Product Features and Details
Model: The BR 52 Steam Locomotive features a DCC interface, can motor with flywheel, all metal frame, metal tender, bi-directional prototypical lighting and all wheel drive. Model has extensive detail and great running performance.
Prototype: Over 6700 locomotives of this type were built, mainly for use on the Eastern Front during the Second World War. It therefore has a claim to being one of the most numerous steam locomotive classes in the world. To achieve such numbers, the German locomotive manufacturers were merged into the Gemeinschaft Grossdeutscher Lokomotivhersteller (GGL), which was a subdivision of the Hauptausschuss Schienenfahrzeuge (HAS) founded in 1942. Key HAS figures were the Reichsminister for munition and armament, Albert Speer and the Reich transport minister, Julius Dorpmüller.
The class 52 was a radically simplified version of the pre-war Reichsbahn class 50 locomotive (produced 1938-1942). The simplified design of the class 52 was intended to reduce the man-hours and skills needed to make it and an adaptation to war-time shortages of materials. Additional design changes gave the locomotives and their crew better protection against the cold winters experienced on the eastern front. Between 1942 and the end of the war in May 1945 over 6300 class 52 locomotives were built. Additional locomotives were built post-war giving a class total of probably 6719 units, delivered by seventeen manufacturers.
The Class 42 was a larger version of the Class 52 and was produced in small numbers.
In the early post-war years the 52s were used by many European countries, the largest user being the Soviet Union which had more than 2100 of this type. Poland was another country with more than a thousand and East Germany had about 800 examples. The type was also quite widespread in most of the other east European nations. West European countries replaced them with more modern locos as soon as possible, with the exception of Austria where they were used until 1976. The simplicity and effectiveness as well as the large production number meant that many east European countries were slow to withdraw Kriegslokomotiven, with Poland using them until the early 1990s. Turkey and Bosnia were also late users of the type.
Wagner had wanted locomotives which were long-lasting and easy to maintain and unlike British engineers did not consider a high power-to-weight ratio a priority. The resulting Kriegslokomotiven had a low axleload of 15 tons and could haul 40% more freight than the Prussian locomotives they replaced. They could haul 4,000 tons at 80km/h without significant strain.
The GGL included the following locomotive manufacturers (including an approximate number of Class 52s produced):
LOFAG, Vienna: 1,053 units
Henschel, Kassel: 1,050 units
Schwartzkopff, Berlin: 647 units
Krauss-Maffei, Munich: 613 units
Borsig, Berlin: 542 units
Schichau-Werke, Elbing/Elblag: 505 units
Maschinenbau und Bahnbedarfs AG (MBA) formerly Orenstein & Koppel, Babelsberg: 400 units
DWM Posen/Posen: 314 units
Oberschlesische Lokfabrik Krenau/Chrzanów: 264 units
Maschinenfabrik Esslingen: 250 units
Jung, Jungenthal, Kirchen: 231 units
Škoda Works, Pilsen: 153 units
Grafenstaden, Strasbourg: 139 units
 Countries using the engine
100 were built for Romanian State Railways, becoming their Class 150.1
Over 150 were in use by the Bulgarian State Railways as Class 15.
10 were built for Turkish Republic Railways, forming the TCDD 56501 Class. Turkish Railways acquired 43 additional locos at the end of the war, these had previously been on hire.
Several have been preserved. One of these is preserved on the Nene Valley Railway in Peterborough, England. Another one is still in service with the Franconian Museum Railway in Bavaria, Germany.
The DR in East Germany had 200 machines reconstructed to the new DR Class 52.80.
74 locomotives were sent to Norway during WWII and were confiscated as war reparations following the war. One engine is extant at the Norwegian Railway Museum which has been restored by the Norwegian Railway Club.
The CSD Czechoslovak state railways used hundreds of 52s post-war, partly left here by the Nazis after the liberation in May 1945, partly brought in as war reparation and/or (re)built by the Škoda Works in Plzen. They bore designation of typová rada (type line) CSD 555; several dozen were subsequently adapted, as as the 555.3, to burn mazut, a large surplus of which was generated in Czechoslovak synthetic fuel plants by the Fischer-Tropsch method of producing petrol from brown coal, abundant here. The 555.3 differed visibly (besides the differences brought about by use of the semi-liquid fuel) also by having a lid on the smokestack to slow down cooling of the refractory lining in the flue passage, to prevent its cracking.