We have selected beautiful and spectacular real-world models for our series. Our 3D graphic artists have been digging deep into our archives and found the Bavarian S 2/6, the English Mallard and the French BB 9004, which was once the world’s fastest rail vehicle for over 50 years.
The Bavarian S2/6
The Bavarian S2/6 was specifically constructed in 1906 for record-breaking journeys. Without compromise, all of its features were designed for speed: the wheel arrangement 2’B’2 was chosen, so that the engine ran smoothly even at high speed, while only two very large driving wheels were powered. This made it clear that acceleration and tractive force wouldn’t be optimal for daily operation. It did however prove itself as the prestige project of the Royal Bavarian National Railways: on 2nd July 1907 between the cities of Augsburg and Munich, the Bavarian S2/6 set the German speed record for steam engines with a thrilling 154,5 km/h.
Following this record, it was also used in day-to-day train travel. As a unit, people didn’t quite get on well with it, so it was pushed off to the palatinate. It was used there as an express train between 1910 and 1922. That’s also when it was given the brown-purple paint that we have also used for our model.
Three years after its return to Bavaria, it was refurbished and given the typically Bavarian green paint and transferred to the traffic museum in Nuremberg. It can still be seen there today.
Because of its symmetric wheel arrangement, the huge driving wheels, its aerodynamic design and delicate build, it is very popular among railway fans as one of the most beautiful engines ever.
The Bavarian S2/6 as the most beautiful engine in the world? A fair number of railway fans will disagree here. And not only a few of them believe the English Mallard to be the most beautiful iron horse of all time. This LNER A4 series engine was built in 1938. It was used on the Silver Jubilee Express. In contrast to many other record-breaking engines, it was an unmodified engine of its kind. The record journey is however questioned by some experts, including the engine’s constructor Sir Nigel Greasley himself. The LNER A4 was mostly based on the engineering of the LNER A3, of which the Flying Scotsman is the most prominent example. Its boiler was however modified in the sense that only one combustion chamber was used. Other details like the aerodynamic fairing, valve sizes and cylinder diameter had been adjusted. The Mallard was the first engine of the series that was fitted with a Kylchap exhaust.
The record journey took place on 3rd July 1938. The first attempt already became a success. The record that was to be broken was set two years earlier by the German Series 05 with a speed of 200.4 km/h. The Mallard hauled six passenger cars and one test waggon, which is 3 waggons or 43 tons more than the Series 05 during its trial. It did however travel on a slightly precipitous track. The speed was recorded using multiple gauges, showing values between 201 and 203 km/h (124,9 to 126 mph). New tests of the speedometers have shown that the Mallard will have beaten the speed record of the Series 05 in any case.
In the browsergame Rail Nation the mallard is available as alternative production series for the Boar.
The BB 9004
The new Medusa series is French-inspired. In 1955 a number of DC electric engine prototypes were built in France. They had many new parts which needed testing, ranging from the engine to bogies. During the tests, the engines were so successful and their performance so great, that it was decided to attempt to break a world record.
In March 1955 two engines that were to break the record were selected. The four-axle BB 9004 and the six-axle CC 7107. The pantographs turned out to be the biggest problem. The track that was selected for the trials was straight with only one slight bend, but the contact wires were sagging considerably due to the great distance between the masts. This problem was to be overcome by running the trials very early in the morning and with the lowest possible temperatures.
On 29th March 1955 the CC 7107 started off and set a new record right away. It reached a speed of 326 km/h (202.6 mph). During the trial parts of the pantograph melted, bringing an end to further trials. Then came the BB 9004‘s turn. Already at a speed of 290 km/h the wearing strip of the pantograph melted away. However, unlike during the preceding trial, the second pantograph was simply connected. This bold measure proved successful: with a speed of 331 km/h the BB 9004 set a new speed world record for rail vehicles, which was to last for an incredible 51 years. As both engines reached nearly the same speed and the CC 7107 only had one pentograph, it was decided to accredit this record to both of them. That also allowed both engine constructors to safe face.
The record was only broken in 2006. You will find out soon which engine and if you will soon be able to use it in Rail Nation!