The BR 24 Steam Locomotive

The BR 24 Steam Locomotive

By Roger Heid


This engine was the smallest Standard Steam Locomotive with a pull behind tender developed for the DRG, during the era after the railroad unification in Germany. It was designed to be used for intermediate and local passenger service in the flat regions of Prussia.


Between 1928 and 1939, a total of 95 were built by 5 different German manufacturers. Looking at the picture, you can tell she was a 1’C (UIC classification) or a 2-6-0 (Whyte notation). Her top speed was rated at about 56 mph by putting all her 950 hp to full use. At the time, this was quite respectable for a steam loco of that relatively small size. Consequently, she was nicknamed ‘Steppenpferd’, aka ‘Prairie Pony’. Some versions feature the Witte style wind deflector;  some had Wagner deflectors.


Often she was seen pulling the famous, maybe infamous, ‘Donnerbuechse’ (Thunder Box) passenger cars. These cars were called that because riding on them was noisy and bumpy. They were of some sort of steel construction, easily and economically built; the suspension was not known to provide utter comfort. On local service lines, the passengers were not expected to linger in them until doomsday, anyway. Those cars proved to be real survivors; they could go a long way before they needed any significant maintenance.




It appears that, during WW II, 19 of them had fallen victim to warfare. In West Germany, the DB took over 38 of them. The last one was retired in 1966. Poland took charge of 34 samples. The last one was finally taken out of service in 1976. In East Germany, the DR wound up with only four of them. They were retired in 1968. Three BR 64’s haven been preserved in Germany, one in Poland.

Right alongside the BR 24, the BR 64 was developed. (See BR 64 blog). Some engineers felt that, for short runs, a pull behind tender would be redundant. The rear mounted coal box and the side mounted water tanks would be sufficient for the purpose of this type locomotive. Maintaining nearly identical specifications, the BR 64 could be produced in a significantly more economical fashion. Between the two, the drive system and boiler design were basically the same. Hence, 520 of them were made.


BR 64 – A trailer axle was added to support the weight of the coal box.

On my layout, sometimes there is a BR 24, happily pulling a few Thunderboxes. Very sweet! In my neck of the woods, where I commuted to school, Thunder Boxes were a daily staple. BR 24’s were rarely seen, however. Longer trains were usually dragged by BR 38’s, if the 64 could not do it. Whenever I am in a nostalgic mood, I put my 38 in front of the Thunder Boxes, reminiscing the ups and downs of my High School years. Sometimes, I put one of my 64’s in front of the train.

Unfortunately, Maerklin does not currently have a BR 24 in stock, anymore. I do not know if anyone else is currently offering this model in a DC 2-rail version. You may be lucky to find one. Maybe, it comes back.

Please, do not post questions in the Blog System. Go to the Forum, instead.

Thank you!

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