Why was the steam train invented


The Eagle

The "Adler" steam locomotive was the first locomotive to be used in Germany. It was imported from England and drove between Nuremberg and Fürth for more than 20 years. A replica of the locomotive legend is in the DB Museum.

Compared to our high-speed trains like the ICE, the “eagle” looks like something out of a fairy tale book. Massive steel wheels are mounted on a barrel-like belly and at the front the tall chimney juts into the air like a trumpet. The whole thing colorful, green, red, the cars yellow. But this steam locomotive is the newest on the market in 1835 and is ultra-modern. The delivery from the English locomotive factory Robert Stephenson & Co. in Newcastle upon Tyne took almost eight weeks. Disassembled into its individual parts, the "eagle" comes by ship and mule to Wilhelm Späth's workshop, where it is assembled and placed on the new tracks in Nuremberg in a wooden train station. The first steam-powered tractor in Germany goes into regular operation for the Ludwigs-Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft.

The first ride

December 7, 1835: The eagle's first official train journey takes place. Everyone is aware of the historical significance when the Ludwigszug leaves the Nuremberg train station. Two hundred guests of honor step onto the platform in Fürth nine minutes later, six kilometers away. Euphoric and intoxicated by the speed and modern times. A side detail: The engine driver who made this first trip was the Englishman William Wilson. He was hired as a specialist and earned more than the director of the Ludwigs-Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft.


Unfortunately, the original "eagle" has been lost. It was sold in 1857 after more than 20 years of service. Then his track is lost.

However, there are two full-size replicas. Both are owned by the DB Museum. The replica from 1935 is drivable and can be booked for charter trips. The second replica on display in the museum was built in 1952 by apprentices from the Deutsche Bundesbahn and served as an exhibit at trade fairs.

Destruction and reconstruction

The roadworthy replica from 1935 was badly damaged in a depot fire in 2005 and restored by the Meiningen steam locomotive works in 2006 and 2007. The latest findings from Adler research were implemented in the process. According to the original outline drawing, the chimney was made conical and not concave as it was in 1935. The color of the eagle was chosen to be darker than in 1935. The model for this was based on existing locomotives from the time of the eagle, such as the "Nordgau", which can also be seen in vehicle hall I.

Publications on the "eagle"

The DB Museum has published a book and a DVD on the "Adler". You can find more information about this under the "related topic" in the column on the right.

Technical specifications

Construction year

1835 (replicas 1935/1952)
ManufacturerRobert Stephenson & Co.
(Training workshops of the Deutsche Bundesbahn)
Cruising speed35 km / h
Top speedapprox. 65 km / h
power41 hp
length6,700 mm
Service weight14 t
Engine designation1A1n2