On the Design Principles of Post-WWII Steam Locomotives

World War II left the railroad systems in many of the participating countries devastated to a greater or lesser extent.  In some cases, much of the rolling stock had been destroyed with most of the remainder badly worn.  Even though the advantages of Diesel or electric locomotives were already widely appreciated in 1945, a number of circumstances led to the design and manufacture of new steam locomotives for near-term use.

Though varying from nation to nation, within a given country common design principles were often applied to the new steam locomotive design efforts.  Design principles (Baugrundsätze in German) prescribe certain design aspects – for example, the use of welded frames built up from sheet metal, welded boilers with large fire box heating surfaces and relatively small grate area dimensions, the use of fully enclosed drivers cabs, etc. in the case of West-German designs.

This paper reviews the situations in those countries in which considerable numbers of new steam locomotives were designed and built after WWII:  Great Britain, Czechoslovakia, West Germany, East Germany, Poland and the United States.  It discusses the conditions the respective railroad systems were in at the end of WWII and the plans to rebuild them.  To the extent that design principles had been published, they are described and commented on in detail.

This paper precedes a yet to be finalized, much more comprehensive paper on the state of the art of steam locomotive design at the end of its development.