This locomotive is either KPEV Cöln 246 (Hartmann 1584/1889) or Elberfeld 246 (Vulcan 1003/1887); factory photo, location and date unknown. Source: www.commons.wikimedia.org.
Factory photo of the Magdeburg 323 (Vulcan 927/1885). Source: as above.
Side drawing of the P31 with the 3T10.5 tender. Source: Lokomotiv-Archiv Preußen (see References).
In 1883 the Normalization Committee of Prussian state railways KPEV (Königlich Preußische Eisenbahnverwaltung) formulated requirements for new normalized locomotive types. These included Musterblatt III 1 for express and passenger trains, based on earlier types, later classed P2, but featuring the 1-2-0 axle arrangement with braked front idle axle and boiler pressure increased from 10 to 12 bar. According to Lokomotiv-Archiv Preußen (see References), between 1884 and 1891 KPEV took delivery of 634 examples. Between 1895 and 1896 further 34 followed, fitted with slightly modified boilers, larger drivers and idlers and improved Westinghouse brakes. They were built by nine manufacturers: Henschel (281), BMAG (96), Hanomag (84), Vulcan (73), Union (52), Grafenstaden (36), Borsig (27), Hartmann (fourteen) and Schichau (five). This number includes a number of engines originally built for various private railways, later absorbed by KPEV. Very similar engines were built for other operators: Hessische Ludwigsbahn (five by Henschel and fifteen by Hanomag between 1890 and 1895), Holsteinische Marschbahn (nine by Henschel in 1887) and Königlich Preußische Militär Eisenbahn (Prussian military railway, two by Hanomag in 1895). All were latter taken over by KPEV. Lübeck-Büchener Eisenbahn obtained three examples from BMAG between 1894 and 1896. Mecklenburgische Friedrich-Franz Eisenbahn (MFFE) acquired 39 examples, built between 1888 and 1907 and classed VI, plus two more originally built for Deutsch-Nordische Lloyd. This gives the grand total of 740 locomotives; various sources give different data. Musterblatt III 1 was further developed into a variant with compound steam engine (Musterblatt III 1a, later class P32), 132 examples being built between 1887 and 1906.
In 1905 KPEV engines were given new service numbers in the 1601 to 1700 range; later they were classed P31. Typically they were coupled with 3T10.5 or 3T12 three-axle tenders. Their maximum speed, initially set at 90 km/h, was later reduced to 75 km/h. Despite considerable number built and widespread use, their service life was comparatively short, at least with KPEV, as they were quickly surpassed by more modern types (classes P41 and P42), which offered higher tractive effort and better running qualities. Withdrawals from mainline service started around 1910. Provisional DRG re-numeration plan of 1923 included twelve ex-KPEV engines, for which numbers 34 7301 through 7312 were reserved; all, however, were withdrawn before 1925. Eventually DRG took over only 22 MFFE engines, numbered 34 7301 through 7308 and 34 7351 through 7364. All were withdrawn until 1930.
After WWI Polish State Railways PKP took over nineteen P31s. However, the 1927 list of locomotive types, issued by the Ministry of Transport, gives only thirteen, classed Oc1. Most probably six had already been withdrawn when new designation system came into use. Assignment of service numbers to individual examples is not known. All of these obsolete engines were withdrawn before 1936. No P31 has been preserved.
Main technical data
Note: data for the KPEV variant with 3T10.5 tender, in brackets for later production examples with Westinghouse brakes coupled with 3T12 tenders.
1) Only 13 actually classed Oc1.
2) Later reduced to 75 km/h.
References and acknowledgments
- Lokomotiv-Archiv Preußen by Andreas Wagner, Dieter Bäzold, Rainer Zschech and Ralph Lüderitz (Bechtermünz Verlag, 1996);
- Ingo Hütter’s website www.lokomotive.de/lokomotivgeschichte/datenbank;
- LP, TB vol. 1.