At the beginning of 2019 our vehicle stock in Neumünster was so clear that we actually did not need a shunting locomotive yet. Nevertheless, we looked for contact when we read an advertisement for sale in the VDMT list (Association of German Museum and Tourist Railways). Only a short time later, we were in agreement on the trade. The "Little Helmut" – one of the Fa. Gmeinder (Mosbach) with the number 5426 built in 1969 – a two-axle diesel locomotive – made its way to the north. To his 50. This was the fourth time that the "Little Helmut" had changed hands since its 50th birthday.
Initially delivered to RKW-Süd (Raiffeisen Kraftfutterwerke Süd GmbH), the locomotive was in service at the Regensburg Osthafen plant for almost forty years. Subsequently, it was sold to Rosenmühle GmbH in Ergolding. Went there to their shunting activity. From there, the association SDN (Schwaben-Dampf e.V.) to the station Neuoffingen near Ulm, where it got the name "Kleiner Helmut". When the club began to dissolve, the vehicle stock was also no longer needed. This gave us the chance to acquire the pretty little locomotive for our project "Kulturlokschuppen Neumünster".
But how does such a locomotive, which cannot be transported by rail due to its maximum speed of 15 km/h, get from the deep south to the high north?? While searching for a suitable carrier, we came across the Fa. Auto-Ehrig, which owns numerous low-loaders. In the process, two of the vehicles were specially prepared for rail transportation by installing rails. A particular advantage is that the rail vehicle can be pulled directly from the track onto the low-loader via a small mobile ramp using a hydraulic winch. If the spatial conditions allow it, this saves an otherwise necessary crane and the associated costs, both for loading and unloading.
In bitter cold and snow, the "Little Helmut" was loaded in Neuoffingen, driven to Neumünster and unloaded there in frosty weather conditions. Despite icy temperatures, the diesel engine started after a short time, so that the locomotive could be driven under its own power over the turntable into the locomotive shed. There, the "Little Helmut" was checked and examined by an expert in view of the upcoming general inspection. For a locomotive of this age, the overall condition was surprisingly good.
Apart from some maintenance and minor repair work, only the profile of the wheel tires stood out negatively. The "hollow run" diagnosed by the expert was repaired by turning on the underfloor lathe of the AKN in Kaltenkirchen at the end of 2019. Also for this transport came again Fa. Auto-Ehrig to the course, whereby on the area of the AKN highest precision was necessary when maneuvering with the low loader. After completion of the remaining deadline work, the "Little Helmut" received on 13. August 2020 its next deadline, as well as the new "IKN" keeper's plate issued by the EBA. Now the locomotive is allowed to support the meanwhile significantly increased shunting tasks for several years again.