Photographs of Polish Th24 are very few and poor. Fortunately, I obtained three excellent photos of KkStB machines from Josef Pospichal – many thanks! 59.05 (Wiener Neustadt 3669/1893) was taken over by SHS railways; later numbered 127-002 by JDŽ, it survived in service until 1930s.
59.177 was originally built for Bukowinaer Lokalbahnen, numbered 15977 and named ‘Lupul’ (StEG 3026/1902). Taken over by CFR, it was withdrawn in 1936,
59.140 (WLF 1331/1900) remained in Austria and later served with DRG as 53 7203. In 1945 it became Th24-2, but probably saw little service, if any.
A Th24, photographed somewhere in Poland after 1925, which is confirmed by designation (albeit the number is illegible). Source: National Digital Archives (www.nac.gov.pl). Used by permission.
Class 59 side drawing; source: EZ vol.1.
Prototype kkStB 5901, then 59.01 (Wiener Neustadt 3636/1893) remained with BBÖ and was withdrawn in 1928. Source: Die Lokomotive April 1916.
KkStB 15944 (BMMF 31/1902) on a turntable in St. Michael, Austria, about 1902. This locomotive later became 59.144 and remained in service until 1928. Source: www.commons.wikimedia.org.
Between 1888 and 1900 three Austrian locomotive manufacturers (Wiener Neustadt, WLF and StEG) built 153 freight locomotives with 0-3-0 axle arrangement, designated class 56. Most of them (132) went to the kkStB (kaiserlich-königliche österreichische Staatsbahnen), the rest served with various private railway companies. They were quite simple, single-expansion engines, running on saturated steam. Soon after their appearance Karl Gölsdorf proposed a variant with compound steam engine. Gölsdorf was one of the keenest advocates of such layout, due to better economy, despite more complex design and certain maintenance problems. New locomotive appeared in 1893 and was soon accepted by kkStB as class 59. Until 1903, 192 examples were built by Wiener Neustadt, WLF, Krauss Linz, StEG and BMMF (later known as PČM). When kkStB service numbers system was modified in 1905, 5999 became 59.99 and 15901 became 59.101. Thus, 59.100 never existed, although some older sources claim it was written off before 1918 and give total number built at 193. (I haven’t avoided this error in earlier version of this entry – many thanks to Piotr Staszewski for correction!)
Apart from the steam engine, class 59 did not differ much from its predecessor and featured inner frame, 1258-mm drivers and one large steam dome. Some examples were fitted with large, Rihosek-type spark arrester, typical for many Austrian locomotives. Instead of two cylinders 450 mm in diameter, there was a high-pressure left cylinder (500 mm) and low-pressure right one (740 mm); Heusinger valve gear, then a novelty in Austria, replaced earlier Gooch mechanism. Tractive effort was marginally lower than in class 56, but coal consumption was reduced by 20 to 25 percent.
As with other Austro-Hungarian classes, after 1918 these locomotives were distributed among several countries. Of 39 examples in Czechoslovakia in 1918, 30 served with ČSD as class 324.2; withdrawals started well before WWII and last were written off in 1949. 26 examples were impressed into service with CFR in Romania; last were withdrawn in 1937. Yugoslavian railways JDŽ received sixteen, classed 121; later they were re-classed 127, but only few (five?) served briefly after WWII.
Polish state railways obtained 81 examples, but many sources give eighty, as 59.190 (BMMF 99/1903) was handed over to Romanian state railways CFR in 1921, before new PKP designation system was introduced. Of these, sixty were built against kkStB orders, the rest being originally ordered by various private railways:
- Lemberg-Czernowitz-Jassy Eisenbahn (three),
- Ostgalizische Eisenbahnen (six),
- Bukowinaer Lokalbahnen (one),
- Trzebinia-Skawce Eisenbahn (four),
- Rakonitz-Pladen-Petschau Eisenbahn (two),
- Delatyn-Kolomea-Stefanowka Eisenbahn (four),
- Modran-Cercan Eisenbahn (one).
Initially they retained their original service numbers; in accordance with the new system, introduced in 1923, they were classed Th24. In the PKP service they were coupled with various three-axle Austrian tenders, mainly 12C11, but also 12C13 or smaller 11C12 and 11C13. Many of them had served on local lines in Galicia, which became a part of Poland in 1918. Even by 1920s standards, Th24 was not a particularly advanced design; furthermore, compounds were not favored by PKP. It is no wonder, thus, that this class, initially quite numerous among the ‘Austrians’, rapidly fell in number. Almost half Th24s were withdrawn before 1931 and only fourteen remained in PKP rosters until September 1939. Of these, twelve were taken over by the Germans and impressed into DRG service as class 5372. Three (including one withdrawn in 1938) were captured by the Soviets and probably remained in Ukraine, to fall into German hands later. In all, German railways had nineteen examples, four of them being ex-BBÖ engines impressed in 1938. After WWII, eleven ex-Polish machines returned, plus an ex-Austrian one (DRG 53 7203, ex 59.140, WLF 1331/1900). Two of them, Th24-12 (ex 59.31, Krauss Linz 3195/1895) and above-mentioned ex 59.140, were re-numbered Th24-1 and Th24-2, and possibly saw some service. Six examples returned by DR in September 1950 were re-numbered Th24-3 through 8, but probably saw no service and were written off in April 1951. Former Th24-41 (ex 59.126, WLF 1308/1899), returned by Yugoslavian state railways JDŽ in May 1949, and three examples handed over by DR in 1955, were not even given new PKP service numbers. Last locomotives of this type were withdrawn in 1950s and not a single one is known to have survived until today.
Main technical data
1) Some sources erroneously give 193 examples.
2) 11C12, 11C13 and 12C13 three-axle tenders were also used.
3) With 12C11 tender.
List of vehicles can be found here.
References and acknowledgments
- KT vol. 2, EZ vol. 1;
- www.lokomotive.de (website by Ingo Hütter);
- www.pospichal.net (website by Josef Pospichal);
- Josef Pospichal and Piotr Staszewski (private communication – thanks to Josef for the photos!).