Billerbahn Plastic Steam locos


550 Plastic Steam loco

This black steam engine was issued in 1962 and was the first to have a plastic superstructure. The roof was always removable and made of plastic as well. There was no imprinted inscription - however the Biller-B and "Made in Western Germany" was elevated visible on the coal box. All these locos have a red clockwork cover / engine cover. Axle cover information can be seen here.

Possibly this engine is a model of the Henschel type "Monta" engine built in 1927. This loco shown here is No. 20925 and used for PR at the MOT (technical association) Norderstedt in Germany.


1st Version: 

flat switch, NO reinforcement between the chimney and the upper front lamp, straight piston rods. The Plastic Steam Loco is known to have only the red motor cover

Version 1 b: 

as described on the left - however now having bowed piston rods

early version as of 1962

2. Version ab 1966


2nd Version: 

cogwheeled switch, reinforcement between the chimney and the upper front lamp, bowed piston rods

Version 2 b: 

as described as above - with a longer cogwheel switch and bowed piston rods

early version as of 1962

latest version of the 550


"longer cogwheel switch" and genuine glue-fixed roof

Switches in comparison

verklebtes Dach


The combinations 1. flat switch and reinforcement and 2. NO reinforcement and cogwheel switch are not to my knowledge concerning the clockwork versions

"esbi" Passenger Set
Now something special. A 550 having the inscription "esbi". This version has the straight piston rods. ESBI or SBI is the abbreviation for a South German Cotton factory - which itself never had a company railroad. The engine was a present to customers / retailers and delivered together with 2 red passenger coaches and a track circle - like the set 240. Issue date was the early 1970ies. So far this loco appeared as clockwork loco only - this one having the curved piston rods
what does "esbi" stand for ? industrial engine ?
esbi-engine incl. the box it was delivered in. Still showing the original postal stamp - stamped in Kuchen on JAN-04-1972. In this particular case both red passenger coaches were delivered in a separate box - showing same postal details.

At least one No. 1-Version (having the flat switch) is known as well. See HERE for more esbi-News

 ESBI-Lok mit Lieferkarton
Both to this set belonging Passenger Wagons were delivered on a display cardboard. The text of both cardboards was different.

And obviously at least 1 piece (possibly 2 pieces) of straight track was included as well

Der erste ESBI Wagen mit Aufsteller Der 2te ESBI Wagen mit Aufsteller und Schiene
the 1550 steam loco


as described above, having a battery drive achieved by 3 AA batteries to be placed into the cabin. This version shows a flat switch without reinforcement ...
differences btw chimney and lamp
The 1550 in its first version had the old brass-motor and straight piston rods
the old Bühler brass-engine piston rod
... as well with cogwheel switch plus reinforcement. Versions of this model are known to have the "long" switch as well.
reinforcements emphasized
the 2nd version has the newer silver-coloured motor and bowed piston rods
the newer engine curved piston rod
now showing a 1550-2 having a black chassis 1550 -2 in original blister pack
1550 having a black chassis in the Original Blister
Experts may allege that the ones listed below are possibly self-made - but I acquired both Locos as shown here.
In January 2024, the first version of the locomotive showed up with a brass motor, flat switch and smooth piston rods. Axle Covers made of left-over 1015 Tender-Tins. The Price-Tag of 4,75 Deutsche Mark could not belong to his loco.
Brass-Motor brass-Motor Axle-Covers made from Tender Tin Wrong Price-Tag
This locomotive, shown here previously, with the later silver motor, cogwheeled Switch and bowed piston rods - makes an absolutely new impression, absolutely bare contacts, none of the screws have ever been "moved" - unless for assembly. Might be worth a hobby-job - if you can place the hole at the correct position.
elektrisches Uhrwerk elektrisches Uhrwerk
However - since Autumn 2015 a battery driven green Diesel appeared - showing the clockwork hole as well
generated: JAN-10-2003 last update: April 2024