Category Archives: OBB

OBB Class 1043.010 “Valousek”: FR 43.131.01

OBB’s class 1043 entered service in Austria in 1971, it looks a lot like the SJ series of Rc locos because it is. Following very successful test runs 10 units were eventually ordered. Based on the Rc’s thyristor technology this locomotive type has proven itself for many years as a reliable design, it is even included as a locomotive type in the United States.

The proposal to build this loco by FR was made by Z-Friends International thus it was released on a limited basis for their members and those who placed pre-orders, its second release will be made this Fall.

Variations of the SJ Rc series locomotive have included changes to roof equipment, color scheme and general appearance, and it is represented by FR for SJ and OBB railways only at this time. Exceptional detailing: even the mirrors are silvered and reflective.

As part of the classification it is called a “Valousek” locomotive as it is named after the designer of the logo and color scheme Wolfgang Valousek.

BR 52: Marklin’s 8 versions in Z

German steam locomotive BR 52 for Deutsche Reichsbahn (DR) is the “Kriegslok” or war time locomotive. Germany intended to build 15,000 of these locos during wartime, but only 7000 were actually produced in car shops across Occupied Europe. The 2-10-0 wheel arrangement comprising small wheels allowed for heavy freight haulage on lightweight tracks. After the war the class 52 which was never intended as a long lasting locomotive design thrived in service in many countries after World War II, it is still claimed to be in service today (74 years as of 2016). The design of the locomotive included several operational as well as economic build characteristics including the fully enclosed cab which allowed a level of comfort in cold weather climates most notably for Germany’s incursion into Russia during the war, tenders that recycled exhaust steam back into water, and water tanks built frame-less to cut costs. The original BR 52 included smoke deflectors, but versions also existed without the deflectors as can be seen in Marklin’s mini-club versions.

BR 52 specs: wheel arrangement- 2-10-0, designer and builder- Hauptausschuss Schienenfahrzeuge, 1942 (1st one of approximately 7000 built), 2 cylinders/232 psi (boiler pressure)/ 55 inch wheel diameter, maximum speed 50 mph.

Marklin translated the BR 52 locomotive into 8 versions for Z including examples from Germany, France and Austria with examples from Era II-IV.

Marklin’s 8 versions include: 8883 (1996-1998) BR 052 DB, 88830 (2015) BR 52 DB, 88831 (1997-2003) BR 52 DB, 88832 (Insider-1997) BR 52 DRG, 88833 (1998) Serie 150 Y SNCF, 88834 (1999) BR 52 OBB Epoch III, 88835 (Insider-1999) BR 52 DB Epoch III, and 88836 (2001-2008) BR 52 DRG Epoch III.

88833: Serie 150 Y SNCF 88833_2

88834: BR 52 OBB  88834_2

88836: BR 52 DRG 88836_2

Siding: under repair notes see 5 pole motor upgrade for 88833 + 88834

Austrian Locomotive Numbering System

The current Austrian locomotive numbering system has been in place since 1985. In brief the numbering for each locomotive can be determined by reviewing 3 charts for each digit followed in some cases by a computer check digit.

1st Digit – Traction Code: 0-steam locos, 1-electric locos, 2- diesel locos, 3- steam railcars, 4- electric multiple unit, 5- diesel multiple unit, 6- driving trailers, 7- intermediate trailers, 8- (NA), 9- tenders

2nd Digit – Origin Code: 0-5- Austrian and German standard, 6-8- pre-DRB, 9- foreign types. For electrics: 0-7- AC, 8- AC/DC, 9- DC. Note: 1 is added to the second digit to represent developments of a type thus a Class 1116 is a further development of Class 1016.

3rd and 4th Digit – Utilization Code:  Steam Locomotives – 01-39- passenger tender, 40-59- freight tender, 60-79- passenger tank, 80-96- freight tank, 97- rack fitted, and 98-99- narrow gauge. Diesel Locomotives – 01-19- express over 2000hp, 20-39- heavy freight over 2000hp, 40-59- mixed traffic 1000-2000hp, 60-64- “B” wheel arrangement under 1000hp, 65-69- “C” wheel arrangement under 1000hp, “D” wheel arrangement under 1000hp, 80-89- self propelled snowplough, 90-99- narrow gauge. Electric Locomotives – 01-19- express, 20-39- heavy freight, 40-59- mixed freight, 60-69- shunting loco, 70-89- older types, 90-99- narrow gauge. Railcars – 01-19 express, 20-59- local, 60-79- baggage, 80-89- light railbus, 90-99- narrow gauge.

A Computer Check Digit is used to double check that all digits are correct, this final digit in the locomotive number is not always displayed on the loco. To verify the class and running number digits are multiplied alternately by 2 and 1. The resulting digits are added together and deducted from the next whole 10 number thus revealing the correct “check digit”.

Example: for the OBB electric shunting loco #1063 028 the check number is thus calculated: 1×2, 0x1, 6×2, 3×1, 0x2, 2×1, 8×2= 2+0+1+2+3+0+2+1+6=17. 20-17=3 thus the full number for this OBB loco is 1063 028-3.

My guide to understanding European train classifications is the excellent series under the title European Handbooks. This highly recommended series of books on various European railways is indispensable.

Reference material: Austrian Railways, published by Platform 5, written by Roland Beier and Brian Garvin.

Repair Notes: Marklin 88221 OBB BR 1020 Electric Locomotive


Marklin released the exquisite OBB BR 1020 in 1996-1998, this Era IV electric locomotive was delivered with the 3 pole motor 268200. In this post I will go through the step by step process for installing the current 5 pole motor E211906. The new motor also fits all 3 pole German versions of this loco which there are several including the DR 8812, DB 8822, and DB 8824. Featuring an articulated frame this locomotive type has been nicknamed the “German Krokodil” following its likeness to the SBB Be 6/8 with its articulated frame and pronounced design resembling a crocodile. As for the Marklin ‘Z’ versions of this loco each vary only by paint scheme and railway designation. It was only in the past few years that any tooling changes were made with the releases of 88224 and 88226 which feature LED headlamps and hidden catenary screw.

Onward with instructions for installing a new 5 pole motor in this locomotive type, but first does the loco with 3 pole really benefit with the 5 pole upgrade? No necessarily, the original 3 pole motor is a fine and powerful motor powering a loco of some heft, it features metal frame plus metal ends giving the locomotive good weight for pulling a large train. The loco is also so well designed that its original running performance is outstanding even with the 3 pole motor. The 5 pole motor replacement is also expensive with a list price of $109 at Walthers, it is also listed as ‘sold out’ and unavailable, but the one I am installing was recently purchased for $60. Others can probably be had from German dealers. The benefits of the new motor include a much quieter motor and slow idling, but no real increase in pulling power. I would have been happy and content if no 5 pole motor presented itself, in its original delivered condition these are beautiful locos and excellent runners.

If you have a loco of this type with HOS (hardened oil syndrome) please refer to my instructions in the post dedicated to full tear-down and restoration of the 8824. The following instructions are for the quick motor change-out only.

Before you start check to make sure the new motor works and spins in the correct direction. Run motor in both directions for a minute or two to break-in brushes.

  1. Pop off center shell using the thin guitar pick method referred to in other posts, never use a screwdriver as Marklin indicates in their instructions or damage will result to the shell. FullSizeRender-13
  2. Notice circuit board is held tightly onto insulator frame by 4 clips, gently pry circuit board free of clips. Use great care to avoid cracking circuit board! FullSizeRender-14
  3. Circuit board will be loose from the insulator frames at this point, but it is still attached to solder points. Carefully move circuit board out of the way of the screws that secure insulator frames to the main chassis frame. Beware that the wires extending front and back do not damage electric pick-ups for both trucks. FullSizeRender-19
  4. Set aside insulator frames and carefully remove motor, remove any old oil on the frame and install new motor. Apply a small drop of oil to worm drive on each end of new motor. FullSizeRender-23
  5. Notice the difference in appearance between the original 3 pole motor and 5 pole motor: FullSizeRender-24 3 pole capacitor bent backwards/ 5 pole capacitor is bent forward
  6. Special Note: Notice original capacitor is bent backwards hidden under circuit board. The new capacitor is bent in the opposite direction and due to its small size is visible through the opening of the circuit board. FullSizeRender-20
  7. Reassemble and verify motor is aligned and level by running leads to the brushes. If everything spins well, and the motor is quiet the loco shell can be reattached.

FR: OBB rolling stock

So far there are just a few cars offered by FR for the OBB, but Austrian trains can correctly haul any number of the German cars FR includes in the line-up as well as the two car set for SNCB.


FR #43.343.02 – OBB, type Gs + Gss-vx box cars. Full metal construction. 2 car set includes 1 standard freight car and 1 ‘Express’ freight car with the distinctive yellow mark across door.

FR Locomotives: Austria

The current production of locomotives by Harald Freudenreich centers around the many variations of the highly successful SJ Rc series locomotives, versions can be seen in the United States driving passenger trains up the Northeast corridor by Metro-North and Amtrak. FR’s production includes numerous SJ examples as well as Austria with the release of 43.130.01 class 1043.03 from the early 70’s.



FR #43.130.01, OBB (Österreichische Bundesbahnen-Austrian Federal Railways), class 1043.03

FR Rc locomotives feature snowplows of two types as appropriate to class, two variations of pantographs depending on class, coreless motors, pad printing, and accurate detailing which yield true variations between the FR Rc’s. I forgot to mention LED’s that change over with direction of travel that also provide realistic lighting in the cab: BRILLIANT! And last but not least, the mirrors are chrome, they are not painted over adding much realism: BRILLIANT!!!

FR just announced a forthcoming release of another Austrian locomotive in ‘Valousek’ paint scheme, I haven’t met anyone who does not like Valousek paint schemes.

But one more FR Austrian loco is class 1043.008 with ‘Jaffa” paint scheme. This one was produced in a very small batch of 12 only, it was only economically feasible for Harald to use decals for this one. Now another choice to haul the Marklin ‘Export’ passenger coach set 87354.

_DSF9261 _DSF9262 _DSF9263 _DSF9264

FR #43.131.11, OBB (Österreichische Bundesbahnen-Austrian Federal Railways), class 1043.008