The BR 23 Steam Locomotive

The BR 23 Steam Locomotive

By Roger Heid


The DRG BR 23 was conceived to be a replacement for the venerable Prussian P8, later dubbed BR 38. This was back in 1941.  It had been planned to procure a total of 800 samples. But the ongoing war effort prevented this locomotive to go into full production. Only two of them were in initially built. After WW II, both remained in East Germany and were scrapped in 1967 and 1975, respectively.


It was not until 1950 for the production to be resumed in West Germany. Until 1959, a total of 105 specimens were made by Krupp, Henschel, ME and Jung. The last one, the 23-105, was, in fact, the very last German steam locomotive to enter service in West Germany. After its retirement in 1976, it was put on display at the Nuremberg Transport Museum. Unfortunately, it was damaged beyond repair during a loco shed fire in 2005. Several other samples were placed into various museums, including in Holland and Switzerland.

br-23-042-goeppingen-20-9-2009-351196     Steam_locomotive_BR_23

The axle configuration was 1’C1’ (UIC designation), or the wheel configuration 2-6-2 (Whyte notation). Forward top speed was rated at 68 mph, in reverse it could only do about 52 mph. In 1968, it was re-designated BR 023. Throughout its tenure, it underwent several modifications and improvements. It was mostly used for medium passenger and light express service. It could be seen all over West Germany, also in Holland and Switzerland. It gradually replaced most of the older BR 38’s.

Some were restored to operational condition to be used occasionally for special excursion trains, such as the 23 042 in May 2007, as seen below.


At the time of this writing, Maerklin and Trix are offering AC and DC versions of this model. There is one running around on my layout. I truly enjoy it as it is an excellent performer. It is a good addition to an Era III theme.


Maerklin and Trix Models

One Response to The BR 23 Steam Locomotive

  1. Daniel Egy says:

    Roco makes a beautiful example of this loco (Era II) in both two rail and three rail versions. I have a 3-rail one with sound. The decoder recognizes both Motorola as well as DCC.

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