The Bavarian G 5/5 Steam Locomotive

The Bavarian G 5/5 Steam Locomotive

By Roger Heid


Now let us take a look at another Era I old timer, namely the Bavarian G5/5 steam locomotive. During the years leading up to WW I, the rapidly increasing freight traffic in Northern Bavaria prompted the K.Bay.St.B to replace the older 4 axled E I and G 4/5 locos as they were unable to handle the increased work load. They just didn’t have enough oomph.

Maffei was commissioned to design a more powerful locomotive. In 1911, the first 15 G5/5s were delivered. She was the first Bavarian freight engine featuring a super heater. The axle configuration was D (UIC notation); the wheel configuration was 0-10-0 (Whyte notation). The top speed was rated at about 38 mph.


During initial operation she proved to be sturdy, reliable and fairly fuel efficient, quite up to the imposed task. As a result, an improved and even more powerful version was developed; a total of 80 of those were procured from 1920 until 1924. At the time, she was considered to be the most powerful freight engine of all German railroad lines. Even the Prussian G 10s and G 12s were no match.

After WW I, there were seven of the original batch left. They and all 80 of the second batch were taken over by the DRG and were re-designated BR 57.

Nearing the end of the decade, the worsening worldwide economical crisis caused a lot of these locos to be prematurely taken out of service, in spite of their quality and relative newness. The G5/5 was not the only loco type falling victim to this hastened demise. Several other types were retired as well. In addition, more powerful steam locomotives had been developed, in the meantime. Expanding electrification did not help this situation either.

After WW II, twenty were still in service, but they were retired by 1947, except of a few, operated by the West German DB. The last one was scrapped in 1953.


Maerklin and Trix are both offering models of this rather handsome steam locomotive in 3-rail AC and 2-rail DC versions, respectively. If you model Eras I and II, it is well worth considering. I have put one on my wish list.


One Response to The Bavarian G 5/5 Steam Locomotive

  1. Roger says:

    As I said, I put one on my wish list. Just now I made my wish come true and ordered one. I’m sure glad I did. I got the version without sound.

    It is very well detailed and executed. It is an excellent performer. It pulls 12 two-axle cars for me without any problem. That is all it will ever be tasked to do. It does have four traction tires and it is heavier than you might expect at first glance.

    Maerklin did a very good job on that one.

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