REL S12 / SNCF 1-231
REL No.405 ‘Nuthe’ (Grafenstaden 5970/1909), later re-numbered 1305. After 1918 this locomotive remained in Germany and its fate is unknown. Probably a factory photo. Source: monograph on REL steam locomotives (see References).
REL class S12 side drawing, © Loco Revue. Source: as above.
I had certain doubts whether this type should be dealt with in this website. Finally I decided yes, as some Internet sources list one or two examples as having been included in the PKP inventory. Their actual service is a different story.
In 1909 Elsässische Maschinenbau-Gesellschaft Grafenstaden built eight express locomotives with the 2-3-1 axle arrangement for Reichseisenbahnen in Elsaß-Lothringen (REL). They ran on superheated steam and were fitted with four-cylinder compound steam engines (Bauart de Glehn). Initially classed S6 and numbered 401 through 408 (factory numbers 5966 through 5973), they were later re-classed S12 and re-numbered 1301 through 1308. Each locomotive was given an individual name. These beautiful engines, with 2040 mm drivers and maximum speed of 100 km/h (some sources give 120 km/h), were one of the first European Pacifics. In 1912 Elsässische Maschinenbau-Gesellschaft Belfort delivered twenty very similar engines to Chemins de fer du Nord, numbered 3.1151 through 3.1170.
After WWI seven locomotives were taken over by French Administration des Chemins de fer d’Alsace et de Lorraine; No. 1305 remained in Germany and its fate is not known. Following nationalization of French railways in 1938, they were impressed into SNCF as class 231 A. In 1930s they were based in Luxembourg. After the fall of France in 1940 Luxembourg was annexed by Germany and the locomotives became German property. Details on their subsequent fate given by individual sources differ slightly. Most probably four examples were impressed into state railways of Luxembourg (CFL), established in 1946; they remained in use until 1951. Two were left in Eastern Germany and taken over by DR, but it is doubtful if they saw any service. According to most sources (including factory lists compiled by Jens Merte and www.forumkolejowe.pl), No.1301 (former REL No. 401 ‘Murow’, then 1301, later SNCF 1-231 A 301, Grafenstaden 5966/1909) was left in Poland and taken over by PKP in 1945. Probably assigned to the Gniezno depot, it was written off in April 1946 and scrapped in early 1950s.
The above-mentioned Polish website lists also REL No. 408 ‘Ohlau’ (then 1308, later SNCF 1-231A 308, Grafenstaden 5973/1909) as taken over by PKP; this time, however, no details concerning its service are given. This is not confirmed by any other source. It seems probable that these two locomotives, or perhaps only the former, were in fact found in Poland after the war, but saw little or no service. It does not seem probable that they were ever included in the PKP inventory. Probably they were in poor condition and their de Glehn-type steam engine, rather exotic for Polish railwaymen and demanding certain skills, probably found little favor. No locomotive of this type has been preserved.
Main technical data
1) Some sources give 120 km/h.
References and acknowledgments
- Dampflokomotiven – Bahnen in Elsaß-Lothringen by Lothar Spielhoff (Alba, 1991);
- Factory lists compiled by Jens Merte.