Oi2-29 + 16C1-11, PKP, Zajączkowo Tczewskie loco depot, Poland, March 16, 2002.
Another picture of this machine, taken on the same occasion.
DR class 24 side drawing by K.-E. Hertam (TB vol.1).
Oi2-26, photographed in
DRG 24 018 (Schichau 3133/1928), photo from my collection. This engine after WWII went to DB and was withdrawn in December 1961.
Oi2-9, former 24 040 (Schichau 3148/1928), photographed in Miłobądz on March 20, 1975. Photo by Roman Witkowski (postcard from my collection). Oi2-9 was withdrawn a few months later, in November.
DR 24 004, Magdeburg, August 28, 1985. This engine (Schichau 3119/1927), withdrawn in 1971 and preserved, is currently owned by Sächsisches Eisenbahnmuseum, Chemnitz-Hilbersdorf. Photo by Martin Stertz (from my collection).
Oi2-20 (ex 24 082), Schichau 3322/1938, photographed in Tczew on August 9, 1973. This locomotive was withdrawn in December 1973. Photo by Tadeusz Suchorolski (from my collection).
In 1920 all railway services in German lands merged to form new Deutsche Reichsbahn Gesellschaft (DRG). As it might be expected, equipment unification immediately became a major problem, as all previously independent national companies had ordered locomotives and rolling stock in accordance with their own specific demands, so DRG roster represented a collection of various types, often obsolete. Many of these engines were promptly withdrawn and scrapped (1515 locomotives in 1924 alone) and obviously new ones had to follow. A special commission for locomotive design unification was formed and its activity was to have a profound influence on German locomotives between two world wars and appearance of new, standardized types.
Among others, a light steam locomotive for local traffic was necessary. It was intended for service on secondary lines, so axle load was limited to 15 tonnes, quite low by German standards. Such machine, designated class 24, with 1-3-0 axle arrangement, was ordered in 1924 and built at F.Schichau in Elbing (now Elbląg, Poland) in 1927. Many elements (including boilers, wheels and cylinders) were the same as used in class 64 light tank locomotives (axle arrangement 1-3-1). New machine proved successful and was soon ordered in quantity. Production was continued until 1940 and, despite such long period, only 95 examples were built, most of them by Schichau (67) – the rest came from Borsig (2), Hanomag (8), Henschel (5), Krupp (6) and Linke-Hofmann (7). Orders for further twenty machines were cancelled in 1940. This diversification was the result of deliberate policy to keep German locomotive industry running even during crisis years. Later examples had several modifications, including larger smoke lifters (from 24 064 onwards) and idle axle brakes. Most machines had 3T16 tenders, but last 25 examples had larger 3T17s. Several improvements were also tested. 24 069 and 24 070 had high-pressure (25 bar) boilers, which proved generally successful (in service, however, boiler pressure was reduced to 20 bar – mainly for safety reasons). 24 064 was later fitted with Krauss-Helmholtz lead truck (instead of Bissel-type idle axle). Running qualities improved and maximum speed was increased to 100 km/h, but this feature was not introduced in further examples, as production of this type was terminated (orders for 24 096 through 24 115 were cancelled).
Class 24 proved most useful on long, flat routes with small gradients, so most of these machines were used in the northern and north-eastern parts of Germany, mainly Pomerania and Eastern Prussia. In 1945 a number of these machines were taken over by Poland; PKP rosters from October 1946 list 31 examples, later designated Oi2. Not all of them were serviceable (for example, in October 1948 only 24). A few damaged locomotives were also taken over, but only three were given PKP service numbers. 51 (some sources give 53) machines remained in Germany. Most of them served with DB (withdrawn 1966); DR had only five machines that survived in service for two years more. The final fate of several examples remains unknown – most probably they remained in the Königsberg area and later fell into Russian hands. Some sources give that a number of machines (eight?) found in Poland were also handed over to the USSR shortly after the war, so total number of these machines in Poland had been 42. If that is true, there is no trace of these ‘additional’ machines ever being given PKP service numbers.
First three Oi2s were withdrawn in 1951; most probably, however, these were unserviceable machines which had service numbers allocated but in fact had never been put into use. The rest remained in operation for much longer, being based in northern Poland and thus remaining more or less where they had previously served with DRG. Modifications in the PKP service were few and included removing feedwater heaters and steam bells and fitting new, flat smoke-box doors. Oi2s gave useful, if inconspicuous service with light passenger and suburban trains; later some were used as switchers. Withdrawals began in 1968 and last two examples (Oi2-29 and Oi2-31) remained in use until 1976. The former of these (ex-DRG 24 092, Schichau 3419/1939) has been preserved in good condition at the locomotive depot at Zajączkowo Tczewskie and can be seen there (sometimes you only have to persuade the guardsman to let you in...). Oi2-22 (ex-DRG 24 083, Schichau 3323/1938, withdrawn in 1974) was sold to the German Eisenbahn-Kurier in 1975. This engine was operated, with its original designation restored, by Dampfzugbetriebgemeinschaft Hildesheim, until 2008. Two more examples (24 004, Schichau 3119/1927, and 24 009, Schichau 3124/1928) have been preserved in Germany, in Chemnitz and Zeven, respectively. The latter is still in working order. Thus, four examples of 95 have survived through WWII and demise of steam traction on European tracks: not a bad result...
Main technical data
1) Some (8?) later handed over to the
References and acknowledgments
- Monographic article by Roman Witkowski (SK vol. 2/2000);
- Ingo Hütter’s locomotive database (available at www.lokomotive.de);
- SK, various issues.