Steam locomotive 1.20

 © Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Collection Area
Traffic & Transport
1850 - 1899

Up until the 20th century steam power was the main source of energy for the railways. Set in motion, the kkStB 1.20 illustrates how this key technology works.

For more than 43 years the 1.20 gave good reliable service. Thereafter the locomotive was cut open at the Federal Railways workshops in Linz for exhibition at the Technisches Museum Wien (Vienna Technical Museum). The wheels could be set in motion by an electric drive system. Whenever the locomotive is brought to life during a demonstration the interplay of cylinders, sliders and rods remains just as fascinating today. It is the largest demonstration exhibit at the Technisches Museum.

The Floridsdorf Locomotive Works built the locomotive as model AR 254 for the privately operated Kronprinz-Rudolf Railway. Two years later the railway line was integrated into the Imperial Royal Austrian State Railways and the locomotive was renamed kkStB 1.20. It changed names again several times after World War I, operating as DÖStB 1.20, ÖStB 1.20 and finally BBÖ 1.20.

With their large wheels and elegant lines, express locomotives have a distinctive appearance. The design of the 1.20 built in 1883 is typical of the late 19th century. It was modelled on the Rittinger built by the Wiener Neustadt Locomotive Works, which featured at the Universal Exposition of 1873. This particular design with two driven axles and a leading bogie remained in production for over 30 years.

The two driven wheels are set within the frame panels so the boiler can be positioned as low as possible. However this design principle is based on an error. Experts believed that a low-lying boiler would guarantee a smooth run on the tracks. Though, this was achieved only by the large locomotives of the post-1900 era with their very high-lying boilers.

Inv.Nr. 40524/1

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