Like everybody, I love steam locomotives, but I also love good stories, and in terms of that, the 199.8 beats just about everything else on the HSB meter-gauge network.
Back in the GDR, trucks were expensive and the narrow-gauge railroad lines in the Harz were still very important for freight traffic. Efficiency was highly important in the rather poor GDR, and the "new" steam locomotives, class 99.23-24 (such as 99 7240-7 here), were no longer cutting it. It was decided to buy new diesel locomotives.
The GDR had already successfully built diesel locomotives with hydraulic transmission of all sizes, including ones for narrow-gauge (for export), but eventually Comecon rules forbade that. The options would have been diesel-electric locomotives from the soviet union, which would have been too heavy, or diesel-hydraulics from Romania. Such locomotives, the class 119, nickname 'Submarine'
, were already operating on normal-gauge lines, and their service record was horrible. They ended up with one of the weirdest constructions youll find: A number GDR-built class V100 (by then called class 110) BB locomotives were fitted with new narrow-gauge CC trucks and modified for narrow-gauge use. Significantly larger than anything else on the system, the new class 199.8 soon gained the name Harz-Camel. And that is why socialism failed.
Today, HSB tries to keep them as far away from passenger trains as possible, as rail fans just hate them. A few of them are in storage, others were sold and now run on normal gauge again, but a small number (now fitted with new engines and other modifications, but still the classic paint scheme) is still needed for work trains and the little freight service that remains. Here, 199 861-6 is resting in Wernigerode.BTW: Ive noticed and keep noticing your favs, and I appreciate them, but Ill collectively say thanks at the end of this series so I dont spam you as much if you decide that more than one of those pictures is nice.