History of the European Railroad Equipment Industry

1. Introduction

This article tells the history of the European railroad equipment industry. The emphasis lies on the rolling stock.

I am looking for someone who can make a better view of the history of the manufacturing of railroad rolling stock.

2. The years 1800-1835: The first locomotives

2.1 Richard Trevithick (1771-1830)

Richard Trevithick (1771-1833), engineer at the Dingdongmine in Cornwall, builded the first locomotive ever.
In 1802 he builded a machine that was powered by steam. This machines didn't ride on tracks and reached a speed of 13 km/h.
The first locomotive was built in 1803-1804 and could go 4 km/h and weighted 6-7 ton. It was mentioned for the Penydarren Iron Works in Wales. On Februari 1804, the 21th, the locomotive pulled 10 ton iron and 60 persons. The track of 16 km was rided in 4 hours and 5 minutes. In fact it was just a steamengine on wheels. There was one cylinder, and the boiler was heated from inside. (The zuigstang trad aan de backside out and worked via a kruiskop on two evenwijdig lopende stangen. Deze draaiden via een krukas een geweldige vliegwiel, dat zijn kracht overdroeg aan de four wheels.)
In 1808 he builded the locomotive Catch me who can which he used to transport curious people on a circle-sheep track. This engine had a standing cylinder and the big fly-wheel was dissappeared. In London, people could make a ride with his train in a circle, surrounded by a closed fence.
Trevithick builded some more copies of this locomotives, but the engines weren't a success.
Richard Trevithick, John Blenkinsop and William Hedley invented, built, and operated several steam locomotives between 1797 and 1813.

2.2 George Stephenson (1781-1848)

George Stephenson, also an engineer, builded the first of his locomotive-engines named "Mylord" in 1814. This engine weighted five ton and could pull eight loaded wagons with a weight of 30 ton on the rails of tyhe Killingworth-mine, for which Stephenson builded the engine.
After twelve other locomotives Stephenson builded in 1825 his Locomotion. With this machine for the first time the front- and backwheels were door een connecting rod met elkaar verbonden; the wheels couldn't turn independent from each other anymore. This locomotie pulled between coalcity Darlington and the harborcity Stockton the first public scheduled passengertrain in the world.
George Stephenson built and equipped the Stockton & Darlington Railway between 1823 and 1825. This English line, 32 km long, was the first public railway in the world to be powered by a steam locomotive.

2.3 The Rainhill Trials

In 1829 there was a locomotive contest (Rainhill Trials) to look which engine out of five was best fitted for the line Liverpool- Manchester, that had to be build. The Rocket of George Stephenson won. This locomotive had two important novelties. The first was that instead of a complex system of crank-shaftsk and gear-wheels the piston-rods were by bolts direct with the front wheels connected. The second was that the horizontal boiler was perforated by 25 brasspipes. This way, the water was heated faster; so there was more steam and there was more power.
Because of this locomotive, that George Stephenson builded with his son Robert Stephenson (1803-1859), he got the assainment to build more locomotives for this track. He then founded a rolling stock factory in Newcastle and became engineering consultant.

In 1830 the line Liverpool - Manchester opened with the locomotive Locomotion, Rocket, built by George Stephenson. It was the first scheduled passenger train.

3. The years 1830-1880: The first manufacturing companies

The first decennia the British determined the railroad marked. They builded for various countries in the world the first locomotives, the first track and even engine-drivers!

In the period until 1840 most European countries started to build a railnetwork. They needed to buy locomotives and the first locomotives they builded were British ones. The Dutch Adler in 1839, the German Adler in 1835 and the Belgian one in 1835 were builded in England. France: 1828

George Stephenson founded the first rolling stock factory in Newcastle.

The English industry played also an important role in the United States in the first years. U.S. railways imported more than 100 English locomotives between 1829 and 1841.

Once countries had their one manufacturers they ordered by them. Here are some manufacturers.

Cockerill Mechanical Industries SA (CMI), former Société John Cockerill, built in 1835 the first steam locomotive running on the European continent.

In 1836 Adolphe and Eugène Schneider acquired a plant in Le Creusot, France and started a steel-making business. In 1838 they build the first French locomotive La Gironde.

In 1837 the machinefactory A. Borsig in Berlin was founded and started to build locomotives for Germany and surrounding countries.

The first German locomotive Saxonia was build by the Aktien-Maschinenfabrik Uebigau near Dresden in 1838. They just builded one more locomotive.

In 1838 Josef Anton von Maffei founded in Münchener Hirschau his firm J.A. Maffei AG. He builded his first locomotive Der Müncher (The Municher). in 1841. In 1866 Georg Krauss founded the lokomotivfabrik "Krauss & Comp." In 1931 Krauss took over Maffei and renamed the firm into "Lokomotivfabrik Krauss & Comp. - J.A. Maffei AG". Since 1940 the name of the firm is Krauss-Maffei AG.

In 1839 Gottfried Linke founded in Breslau the Carbuilding Workshops of Gottfried Linke. Nowadays it is located in Salzgitter under the name Linke-Hofmann-Busch (LHB).

In 1855 the iron factory La Brugeoise was founded (nowadays Bombardier Eurorail).
Since 1855 La maquinistra Terrestra y Maritima (MTM) in Barcelona, Spain, had specialised in production of railway equipment.

Uniongiesserei in Köningsberg started in 1856 with the manufacturing of locomotives. Henry Hughes & Co. (later Falcon Engine & Car Works; Brush) in Loughborough was founded in 1865.

The Schweizerische Lokomotiv- und Maschinenfabrik AG (SLM) was founded in 1871.

4. The years 1880-1940: Introduction of diesel and electric power

4.1 Electric trains

In 1879 the German ingenieur Werner Siemes and Halske presented the first electric locomotive on the industry-exhibition in Berlin.
The first electric tram in the world was taken in servivce on 12 may 1881 on the track Berlin-Lichterfelde. It was build by Siemens, which was the first manufacturer of electric trains.
In 1903 Siemens & Halske AG founded the Siemens-Schuckert Werke (SSW) for the production of eletric rolling stock.

In 1883 the Deutsche Edison-Gesellschaft für angewandte Elektricität von Emil Rathenau' was founded. In 1887 the name was changed into 'Allgemeine Elektrizitäts Gesellschaft (AEG)'. In 1889 the first electric locomotive was build by AEG.

In the early 20th century, electric locomotives were adopted in many countries.

4.2 Diesel trains

In 1885 the German engineers Daimler and Benz builded indepent of each other a benzine-engine.
In 1893 the German mechanic engineering Rudolf Diesel developed his dieselengine.

Maschinenfabrik Kiel GmbH (MaK) was founded in 1918 and produced diesel locomotives since 1925. The first railcar with internal combustion was delivered in 1920.

In 1909 Wilhelm Maybach founded the "Luftfahrzeug-Motorenbau-GmbH" (LMG) in Friedrichshaden, Germany, to build diesel engines. After a merger in 1966 between Maybach and part of Mercedes-Benz it was known as "Maybach Mercedes-Benz Motorenbau GmbH" (MMB) in 1966. In 1969 the firm was renamed as Motoren- und Turbinen Union (MTU) .
By the 1950s most railroads were shifting to diesel motive power.

5. The years 1933-1945: Second World War

In Germany all manufacturers were forced to build war equipment and war locomotives. Locomotives were build to pull war trains.
At the end of the war most of Germanies heavy industry was destroyed.

Also the factories in most other European countries were destroyed or otherwise useless because of the second world war.

6. The years 1945-1975: The post war period

The European railroad industry had to build trains to fill the gap ontstaan during the war and also started to replace the steam locomotives.

7. The years 1985-2000: Mergers

In this period many European manufacturers merged with each other.
Since 1996 there are three large European multinationals: Adtranz, GEC Alsthom and Siemens.
ABB (after ASEA and Brown Boveri) and AEG merged into Adtranz in 1996.
The railroad activities of General Electric Company (GEC) and Alsthom merged into GEC Alsthom in 1988.

After the collapse of the communism western in 1989 European manufacturers started acquiring eastern European companies.
In early 1997 Adtranz acquired a 75% share in the leading Polish rolling stock manufacturer Pafawag.
Since 19.. Siemens has a majority interest in Skodain the Czech Republic.

8. Literature

Here are some sources for more information:

Mainmenu European Railroad Equipment Industry

The European Railway Server

Homepage of Maurice Janssen

The last update of this page took place on the 17th of September 1997 by M.J.W. Janssen