Tr201 and Tr203
+ 25D201-51(ex USATC 5164),
The same engine photographed almost fifteen months
Although bearing service number 25D201-51,
tender of the Tr201-51 shows mysterious traces of some older number... This
photo was taken on
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),
Another picture of Tr203-451, taken on
Poor, but interesting photo of ШA 194, SZD,
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 www.railography.co.uk - 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,
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 This engine was withdrawn from service in February 1979.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.
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 2121 examples. This total includes S162 and S166 for the Soviet Union (1524 mm track) and three S161s for Jamaican Government Railways (class 60).
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 Baldwin (ШA 1 through 90) and ALCO (ШA 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, standarized 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 shall be described under separate entries.
Classes Tr201 and Tr203 were withdrawn from line service in late 1980 and from switching in 1982. Over forty served 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 (Baldwin 69496/1943, ex USATC 2253, briefly used by LNER) 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 as No. 5820, is currently (late 2012) undergoing overhaul. Tr203-288, transferred to North Yorkshire Moors Railway and also with its original USATC number restored, was operated with some technical problems (and footplate crews dislike!); withdrawn from service, it has been offered for sale. 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 www.gregoriou.itgo.com. Chinese KD6 487 is the first steam locomotive in that country restored in service with special tourist trains in January 2005.
Main technical data
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;
- www.winwaed.com/rail/LNER (this link is no longer active);
- www.railography.co.uk (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).