Photographs of Polish Th24 are very few and poor. Fortunately, I obtained three excellent photos of KkStB machines from Josef Pospichal – many thanks! This one is 59.05...
... this one – 59.177...
...and this – 59.140. The latter machine (WLF 1331/1900) later served with DRG as 53 7203 and in 1945 became Th24-2.
A Th24, photographed somewhere in Poland after 1925, which is confirmed by designation (albeit illegible). Source: National Digital Archives (www.nac.gov.pl). Used by permission.
Class 59 side drawing; source: EZ vol.1.
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 machines, running on saturated steam. Soon after their appearance Karl Gölsdorf proposed a variant with compound engine. Gölsdorf was one of the keenest advocates of such layout, due to better economy, despite more complex design and certain maintenance problems. New machine 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 BMF (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 80 machines. 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 15 (some sources give 14) remained in PKP rosters until September 1939. Of these, twelve were taken over by the Germans and impressed into Ostbahn service as class 5372. Three were captured by the Soviets and probably remained in Ukraine, to fall into German hands later (in all, German railways had 19 examples). After WWII, eleven ex-Polish machines returned, plus an ex-Austrian one (DRG 53 7203, ex 59.140, WLF 1331/1900). Only eight of these elderly and totally obsolete engines were impressed as Th24-1 through TKh24-8 and saw some post-war service; four, returned by DR or JDŽ between 1949 and 1955, were not given PKP numbers and were probably scrapped or cannibalized. As in other countries, last were withdrawn in the 1950s. No example of this class 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.
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!).