Tr201 and Tr203




Tr201-51 + 25D201-51(ex USATC 5164), Lima 8823/1945, Jaworzyna Śląska loco depot, August 4, 2004




The same engine photographed almost fifteen months later, on October 28, 2005




Although bearing service number 25D201-51, tender of the Tr201-51 shows mysterious traces of some older number... This photo was taken on May 1, 2006.




Tr203-296 + 25D203-? (ex USATC 2438), ALCO 70787/1943, photographed on the same occasion, displays USATC wartime livery.




The same engine, photographed on July 8, 2009.




This Tr203-451 + 25D203-103 (ex USATC 5801), Lima 8739/1945, is on display at the Railway Museum, Warsaw. Photo taken on May 19, 2001.




Another picture of Tr203-451, taken on May 25, 2005.




Poor, but interesting photo of ШA 194, SZD, somewhere in Russia, date unknown (source: - contact me if you know any details).




Modified, but still recognizable Chinese KD6 478 at Pingzhuang coal mine, November 1996; smoke deflectors and stack cowling are particularly noteworthy. Photo by Duncan Cotterill from - thanks a lot!




Tr203-4, photographed at the Warszawa Olszynka Grochowska depot in 1959. Photo from my collection.




TCDD 45172 (Lima 8143/1943), photographed at the Çamlık Buharlı Lokomotif Müzesi, Turkey, on September 30, 2007. Note original smokestack, shorter than that of Polish engines.




Tr203-166 (Lima 8268/1943), formerly USATC 2566, photographed in Gdańsk on February 11, 1978. This engine was withdrawn from service in February 1979. Photo by Roman Witkowski (postcard from my collection).




Railwaymen posing by the Tr203-164 somewhere in Poland; date unknown. Photo from my collection.



Tr203-289 (Baldwin 69496/1943), photographed in Sulęcin on June 4, 1979. Photo by Martin Stertz (from my collection). Some sources erroneously claim that this engine was sold to North Yorkshire Moors Railway, while in fact it was Tr203-288.



Czechoslovakian 456.159 (ex USATC 5766, Lima 8704/1945), photographed in Ostrava on July 4, 1970. Boiler of this engine (withdrawn in October 1972) was used as a stationary heating device and is currently stored at the Jaroměř depot. Photo by Miroslav Petr (postcard from my collection).



Hungarian 411,479, location unknown, 1964. Source: FOTO:FORTEPAN / Erky-Nagy Tibor via



Czechoslovakian 456.176 (former USATC 5817, Lima 8755/1945, location and date unknown. This engine was withdrawn in October 1969 and was used as a stationary boiler for a few more years. Photo by Pavel Vančura (postcard from my collection).



USATC 5197 (Lima 8856/1945) was exported to China in 1946 and numbered KD6 467. Purchased by a British railway fan in 2001, it is operated by Churnet Valley Railway. Photo taken in Cheddleton on April 24, 2010, by late David Brierley (source:





USA engagement in the WWII resulted in a need for a universal freight locomotive that could be built in large numbers. It was envisaged that these machines would be shipped to Great Britain and then, after invasion, to other European countries, in order to provide supplies for advancing Allied troops. American locomotive industry, immune from enemy aerial raids and not overburdened by orders for tanks and armored vehicles, had no particular problems in filling these demands. Choice of the axle arrangement was not surprising. 1-4-0, known as Consolidation, was the most widespread one in the USA; about 21,000 locomotives of this layout were built there between 1866 and 1946. They were typically light or medium-size freight machines for common everyday jobs, although some railroads developed them into heavy engines for coal trains (three Delaware & Hudson class E-7 Consolidations weighted over 161 tonnes in working order). Four coupled axles gave sufficient adhesion (if low axle load was not a prerequisite) and single-axle lead truck provided running qualities satisfactory for a freight machine.

Design of the new machine was submitted in May 1942 by Maj. J.W. Marsh from the Railway Branch of the Corps of Engineers, later incorporated into the US Army Transportation Corps (USATC). Designated S160 and conforming to British vehicle gauge, it drew on the experience gained with both S159 (eight machines based on a WWI Baldwin locomotive, built for US Army) and Lend-Lease S200 for the British Army. This machine was designed for ease of manufacture rather than long service life and makes an interesting comparison with German Kriegslok BR52. American locomotive, with marginally higher axle load (16.0 tonnes vs. 15.5 tonnes), was slightly lighter (by about 9 percent) and had lower tractive effort (by 12 percent). Generally, S160 was a modern design, light by American standards. It had, however, some shortcomings. Firebox was weak and prone to fatigue failures of roof stay bolts, which resulted in several explosions. Axleboxes tended to overheat due to grease lubricators and brakes were considered rather weak.

Production was entrusted to Lima, Baldwin and ALCO and started in 1942, first examples being rolled out in September. Initial thirteen batches, totaling almost 800 examples, were shipped to Great Britain, where 400 of them were temporarily used by British War Department and operated by the ‘Big Four’ (LMSR, LNER, GWR and SR). The rest were kept in storage for immediate shipment to France after invasion. Some machines were also shipped to North Africa. All these machines were given USATC service numbers. Production lasted until 1946, totaling 2126 examples. This total includes S162 and S166 for the Soviet Union (1524 mm track, all had USATC numbers reserved for them, but never assigned). Three S161s for Jamaican Government Railways (class 60, service numbers P62, P63 and P64) and two for Ferrocarril del Centro of Peru (service numbers 55 and 56) were supplied directly from ALCO and had no USATC numbers assigned, but are also included in the above total.

Only few examples were returned to USATC after the war and brought back to the USA; most were transferred to various European and Asian countries. Some were distributed by UNRRA (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration) and others were sold directly from USATC storage depots. S160 (commonly referred to as Consolidation) thus became one of the most widely used locomotives. The following brief account is based on available information (mainly provided by Piotr Staszewski – thanks a lot!):

-         Algeria (class 140-U): 25 examples;

-         Austria (class 956): 30 examples;

-         China (class KD6): 40 examples, later transferred to industrial operators, mainly collieries, last KD6 487 withdrawn probably in 1997. Many Chinese machines were modernized (larger cab, higher stack, some fitted with large smoke lifters with horizontal riffles, similar to that of many later Chinese locos);

-         Czechoslovakia (class 456.1): 80 examples, last of them (456.173) withdrawn in 1972 and scrapped the following year;

-         Germany: 40 examples briefly used in 1947 in American and British zones, based in Bremen; not included in German rosters, sold to Hungary in August 1947;

-         Greece (class Qd, or THg in Latin alphabet): 27 examples received in 1947 (Qd 521 to 537 and Qd 551 to 560), plus 25 examples bought from Italian FS railways in 1959 (Qd 571 to 595);

-         Hungary (class 411): 510 examples, bought at USD 100,000 each, of which 484 were put into use and allocated service numbers from 411.001 onwards, the rest being cannibalized for spares; later two more engines were assembled from spare parts;

-         India: 60 examples (for the 1676 mm track);

-         Italy (class 736): 244 examples, plus four salvaged from a sunken ship, all but eight converted to oil firing, withdrawn in early 1960s (25 sold to Greece in 1959);

-         Korea (class Sori2): 101 examples;

-         Morocco (class 140-B): 4 examples;

-         Peru (class 80): 2 examples, supplied directly from ALCO in 1943;

-         Soviet Union (class ШA or ShA in Latin alphabet): 200 machines ordered from BaldwinA 1 through 90) and ALCOA 91 through 200) – probably these were S162s and S166s, respectively, but of this I am not sure. ШA 52 through 55, 69 and 70 were lost en route to Vladivostok and ШA 13 remained in the USA, so Soviet railways had in fact 193 machines. In 1957, 50 of them were converted for 1067 mm track and used by South Sakhalin railroad;

-         Spain: 5 examples for Ferrocarril Langreo (class 553), second-hand machines purchased from Alaska Railroad in 1959;

-         Tunisia (class 140-250): 6 examples;

-         Turkey (service numbers 45171 to 45220): 50 examples;

-         United Kingdom: apart from three examples for then-British Jamaica and aforementioned service with ‘Big Four’, probably none;

-         USA: unknown number with US Army Corps of Engineers, later USATC, and then various military transportation units; 12 examples with Alaska Railroad as class 551;

-         Yugoslavia (class 37): 66 examples (some sources give 65).

Many sources give that French state railways SNCF had 121 examples, classed 140U; most probably, however, this designation was assigned only formally and these engines saw little service, being transferred to other countries. Mexican engines (FCM class GR-28, 10 examples purchased by directly from Baldwin in 1946 and allocated service numbers 211 to 220) are also sometimes listed as S160s, but in fact these were different and heavier machines.

Poland had a large fleet of Consolidations. First 75 engines (Lima – 34, ALCO – 26, Baldwin – 15) were supplied by UNRRA and classed Tr201; they arrived between January 1946 and February 1947. Further 500 examples (Lima – 189, ALCO – 162, Baldwin – 149), purchased directly from USATC stocks, were designated Tr203 and delivered between September 1946 and August 1947. It is not clear why these otherwise identical machines were not included in the same class; it has to be noted, however, that those supplied by UNRRA were basically brand-new engines, while those from USATC saw some service and almost one-third were unserviceable. These badly needed locomotives were used throughout the country in many roles, often running with passenger trains. They were, however, too weak for heavy drafts, typical for Polish freight traffic, so with mounting supplies of more powerful Ty45s, Ty246s and later Ty51s were shifted to switching and secondary duties.

In Poland S160s were considered modern and efficient engines with good steaming capacity, but their shortcomings, resulting from simplified design, were obvious; in general, British wartime Liberation locomotives, designated Tr202, were viewed superior, particularly due to higher manufacturing quality and high-grade materials used. Running qualities left something to be desired and engines were considered prone to derailing. In PKP service their maximum speed was soon reduced to 65 km/h. In 1956, after numerous fractures of boiler riveted joints had been revealed during overhauls, boiler pressure was reduced to 13 bar. Modifications included fitting Trofimov piston valves, standardized headlights (instead of wartime kerosene ones), cab side doors and several minor changes, improving safety and reliability. One machine was converted into a tank locomotive, with modified boiler used in TKt48; this hybrid, built in 1957 and classed TKr55, was successful, but remained a single prototype, as production of steam locomotives was terminated. Two Ok22 passenger locomotives were reboilered with Tr203 boilers from Lima 8452/1943 (Tr203-167) and ALCO 70964/1943 and designated Ok203 (later Ok55), but despite plans for further conversions the project was abandoned for the same reason. TKr55 and Ok55 are described under separate entries.

Classes Tr201 and Tr203 were withdrawn from line service in late 1980 and from switching in 1982. Over forty served for some time as stationary boilers. Three examples have been preserved. Tr201-51 (Lima 8823/1945, ex USATC 5164) and Tr203-296 (ALCO 70787/1943, ex USATC 2438) can be seen at Jaworzyna Śląska locomotive depot – the latter in American wartime livery. Tr203-451 (Lima 8739/1945, ex USATC 5801) is on display at the Railway Museum in Warsaw: this was the last operational engine of this type in Poland, used for switching in Oława until September 1982. Tr203-474 (Lima 8758/1945, ex USATC 5820) and Tr203-288 (ALCO 70571/1943, ex USATC 2089) were sold to the UK in 1977 and 1992, respectively. They joined ex-Hungarian 411.090, 411.144 and 411.388, ex-Greek Qd 575 and ex-Chinese KD6 463 – the British obviously have a particular liking for this type! Tr203-474, operated by Keighley & Worth Valley Railway in its original USATC livery, underwent a major overhaul following boiler ticket expiry in 1992 and returned to service in February 2014, initially painted in British Railways black and with fictitious number 95820. Tr203-288, sold to North Yorkshire Moors Railway and given fictitious USATC service number 2253, was operated with some technical problems (and footplate crews dislike!); withdrawn from service in 1999, it was later transferred to Shildon and is kept there on static display. In some sources this engine is given as Tr203-289, most probably due to confusion of factory and USATC numbers. In 2004, British Heritage Transport Supplies Ltd. offered a dismantled S160 for sale ‘at a very realistic price’. Six examples have been preserved in Greece, seven in the USA, four in Hungary, three in Italy, two in Turkey and one or two in China – details can be found at Chinese KD6 487 is the first steam locomotive in that country restored in service with special tourist trains in January 2005.



Main technical data







Years of manufacture


1942 – 1946


Total built / used in Poland


2126 / 5752)


Tender class




Axle arrangement




Design maximum speed




Cylinder bore


2 X 483


Piston stroke




Engine rating


880 / 1200


Tractive effort


16 7005)


Boiler pressure




Grate dimensions

m X m

2.14 X 1.84


Firebox heating surface




Distance between tube plates


4 115


Number of flue tubes




Heating surface of flue tubes




Number of smoke tubes




Heating surface of smoke tubes




Evaporating surface, total




Superheater heating surface




Diameter of drivers




Diameter of idlers front/rear


838 / -


Total weight, empty


67 650


Total weight, working order


73 750


Weight on drivers, working order


64 000


Weight with tender, empty


92 550


Weight with tender, working order


133 650


Maximum axle load




Axle base (with tender)


15 436


Overall length (with tender)


18 113


Brake type




1)      In PKP service reduced to 65 km/h.

2)      Including 75 examples from UNRRA (Tr201) and 500 examples from USATC (Tr203).

3)      Some sources give 163,9 m2 – possible differences among individual builders.

4)      In PKP service reduced to 1.33 MPa.

5)      Some sources give 14 300 kG.


References and acknowledgments


-       Monographic articles by Tomasz Roszak (SK vol. 5, 6 and 7/2010);

-       EZ vol. 3;


- (this link is no longer active);

- (website by Duncan Cotterill, also private communication – many thanks for information on Chinese engines and photos);

-       Piotr Staszewski (private communication – many thanks for data concerning foreign service);

-       Phil Crawshaw (private communication – many thanks for details concerning Tr203-288);

-       Production figures available at