T16253 – AIXrail Diesel Locomotive, Road Number 225-073
The class 225 came into being starting the middle of 2003, when 67 units of the previous class 215 were sold to DB Cargo and designated as the class 225. As a rule, the steam heating equipment was no longer required and was replaced by preheater and heat retention equipment as well as ballast weight. Yet, the release of more powerful class 218 units made continued existence of the class 225 increasingly difficult and this class thus increasingly disappeared from the rails. Road number 225 073 a very long time as the "Last of the Mohicans". It was finally retired on December 7, 2016 at the Ulm Depot. It was acquired in the spring of 2017 by the railroad company AIXrail out of Aachen to be used in construction and freight train service. It was quickly painted in the attractive AIXrail color scheme of green and black. Other private railroad companies did not go empty and another 30 locomotives thus found a new home.
A small look back at the history of the class 225 (former 215) should not be missed: From the mid-Sixties on the progressive retirement of steam locomotives led to an increasing demand for powerful diesel locomotives. The latter had to be able to run at higher speeds as well as enable the transfer to electric train heating. MAN had just developed a more powerful motor with 2,500 horsepower but it had still not been tested enough. There was also still not enough experience with electric train heating on diesel locomotives. The class V 168 (from 1968 on: 215) was conceived as an intermediate solution to cover the urgent need for locomotives. This was version of the V 168 lengthened by around 400 mm / 16 inches, which was then supposed to allow the optional installation of different powerful motors. Steam heat with Vapor-Heating design heating boilers were retained for the time being, but it had to be possible to convert the locomotives to electric heating. In 1968, Krupp delivered ten pre-production units with the road numbers 215 001-010. They served as test beds for the new 2,500 horsepower motor from MAN. With the installation of hydrodynamic brakes the maximum speed on road number 215 005-010 was increased to 140 km/h / 87.5 mph. One-hundred-forty regular production units of the class 215 followed between 1969 and 1971. With the exception of road number 215 071-093 and the last 20 units, all of the locomotives were equipped with the reliable 1,900 horsepower motor. The exceptions had an improved 2,500 horsepower motor installed in them. The last regular service for the class 215 ended with DB Regio Hessen in April of 2003. Unscheduled use still took place for a couple of months after that with DB Regio Rheinland, and then they were gone.