World Steam Speed Record

Major parts of this posting are based on: Alfred Gottwaldt: 200,4 Stundenkilometer. Die Weltrekordfahrt der 05 002. Bahn Extra 5/99, GeraNova Zeitschriftenverlag GmbH München, ISBN 3-89724-142-0. While this is a special interest magazine for railfans, not a scientific source, its author shows an unusual focus on good research, and backs his statements with photos. I call it a trustworthy source, but in a scientific environment, another check would be considered necessary.

I added a few facts about mentioned persons, based on common knowledge plus a quick check of the bookshelf and the Internet. This was more effort than usually put into a Usenet posting, but again, shouldn't be considered a scientific source.

From: Hans-Joachim Zierke
Newsgroups: misc.transport.rail.americas
Subject: Re: World Steam Speed Record
Date: Fri, 26 Mar 2004 09:10:33 +0100

Adam Kadlubek schrieb:

>> Oh, that train run is well remembered. If there was ever a train worth
>> planting a bomb into...
> Why? I mean - these were dark times, but nonetheless - it was a marvelous
> engineering achievent...

The cars behind of 05 002 were full of celebrities. Without doubt, this
was the railroad record with the most prominent guest list ever.

Heinrich Himmler   -   Reichsführer SS
Martin Bormann     -   later: "Sekretär des Führers"
Adolf Hühnlein     -   Founder and Korpsführer NSKK
Fritz Todt         -   at that time: Generalinspektor für das deutsche 
Reinhard Heydrich  -   Leiter Sicherheitspolizei, Leiter SD
Sepp Dietrich      -   Kommandeur Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler
Friedrich Jeckeln  -   later: SS- and Polizeiführer Ostland and Rußland
                       Nord, responsible for mass murder of tenthousands
                       of Jews, example: Ghetto Riga
Wilhelm Keppler    -   Main organizator of big business support for the 
                       NSDAP in the early 1930s elections and seizure of
                       power, economic advisor to Hitler.
Paul Körner        -   First private secretary of Hermann Göring, then
                       Göring's deputy in the 4-year-plan.
Wilhelm Koppe      -   If you are posting from a .pl address, I might not
                       need to introduce Wilhelm Koppe to you, General
                       der Polizei Warthegau.
                       Living undercover in West Germany after WWII, 
                       trial started in the early 60s for Beihilfe (aid?) in
                       the murder of 145000, released in 1962 for "bad
                       health", peaceful death in 1975.
Walter Schmitt     -   Chef SS-Personalhauptamt, Adjutant des Führers,  
                       SS-Obergruppenführer, General der Waffen-SS.
                       Trialed and hanged in Prague as a war criminal in
                       45, AFAIK mostly for Mauthausen responsibility.
Edmund Veesenmayer -   SS-Standartenführer, Generalbevollmächtigter des
                       Reiches für Ungarn, famous for his role in the
                       deportation of Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz.
Do you want some more celebrities? There were over 100 participants, and
only 1/3 by the railroad.

> Why worst day?

Hitler's toys were cars and motorways. In the first years after 1933,
there was considerable tension between the Reichsbahn and the Nazis. One
reason was, that the Reichsbahn was forced to build the german motorways,
creating its own competitor. And while the DRG had a strong conservative,
prussian, military-style smell, it wasn't a Nazi organization, but still
in first place a public service (of very high quality, without doubt one
of the top-notch railroads of its time).

For the Reichsbahn, the process which is commonly called
"Gleichschaltung", but would be more precisely called
"Selbstgleichschaltung", happened in late 1935 and 1936. The management
actively pursued the integration into the Nazi system and into the war
preparation effort, and these attempts culminated in two demonstration 
runs by the railroad.

The first one was mostly attended by the military, Friedrich Fromm for
the ground, Erhard Milch for the air, Erich Raeder for the sea, Georg
Thomas for weapons development. Plus lots of other generals, admirals,
pilots, etc. pp.
The second one was for the Nazi Party, see above.

Purpose was demonstrating and explaining the abilities of the Reichsbahn,
the railroad provided all the staff members at the right positions to 
talk to, as their part of the guest list.

Both demonstration runs had 5 parts, showcasing the new high-speed
equipment. Henschel-Wegmann fast steamtrain to Stendal, dieselelectric
DMU to Hannover (this one reached 200 km/h, too), Doble steam-MU to
Bremen, dieselhydraulic DMU to Hamburg, and a 05 with the newest FD cars
back to Berlin. 

There wasn't any record prepared for. The 05 run from Hamburg to Berlin
was scheduled at 180 km/h, and since these locos were known to achieve
195 km/h, there wasn't any need to get in a hurry.

But then, the unthinkable happened: The train with all these celebrities
had to stop for a signal at Wittenberge! At such stop, the crew would
routinely do a check for hot bearings and somesuch. With a late train,
and everything working perfectly, they then attempted to gain some time,
and had only 4 cars instead of 5, as used in the normal test runs. That's
the record.

May 11th, 1936 marks the integration of the Reichsbahn into the Nazi
system. The head of the railroad, Dorpmüller, was rewarded for his efforts
by Hitler: Some months later, he got the Department of Transport.

> Why? I mean - these were dark times, but nonetheless - it was a marvelous
> engineering achievent...

I buy that for many other things in the 1930s. I still think, that the
E18 was a great loco within its time, wether it carried a Swastika in
front or not. It still served the needs of passengers like you and me.
Trains from Berlin to Wroclaw were operating on a timetable, which won't
be achieved by DB and PKP within the next decade, even after we get rid
of the border.
While there is some smell, I still respect these achievements.

But regarding that record, a big bomb would have been the better solution.