The Gorgeous DRB Class 03.10 Steam Train

In the 1930s, the pursuit of speed was a significant focus in locomotive design. Wind tunnel tests revealed that locomotives could achieve higher speeds when equipped with streamlined fairings.

The initial experiments were conducted with locomotive 03 154, where the running gear and drive unit were covered for this purpose. The locomotive 03 193 received a full fairing, following the trend set by the fully streamlined Class 05 and 61.

This locomotive was designated as a backup for the 05 series. The streamlining resulted in a 50% reduction in air resistance, a fact validated through measurements. In 1936, the decision was made to construct fully streamlined locomotives, including the triple-engine series 01.10 and the steam locomotive BR 03.10.

These locomotive series were paired with the 2’2′ T34 tender, which was also fully streamlined. The units produced by Borsig, Krupp, and Krauss-Maffei initially featured complete engine skirts. However, due to issues with engine cooling, the Krupp-manufactured locomotives were later produced with only partial fairing around the engine area.

In 1941, Henschel delivered a fully paneled test locomotive with single-axle drive, serial number 25,000,
In 1941, Henschel delivered a fully paneled test locomotive with single-axle drive, serial number 25,000,

Around 1942, the full fairing beneath the circuit on earlier models was removed, aligning them with the partially faired design. The operational numbers for these locomotives ranged from 03 1001 to 1022, 03 1043 to 1060, and 03 1073 to 1092.


Following World War II, 45 of these locomotives remained in Germany. The Deutsche Bundesbahn (DB) acquired 26, and the Deutsche Reichsbahn (DR) in the later German Democratic Republic (GDR) took 19. The Polish State Railways (PKP) received nine locomotives, reclassified as the Pm3 class.

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The locomotive 03 1092 was retired in 1944 due to war damage. Additionally, three locomotives were sent to the Soviet Union. The maximum speed capabilities of the locomotives were limited post-war due to damage inflicted on the tracks during the conflict.

The streamlined shells of the locomotives became impractical post-war, as reduced speeds on main lines and maintenance challenges led to their removal, except for DR’s 03 1087. Most of the DR and DB engines underwent significant rebuilds, except for 03 1047, 1097, and 1086 (DR), which were retired before these modifications.

The boilers of these locomotives, made from the non-aging St47K steel, deteriorated over time, leading to a catastrophic incident on 10 October 1958 when the boiler of locomotive 03 1046 exploded due to aging. Consequently, the Deutsche Reichsbahn was compelled to replace these boilers with newly designed ones.

After the end of the Second World War 45 locomotives remained in Germany
After the end of the Second World War 45 locomotives remained in Germany

Additionally, various other components were updated to enhance the engines’ efficiency. This extensive overhaul justified the term ‘Rekolok’ (reconstructed locomotive). In 1959, a total of 16 engines underwent this reconstruction process.

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Earlier, in 1952, locomotive 03 1087 was modified to utilize the Wendler brown coal dust firing system. However, this system proved ineffective for passenger train services, leading to its reversion in 1959. Starting from 1965, all Rekoloks, except 03 1057 and 1087, were converted to oil-firing.

These three-cylinder express train engines, capable of covering up to 13,000 miles per month, remained the flagship of DR’s premium express train services until their decommissioning in the late 1970s. Notably, number 03 1010 has been preserved as a museum locomotive by DB AG, stationed in Halle and actively used in heritage services, having been reverted to coal-firing. Another preserved specimen is the non-operational, oil-fired 03 1090, displayed at the former locomotive depot (Bahnbetriebswerk or Bw) in Schwerin.

Deutsche Bundesbahn

During 1949 and 1950, Henschel in Kassel undertook the refurbishment of the 26 Class 03.10 locomotives that were in the possession of the Deutsche Bundesbahn. A significant aspect of this refurbishment was the removal of the streamlined shells from all the locomotives, primarily because they were in poor condition.

Despite these changes, these engines retained distinctive features that set them apart from the Class 03, such as the clearly visible steam dome, the modified smokebox door, the flat superheater regulator (Erhebung), the air reservoirs, the absence of the front skirt, and the unique design of the driver’s cab and tender.

03 1010 from the side
03 1010 from the side

After their refurbishment, these locomotives were primarily based in Dortmund, Ludwigshafen, and Offenburg. Notably, in June 1950, three engines stationed at the locomotive depot (Bw Dortmund), with the numbers 03 1014, 03 1022, and 03 1043, received a special steel blue paint scheme on their boilers, cabs, and cylinder blocks, while the smokebox and chimney were kept in black.

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In 1952, most of these locomotives underwent a modification where the feedwater preheater was relocated back to the area near the chimney, and they were fitted with a circular smokebox door. During the general inspection in 1954, locomotives 03 1014, 03 1022, and 03 1043 were stripped of their distinctive steel blue livery.


As the locomotives’ boilers began showing significant signs of wear, Krupp was tasked with replacing them with welded boilers featuring a combustion chamber. Concurrently, the locomotives were equipped with newly designed tenders complete with covers and supply equipment. These upgrades were carried out at the repair shop (Ausbesserungswerk or AW) in Brunswick between 1957 and 1961.

The former no. 03 1010 is a museum locomotive retained as part of the DB fleet.

In the fall of 1958, all 26 engines were relocated to the locomotive depot (Bw) in Hagen-Eckesey, following previous stints in Hamburg-Altona and Paderborn.

The engines involved in this move were numbers 03 1001, 1004, 1008, 1009, 1011–1014, 1016, 1017, 1021, 1022, 1043, 1045, 1049–1051, 1054–1056, 1060, 1073, 1076, 1081, 1082, and 1084. Between November 1965 and September 1966, all of the Class 03.10 locomotives were phased out, retired, and eventually scrapped.


The locomotive formerly numbered 03 1010 is now a museum piece, part of the DB (Deutsche Bahn) collection. It is stationed at the old railway depot in Halle P, which is part of the DB Museum in Halle (Saale).

The maintenance and upkeep of this locomotive are overseen by the Railway Social Work Foundation (BSW) Group, Traditionsgemeinschaft Bw Halle P BSW, with financial support from the Society for the Preservation of Schnellzugdampflok 03 1010. Following its major inspection in 2011 at the Meiningen Steam Locomotive Works, this locomotive is actively used to pull special railway services across Germany.

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Another piece of railway heritage is the non-operational, oil-fired locomotive numbered 03 1090, also preserved as a museum locomotive and part of the DB collection. This locomotive is currently on loan to the Mecklenburg Railway and Technology Museum, situated in the former engine shed at Schwerin Central Station.

Additionally, the streamlined 03 1015 is currently in the possession of PKP (Polish State Railways) and is exhibited as a non-operational display at the Warsaw Railway Museum.