88803 – DB Class V 80 Diesel Locomotive
Before World War II, large diesel locomotives were not built in Germany beyond one-off designs. Power transmission was the chief problem. The hydraulic fluid transmission developed by Föttinger passed its test in the drive system for diesel-powered rail cars on the DRG. Hydraulic power transmission was successfully used on a large diesel locomotive for the first time on road number V 140 001 built in 1935. World War II interrupted these trend-setting experiments, yet at the end of the 1940s the new German Federal Railroad faced the development of diesel locomotives with greater performance again and proceeded quickly with them. A universal unit with two trucks for medium size lines and heavy switching work was planned with a maximum axle load of 15 metric tons on branch lines. The power transmission was designed to go from the motor via a hydrodynamic transmission and universal joint shafts to the reversing and wheelset gearboxes.
The concept of the V 80 came about as a joint development of the railroad's central office in Munich and the industry: a diesel locomotive with trucks with a high-mounted center cab. The complete heating plant was under the shorter nose, and under the longer one was the motor, cooling equipment, and fuel tank. The gearbox was in the middle of the locomotive under the cab. The trucks, frame, and body were completely welded. Initially, two 800 horsepower units from Daimler-Benz or from MAN as well as a 1,000 horsepower unit from Maybach were available as motors. Five each of the V 80 were delivered in 1951/52 from Maffei and MaK. They were extensively tested as innovative pioneers of a new generation of locomotives and naturally, they also had to undergo various improvements. Important changes were the replacement of the original heating boiler by a vapor-heating unit and the replacement of the original motors by the MTU type MB 12V 493 with 1,100 horsepower output.
After unsatisfactory testing in switching work the locomotives were used in commuter service in the greater Frankfurt and Nürnberg areas, often even with shuttle trains. The operating experience soon showed that the V 80 could not to be used as a universal unit. Its performance was not enough for passenger train service and in switching operations it proved to be cumbersome and expensive. Starting in the fall of 1963, all the V 80 units were stationed at Bamberg, where they were used in almost all the services on the main lines and branch lines there. The locomotives designated starting in 1968 as the class 280 in the computer numbering system were retired as a splinter class between 1976 and 1978. Road number 280 010 went in 1977 to the Hersfeld County Railroad. Later it followed the other units to Italy with the exception of road number 280 002. The locomotives found a new life there on privately owned railroads and pulling construction trains. Initially, road number V 80 002 was preserved as a DB museum locomotive, but it was so heavily damaged in the fire at the DB's museum depot in Nürnberg-Gostenhof that what remained of it had to be scrapped on October 17, 2005. In any event, road number V 80 001 came back from Italy in October of 2005 after being purchased by a private collector. It was completely overhauled and restored technically and visually in the DB style of the 1970s. The DB Museum was able to acquire road number V 80 005 in June of 2008 as a replacement for road number V 80 002, which the steam locomotive works in Meiningen restored externally in its original paint scheme as road number 280 005 by April of 2013. Road number V 80 007 completed the round in August of 2013, when it was bought back from Ludger Guttwein's German Private Railroad, Inc. It now gleams again visually as a gem in DB red.