The BR 03 steam locomotives were indeed a significant part of German railway history. To improve the description and provide additional information, here are some suggested edits:
Prototype History: In the early plans of the Deutsche Reichsbahn-Gesellschaft (DRG) for standard design locomotives, the focus was primarily on the steam engines BR 01 and BR 02. These locomotives were intended for fast mainline express service, designed for trains with an axle load of 20 tons. However, the DRG encountered a problem when they realized that many of the existing routes were not suitable for such heavy trains. Rebuilding the infrastructure to accommodate them would have been costly and time-consuming.
To overcome this challenge, the DRG encouraged locomotive manufacturers to develop express steam engines with a reduced axle load of 17.5 tons. This led to the introduction of the BR 03 locomotives. The BR 03 quickly replaced the older BR 17 (Prussian S10 family) and BR 18 (Bavarian S3/6 family) locomotives. Initially, the BR 03 was designed as a four-cylinder steam engine, but ultimately, the DRG opted for the more favorable two-cylinder version.
On July 8th, 1930, Borsig delivered the first three prototype locomotives. These locomotives featured a boiler pressure of 14 bar and a cylinder diameter of 600 mm. However, when the BR 03 locomotives entered mass production, the boiler pressure was increased to 16 bar, and the cylinder diameter was reduced to 570 mm.
Between 1930 and 1938, a total of 298 steam engines of the BR 03 series were built and delivered by manufacturers Borsig, Henschel, Krupp, and Schwartzkopff. The design and performance of these locomotives were excellent, requiring only minimal modifications throughout their production. These modifications included replacing the brass firebox with an iron one, relocating the air pumps, and fitting them with larger 1000mm carrying wheels instead of the older 800mm wheels.
In addition to these modifications made to the BR 03 locomotives, various experiments were conducted with other versions of the series. For example, the 03 154 locomotive was partly streamlined and featured a parabolic smokebox door. The 03 193 locomotive was fully streamlined like the BR 05, and the 03 204 locomotive had streamlined elements limited to the driving wheels.
The BR 03 locomotives were considered a classic German locomotive design and were highly regarded by locomotive enthusiasts as one of the premier German express locomotives.
Note: The information provided is based on historical context up until September 2021.