Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The one that was never built... or was it ?

In 1943, Berlin based Borsig started working on a new locomotive, bigger and longer and heavier than anything the DR had seen.

The Borsig Mallet, or 3rd Kriegslok (or third war austerity locomotove) would have weighed in at 140 tons and measure nearly 90 ft (27,350 mm) from buffer-to-buffer, unfortunately a bit too long for the standard 75 ft (23 meter) turntables. The five-axle tender would have been in keeping with the locomotive's anticipated voracious appetite and therefore contain 15 tons of coal and 9,246 gal (35 m3 ) of water.

Some say it never passed the drawing table. As a matter of fact The Borsig history for 1943 notes that the company’s facilities in Hennigsdorf near Berlin were heavily damaged by air raids and therefore continuing with locomotive construction was not possible. It was possible to finish two Kriegsloks in January 1944. Also, it was possible to carry out some locomotive repairs. One source notes that by war’s end in April 1945 only about 25 percent of the company’s machine tools were in working order.

On the other hand, the Marklin catalogue of 1988-89 is quoting an ex-Borsig engineer, Karl-Heinz Golze, saying : "At Borsig I saw with my own eyes the first assembly work for this locomotive." "The cylinder mounts could be seen easily. The frame was finished. I walked on it myself." There was a little to see of the tender and the cab as there was of the cylinders but the lathe operators had already worked on the wheel sets. The boiler was also in progress. Golze cannot conceive that the locomotive was ever totally finished or even under steam. He also does not know what became of the parts under construction. "I was drafted in the summer of 1944. Much happened after that and also during the chaotic postwar period that followed. The bottom line is that he never set foot in the Borsig factory again.

BR53 (photo-scheme / detail), Marklin, Germany, 1989

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