Tr202-28 + 25D202-28 (Vulcan
Foundry 5448/ 1946), preserved at Jaworzyna Śląska depot,
The same engine, photographed in June 2008 by John Stewart (thanks for permission!).
+ 25D202-19 (Vulcan Foundry 5404/ 1946) at the
Chabówka heritage park,
Side drawing of Tr202 by M.Ćwikła from SK vol.10/2004.
Tr202-12 at the Wrocław Główny depot, 1962. Photo from my collection.
During WWII, British locomotive industry developed and built in quantity several types of wartime locomotives for military use. By necessity, lack of material and qualified manpower was assumed; it should be kept in mind that British factories were heavily engaged in production of tanks and armored vehicles. Commonly called Austerities and identified by WD (for War Department), these machines included a 0-3-0 tank engine (484 built) and two tender freighters, 1-4-0 and 1-5-0, built in 935 and 150 examples, respectively.
The 1-4-0 freighter was designed by Robert Riddles, then Deputy Director-General of Royal Engineer Equipment, in 1942. This engine was based on the 8F class, designed by Sir William Stanier, and production was commenced in January 1943 at North British Locomotive Company and Vulcan Foundry Ltd., to last until May 1945. Many of them later served with various British railways and after nationalization in 1948 they were re-classed WD 2-8-0; last of them survived in service until September 1967.
As early as in June 1943 it was decided to develop, on the basis of the 8F and Austerities, a new engine for various European railways that could be put into service immediately after the war, before local locomotive manufacturers could recover. Appropriately named Liberation, this engine was designed for Continental vehicle gauge, with the participation of railway specialists from Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, The Netherlands, Poland and Yugoslavia. It retained the axle arrangement, basic layout and certain design features of the British engines, but was an entirely new design. In particular, boiler pressure was reduced from 17.6 to 16 bar, grate was much larger, evaporating surface was increased by over 34 percent and superheater surface was over two times larger – certainly Liberation was intended to burn coal of not necessarily superior quality. New machine weighted almost 25 tonnes more than WD 2-8-0 and axle load of 18.5 tonnes was quite high for some of its potential recipients. Liberation was a modern machine characterized – contrary to most wartime locos, including its American counterpart, USATC S160 – by high-grade materials used, excellent workmanship and few simplifications. Copper firebox with circulation tubes, Houlson rocking grate, fully-enclosed cab and electric lighting were certainly not typical for wartime locomotives, deliberately intended for short service life.
Between 1945 and 1946 Vulcan Foundry Ltd. of Newton-le-Willows built 120 Liberations (serial numbers 5357 through 5476). Of these, 10 were supplied to Luxembourg (CFL class 47, service numbers 4701 to 4710) and the rest were distributed by UNRRA (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration) between Czechoslovakia, Poland and Yugoslavia. Due to Continental vehicle gauge, Liberations had to be transported by road to Liverpool and then by sea to Germany, where they were assembled at Hamburg-Altona depot. ČSD received 15 examples, classed 459.0 (UNRRA numbers 1D50 to 1D64). Due to rather high axle load, their speed – although fixed at 80 km/h maximum – had to be reduced to 50 km/h on some lines and even 30 km/h on bridges. Last example, 459.005, was withdrawn in 1972 and scrapped ten years later. JDŽ took delivery of 65 machines, designated class 38; their service experience proved so encouraging that between 1957 and 1958 Duro Daković company of Slavonski Brod built further ten examples.
Polish railways took delivery of 30 Liberations (serial numbers 5387 through 5405 and 5440 through 5450, UNRRA numbers 1D31 through 1D49 and 1D84 through 1D94), classed Tr202 – all of them were based in Lower Silesia. First recorded service was in August 1946. Heavy freight traffic remained their principal domain throughout entire service life; according to official test data, their nominal rating was 1580 hp, only slightly lower than that of indigenous Ty45 with five coupled axles. No wonder, thus, that they were very seldom used with passenger trains, contrary to other UNRRA engines, Tr201s and Tr203s. In comparison with the latter types, Tr202 – being heavier by some 11 tonnes – developed in similar conditions over 40 percent more tractive effort, due to larger cylinder bore and higher boiler pressure. In-service modifications of these modern locomotives were few and typical, apart from shifting driver’s post to right in late 1950s. Large central headlight was later removed and live steam Davies-Metcalfe injectors were replaced by typical Metcalfe-Friedmann and Nathan units. Smokestack extensions were also fitted, although some examples received new, longer smokestacks. Copper fireboxes were replaced with steel ones during overhauls in late 1950s.
First engine of this class withdrawn from service was Tr202-29 (s/n 5449/1946), written off in September 1971. Soon, however, excessive wear and tear were revealed, partly due to intensive service with drafts even by one-third heavier than previously envisaged. In particular, engine and tender frame fractures were common. Repairs were considered costly and unjustified, so the last example (Tr202-10, s/n 5396/1946) was withdrawn in December 1976. At least six examples remained in use for several more years as stationary boilers. A British railway museum tried to purchase Tr202-12 (s/n 5398/1946) and Tr202-20 (s/n 5440/1946), which served in that role at a textile industry plant since 1974, but these plans never materialized and both engines were scrapped in 1984. Tr202-28 (s/n 5448/1946) was initially in 1975 intended to be sold to Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, but again British railway enthusiasts failed to obtain a Liberation – the engine returned to service for a few months, then was definitely withdrawn, plinthed in Oleśnica in July 1990 and finally transferred to Jaworzyna Śląska. K&WVR managed to purchase a WD 2-8-0 Austerity (Vulcan Foundry 5200/1945) from Sweden in 1976 instead. Tr202-19 (s/n 5405/1946), having suffered from similar twists of fate, finally found its way to the Chabówka heritage park in 1995. These two examples still exist and most probably are the only surviving Liberations. According to some sources, several Yugoslavian 38s were dumped in Belgrade, but it is most likely that all have been scrapped.
Tr202 was the only British steam engine to serve with PKP. However, in 1961, first EU06 electric passenger locomotives, also built at Newton-le-Willows, arrived in Poland. In their license variant, designated EU07 or EP07, they still are – and will long remain – the basic passenger locomotives in the PKP service.
Main technical data
2) Some sources give 210.6 m2
3) Some sources give 19 965 mm
4) Some sources give 485 mm.
References and acknowledgments
- Monographic article by Paweł Terczyński (SK vol. 10/2004),
- Chris West (private communication).