Sheer Power in Double Time -
The first Bavarian class Gt 2 x 4/4 units delivered in 1913 were the most powerful steam locomotives of their time. The articulated Mallet design enabled a previously unachievable tractive effort despite a low axle load and excellent running characteristics on curves. These units were able to pull heavy freight trains on Bavaria's steep grades without double heading. This enabled clearly faster and more economical train times over the difficult steep grades. The Mallet design used for the class Gt 2 x 4/4 was based on a compound cylinder running gear in which the rear group of driving wheels mounted rigidly in the frame was supplied with high pressure steam. After the steam was expelled from their cylinders it was fed through an articulated steam line to the low pressure cylinders for the front group of driving wheels, which were mounted to pivot.
In 1922 a second production run of 10 units followed the first 15 locomotives. These locomotives were more powerful by 10 percent thanks to design improvements in the boiler, to the cylinders, and to the smoke box and the upward draft system on the smoke stack. They were taken over by the DRG as the class 96.0. This version was also equipped with a larger coal bunker behind the engineer's cab in order to extend the locomotive's range. These design changes and the standard DRG black paint scheme clearly differentiated the class 96 from the units in the first provincial railroad production run.