Works locomotives

“Finally, our company also has a siding to the railway station very close by – the whole world is open to us!”
“We obtain our raw materials without transshipment from the best and cheapest suppliers far and wide.”
“We also send our products by reliable rail to far-away foreign countries.”

Euphoric exclamations of this kind were commonplace when a railway siding was put into operation, at a time when both the roads and the lorries were in no way suitable for rapid and safe long-distance transport. All too soon, however, disillusionment set in at the factory, the coffee house, the wine cellar or the coal merchant’s office – namely when the horrendous shunting costs had to be paid, which were inevitably incurred with the labour- and time-intensive steam operation.

For smaller companies, a complete shunting team with a steam locomotive was simply out of the question. The occasional shunting horse ate oats even at weekends and was all too often indisposed. So for many companies, the only option was to buy their own small locomotive or, as they say in Switzerland, a tractor. Until around 1930, the common shunting tractors with crude oil, benzene or petrol drive were only available for larger outputs and were far too expensive for most companies to purchase and maintain. And the operation of an accumulator tractor required an understanding energy supplier.

Thus, a special type of traction vehicle gradually developed that was ignored by many: the works locomotive or works tractor. The following gallery gives you an overview of the industrial and private construction traction vehicles used in Switzerland over the last sixty years. However, it is neither complete nor perfect, so your contributions in words and pictures are very welcome! You can learn more about some of the vehicles by clicking on the small picture.

Attention: The site of the selected manufacturers of works locomotives and their subpages are currently only available in German.
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Swiss manufacturers

German manufacturers

Other European manufacturers