Molly wins the race

In just 10 months, students from the FH Aachen and trainees from a locomotive factory built a miniature locomotive called “Molly”.

“First romantic, then squeaky,” says Prof. Marcus Baumann, Rector of the FH Aachen, describing his childhood memories of railway trains. A lot has changed since then, and, today, students at the FH Aachen in the Bachelor degree course “Rail Vehicle Technology” are learning how to build trains that are quiet, cost-efficient, reliable, safe – and un-squeaky. Together with trainees from engineering companies, students from the RWTH and fellow students from other courses at the FH Aachen they have been putting what they have learnt into practice. In just 10 months, they built “Molly” – a fantastic team achievement that has earned them a prestigious reward!

Triumph in England
Molly may only run at a speed of 15 kph, but has an electric drive, is extremely quiet, stops automatically at the station and even recovers energy. It has its own special braking system to ensure a smooth, gentle, and accurate braking distance. No wonder, then, that Molly won first place at this year’s IMechE Railway Challenge in England – and, in addition to a cup, earned fame and honour for the team.

The blank sheet of paper
The greatest challenge – apart from having to get up at 3 o’clock in the morning to be at the competition on time – was actually making a start on the project, as Daniela Willbring recalls. Questions like “Where do start?” and “How do we go about building a locomotive?” were the team’s constant companions. But, in the end, the 15-strong team succeeded in winning the battle with the blank sheet of paper – and the competition itself.


Prof. Marcus Baumann, Rektor der FH Aachen, über den Triumph der Lok Molly_Foto: Stadt Aachen. Prof. Marcus Baumann, Rector of the FH Aachen University of Applied Science, talking about Molly the Locomotive’s triumph
Photo: Stadt Aachen