 Prussian state railways (Königlich Preußische Eisenbahnverwaltung KPEV) received over 1200 freight engines with four coupled axles (0-4-0) – first type with this axle arrangement in their fleet. Classed G71, they proved very successful and were built by eleven factories; a few dozen more were delivered to other railway managements. After WWI, 142 were taken over by PKP and classed Tp1. G71 ran on saturated steam and featured a single-expansion steam engine. As early as in 1895 a version with compound engine was developed by Vulcan and accepted by KPEV as G72.

Compound engine gave better economy and slightly higher power rating, but tractive effort was in fact lower than that of the earlier engine. To facilitate startups, von Borries device was fitted; later Dultz startup valve was standardized. In order to keep front axle load within acceptable limits, distance between tube walls was shortened by 400 mm, which was accompanied by slight extension of the smoke-box; apart from cylinders, this is the main external difference between G71 and G72. Number and diameter of flues remained unchanged. Despite these measures, engine weight increased by 1.8 tonnes (in working order) and axle load was marginally higher, but still well below 14 tonnes. As its predecessor, G72 was usually coupled with the 3T12 three-axle tender.

Until 1911, when production of this type for Prussian railways was terminated, 1646 examples had been delivered by ten factories (Grafenstaden, Hanomag, Henschel, Hohenzollern, Linke-Hofmann, Orenstein & Koppel, Schichau, Schwartzkopff, Union and Vulcan). Moreover, between 1914 and 1916 Mecklemburgische Friedrich-Franz Eisenbahn (MFFE) received eleven very similar machines from Linke-Hofmann, numbered 466 through 476; they had modified boilers with Knorr-type feedwater heater and 216 flues instead of 218, and were marginally heavier. G71 was also developed into G73, with lead Adams axle (1-4-0 arrangement), which in fact preceeded G72, but was built only in small numbers, as steam superheating soon proved its advantages; a few served with PKP as class Tr1.

After WWI, Prussian railways were left with less than 700 engines of this type, the rest being handed over as a part of war reparations, mainly to France, Belgium, Italy (32 examples, FS class 421 together with G71s and one kukHB class 274, most withdrawn in the 1930s), Poland and Lithuania. Newly-formed DRG classed them 557-14 and numbered 55 702 through 1392 (number 55 701 was, by mistake, allocated to a G73). In 1935, fifteen more followed from Saarland, 55 1393 through 1407, and in 1940 three more from Alsace-Lorraine, 55 1408 through 1410. Apart from these late ‘acquisitions’, most engines of this type were withdrawn from the DRG service in the 1930s, as more modern and efficient types became available. As of the MFFE G72s, five went to France and one to Belgium (withdrawn before 1940) and five became DRG 55 5701 through 5705, to be withdrawn before 1933.

In the newly-formed PKP fleet G72, classed Tp2, was one of the major types – in fact second only to KPEV G8 (Tp4) until indigenous Ty23 made its appearance in quantity. According to LP, as many as 297 examples were taken over, including one briefly serving with Lithuanian Railways. Two had been written off before new PKP designation system was introduced, so eventually class Tp2 numbered 295 examples. Despite their obsolescence, most survived in service until 1939, only eighteen being withdrawn in late 1930s. Many were relegated to switching; according to one estimation, their coal consumption was lower by eleven percent compared to Tp1s, but single-expansion engines were preferred for these duties anyway, due to easier startup. Just as other Prussian freighters, at least one G72 saw some action during the 3rd Silesian Uprising, with the ‘Tadek Ślązak’ armored train, completed at the steelworks in Zawadzkie in May 1921. According to LP and, this engine was numbered 4700; this implies that this was possibly Kattowitz 4700 (Linke-Hofmann 569/1908), which later became Tp2-223 – but this is just a conjecture. It was de-militarized in 1922 or 1923.

After the September campaign, Tp2s shared the fate of other Polish locomotives: 156 went to DRG (including one withdrawn engine) and 99 fell into Soviet hands (including five withdrawn). On 24 engines detailed data are lacking – some probably were also taken over by the Soviets, as, according to LP, on January 1, 1941, NKPS rosters included 112 examples. Most Tp2s in the DRG service were given numbers from 55 701 upwards – all allocated for the second time, after those withdrawn before the war; a few were written off before new numbers could be assigned. 55 Soviet engines were later captured by Germans and impressed into DRG or Ostbahn, while two German ones became Soviet war booty.

After the war, 86 Polish Tp2s were returned, plus four more formerly used by DRG (from a handful that avoided withdrawal before 1939), so the class numbered ninety examples. As early as in February 1945 three Tp2s were temporarily transferred to EKD, which operated suburban traffic between Warsaw and Grodzisk Mazowiecki. This line had been electrified in 1927, but the power station was damaged by withdrawing German troops. Tp2s hauled passenger cars until April (this information has been taken from Some engines of this type were withdrawn after only few years’ service; most were soon relegated to switching and disappeared from the PKP rosters during the 1950s. A dozen or so soldiered on into the 1960s. Five Tp2s remained in use in Warsaw until mid-1960s and these were the last engines of this type used by PKP, albeit only for switching and auxiliary duties. The last of them, Tp2-86 (Linke-Hofmann 132/1902, pre-war Tp2-84 and later 55 732), was written off in November 1966. Considerable number of these obsolete, but useful engines went to various industrial establishments; in the 1950s at least eleven were transferred to track construction and maintenance enterprises. Tp2-34 (Henschel 7409/1906), one of the last in the PKP service, withdrawn in October 1966, has been preserved and can now be seen at the Industry and Railway Museum in Jaworzyna Śląska. This engine began its life as KPEV Kassel 4719, then became Tp2-144 and fell into Soviet hands in September 1939. Captured by Germans and impressed into DRG as 55 860, it was returned in 1945. As far as I know, this is the only surviving G72. In late 2007, a 12C1 tender was discovered at military premises in Osowiec, in almost perfect condition, still with pre-war service number 12C1-466; according to available information, it once ran with a Tp2.

DB got rid of their 557-14s fairly quickly: last were written off in late 1951. With DR some survived until early 1960s and a few went to industry, but none has been preserved.


Main technical data







Years of manufacture


1895 – 1911


Total built / used in Poland


16572) / 295


Tender class




Axle arrangement




Design maximum speed




Cylinder bore


570 / 750


Piston stroke




Engine rating


575 / 780


Tractive effort


10 600


Boiler pressure




Grate dimensions

m X m

2.29 X 1.0


Firebox heating surface




Distance between tube plates


4 100


Number of flue tubes




Heating surface of flue tubes




Number of smoke tubes




Heating surface of smoke tubes




Evaporating surface, total




Superheater heating surface




Diameter of drivers




Diameter of idlers front/rear


- / -


Total weight, empty


52 550


Total weight, working order


57 400


Weight on drivers, working order


57 400


Weight with tender, empty


69 450


Weight with tender, working order


90 300


Maximum axle load




Axle base (with tender)


11 775


Overall length (with tender)


16 620


Brake type


hand / steam / Knorr / Westinghouse


1)      Other sources give 136.6 sq.m.

2)      Including eleven for Mecklemburgische Friedrich-Franz Eisenbahn.


References and acknowledgments


-       Ingo Hütter’s website;

-       TB vol.1, EZ, LP.