Karl Gölsdorf (1861 – 1916)

Karl Gölsdorf was an outstanding locomotive engineer, and the son of a locomotive engineer, Louis Adolf Golsdorf (1837-1911), a Viennese who was trained in Chemnitz and Dresden, and became chief mechanical engineer of the Austrian Sudbahn. Karl Golsdorf was born at Semmering, studied at the Technical University of Vienna, and spent some time working for general engineering companies before becoming chief mechanical engineer of the state railway system in 1893, a position that he held until his death.

He designed a two-cylinder compound locomotive in 1893, and is chiefly notable for devising a four-cylinder system of compounding, whereby two outside low-pressure cylinders and two high-pressure cylinders within the main frames were placed in line beneath the smokebox of a locomotive. He produced the class 310 2-6-4 tender engine in 1911 that came to symbolise the Austrian express passenger locomotive, and is generally reckoned to be one of the outstanding locomotives produced in Europe. He also designed a 2-8-0 freight locomotive of which nearly a thousand examples were built, as well as passenger stock for the Vienna Stadtbahn, powerful rack locomotives for the Erzbergbahn and narrow gauge locomotives for mountain railways. Examples of his most important designs are preserved in Austria, chiefly at Strasshof.