The class G 8.1 Prussian freight steam locomotive was a further development of the G 8. The first locomotives were delivered in 1913. While something over 1,000 units of the G 8 were built, the G 8.1 was a success like no other locomotive before it. A total of 4,934 locomotives were delivered to the Prussian Railroad Administration (KPEV) and to the German State Railroad Company (DRG). Ten units went to the Mecklenburg Friedirich Franz Railroad (MFF) and 137 units to the Alsace-Lorraine Imperial Railways.
By 1922 Linke-Hofmann had delivered 50 locomotives to the Polish State Railroad. In addition, other locomotives of this class went into the export market, among others, to the Baghdad Railroad, to Lithuania, and to Rumania. The class G 8.1 was an essential part of the German State Railroad's motive power. Even after 1945 there were still over 1,000 locomotives of this class on the roster in both parts of Germany. The locomotive with the remarkable road number 55 5555 was built as the Prussian "Magdeburg 5242" by Orenstein & Koppel and was in service until 1961 on the DB.