Flirting with an Old BR 94 (T16.1)

Flirting with an Old BR 94 (T 16.1)

By Roger Heid

 

During the 1961 summer vacation, a couple of classmates and I happened to hang around in the Geislingen area, a famous ancient town near Stuttgart. We were looking for fossils we needed for a pending school project. In the hills near Geislingen, one could find plenty of all kinds of fossils.

The area was also famous for the ‘Geislinger Steige’ (Geislingen Climb), a 3.2 mile stretch of railroad track, winding up the low hills of the area. Over its length, the tracks climb about 350 feet at a rate of 1:44.5, which is 2.25%. In some spots, the curve radius is less than 300 feet. Often, pusher locomotives were used to get the trains up that hill.

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Building on the right is the Train Station

In the background you can see railroad tracks going up the hill

After we had our fill of fossils, we decided to go to the railroad station restaurant to have a couple of wieners and a beer. We had about an hour before a bus would take us back home. After the meal, my two companions resorted to assess their fossil finds. Me, well, I needed to go to where the trains are; some train will wait for me.

Sure enough! On a siding, there was a freight train, consisting of six box cars, headed by a steam locomotive the likes of which I had never seen before. She was a tank loco with, in my opinion, too many wheels for her overall size. Somehow, at first glance, she reminded me of an overgrown centipede that had not grown to its full length. The loco plate told me it was a BR 94.

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The engineer, a friendly one, approached and joined me in gawking at every detail of this loco, just as if he had never seen it before himself. Yeah right! He explained to me that this loco was not normally on this line. She was temporarily assigned until a diesel loco would return from maintenance. He let me climb into the cab, but would not let me touch anything. He was finicky, I think.

Time was up; I had to return to where the boys are. No, Connie Francis was not with me on that day. Just her song went through my head, all day long. It was quite popular during those days.

The BR 94 was initially designated T16.1. From 1913 to 1924, several manufacturers built 1242 units for the Prussian state railways. Six of them were procured by France. They were put to service by the French Imperial Railways in Alsace-Lorraine. Some others went to Belgium.

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After WW I, the DRG re-designated these locos DRG Class 94.5-17. A few of them were given to Poland where they were re-designated TKw2. After WW II, a total of 43 stayed in Austria, but 29 of them were given to Hungary. In Austria, the remaining 14 were named OBB Class 694.

A lot of them stayed in East Germany, designated Class 94.1. West Germany also had its share. The DB called them BR 94; after 1968, their plate read 094. Those were retired in 1974.

Right from the start, the T 16.1 was intended for heavy shunting duty. A look at the wheel configuration suggests that this locomotive would not be a fast one. Instead, she’d be able to haul quite a load at a moderate pace. It turned out she was an excellent hill climber, just like her bigger sister, the venerable BR 85. Hence, this T 16.1 also saw a lot of line service, hauling moderate loads in hilly country. Its top speed was a mere 30 mph.

Of course, quite often, there is a Maerklin BR 94 running around on my layout. It works extremely well, has all the bells and whistles, and I just love it. It hauls 6 brown 2-axle box cars over an imaginary hill. You might want to know; I call it the ‘Connie Francis Train’. It resembles exactly what I saw on that day in summer of 1961, her song in my ears, for most of the day.

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Trix offers a 2-rail DC model. It has the French road name SNCF (Societe Nationale des Chemins de Fer -> National Railroad Society). The French call this loco a Series 050TA. I don’t know if Roco makes one.

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As you can see, this loco has quite a history behind it. If you choose one for your layout, you will definitely not be sorry. It is a joy to watch her do her job.

 

 

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