previous cab rides with our modernised steam locomotive 52 8055

unforgettable memories

The steam locomotive 52 8055 of the Railway Friends Zollernbahn e.V. (EFZ) was extensively overhauled and modernised in 1998/99 at the then Swiss Locomotive & Machine Works SLM in Winterthur. It was to pull the popular NIOE (Nostalgia-Istanbul-Orient-Express) trains of the travel agency Mittelthurgau in an attractive but environmentally friendly way (without smoke and soot) for about 200 operating days. Romanticism without soot was the motto, because the coal particles that penetrated the window cracks during the rides with traditional steam locomotives did not really fit in with the exquisite five-course menus. There were also complaints from local residents about the smoke.

From 23 December 1998 to 23 March 1999, extensive test and load runs with freight trains weighing up to 880 tonnes were carried out in the Frauenfeld sugar factory area and on the SBB line from Winterthur to Romanshorn. On 25 March 1999 the Swiss Railway SBB approved operation for public. Already on April 2, 1999, the 52 8055 was used commercially for the first time pulling the NIOE coaches. On this first trip, the coal-fired, not modernised 52 7596 of the EFZ provided the photographers with introductory footage. Subsequent journeys were made without credits. On 1 August 1999, during another trip on the NIOE (625 t), a crack was discovered in a crossbeam of the tender, the repair of which required a longer stay in the workshop. During the load test run on January 28, 2000, the 52 8055 suffered a slight engine damage, the cause of which is still unknown today. While the damage was repaired at SLM and an annoying roar of the oil firing system was repaired, the Mittelthurgau travel agency went bankrupt for unrelated reasons. Then, SLM's engineering department got sold and the workshop henceforth operated under the name Sulzer Winpro. The repaired 52 8055 was towed to Tübingen on May 19, 2002 in working order and parked there. Because of the missing German approval at that time, the EFZ could not use the locomotive in Germany, and in Switzerland the NIOE coaches were no longer available.

The moderate interest of Winpro in steam technology caused the SLM steam team to make an MBO in mid 2000 with the foundation of the Dampflokomotiv- und Maschinenfabrik DLM AG. One of the goals was to reinstate the 52 8055, the most modern standard gauge steam locomotive in the world. DLM acquired the 52 8055 from EFZ, after which the locomotive was towed to the Wil depot on 11 September 2003. The locomotive was quickly recommissioned and on 3 December 2003, the 52 8055 was presented at Zurich main station together with five Orient Express coaches. The first commercial journey of the 52 8055 with the Orient-Express under the new ownership was technically successful. Nevertheless, no further journeys took place because the coaches were permanently relocated to Austria. To prevent the 52 8055 from standing idle again, DLM began to organise its own trips. The following list gives an overview of the journeys so far.