Ty246-22 + 32D46-22, ALCO 75506/1947, Zduńska Wola Karsznice loco depot, June 20, 2001…
… and another view of the last ‘Truman’, this time
in the autumn sun;
Manufacturer’s plate: according to most reliable sources, Ty246-22 is ALCO 75506, which suggests that this plate originally belonged to Ty246-16, withdrawn in 1978. Photo taken on June 20, 2001.
Ty246-37 (ALCO 75521/1947), photographed somewhere in Poland in August 1961. This engine was withdrawn in June 1979. Photo from my collection.
Side drawing of the Ty246 by M.Ćwikła (source: SK vol. 4/1998).
Ty246-74 (Baldwin 73457/1947), Bydgoszcz Główna station, September 30, 1979. Photo by Roman Witkowski (postcard from my collection).
Coal feeder head in the cab (most probably Ty246-22). Photo by Tomasz O. (www.pl.wikipedia.org).
Ty246-71 (Baldwin 73454/1947), photographed at the Łazy depot in 1975. This locomotive was written off in June 1979. Photo by Tadeusz Suchorolski (from my collection).
Immediately after WWII, coal export was practically the only source of foreign revenue for Poland, so its transport from Silesian collieries to Baltic Sea ports was of vital importance. However, there were critical shortages of suitable rolling stock and, in particular, heavy freight locomotives. The need for such machines in the 1920s had resulted in quantity production of class Ty23 and its derivative, class Ty37, both with tractive effort of about 18 tonnes. Many of these machines were regained after the war, but their technical condition was in most cases poor. Ex-German locomotives were mostly lighter Ty2s (tractive effort of 16.3 tonnes), with only a handful of more powerful Ty3s and Ty4s; their condition was equally bad and only few could be immediately put into service. Polish locomotive factories, damaged or stripped of manufacturing facilities (taken away by either Germans or Russians), initially commenced production of German types, BR52 (PKP class Ty42) and BR42 (Ty43) and later switched to improved Ty37, designated Ty45. Initial output was, however, much short of demand, so it was decided to purchase heavy freight locomotives abroad. As locomotive industry in Europe had suffered much during the war, the choice fell on American companies that could supply modern machines of almost any type on favorable terms. In the end of 1946, following a visit of railway specialists to the USA, an order was placed for 100 freight locomotives, designated Ty246, to be supplied by ALCO, Baldwin and Lima.
The Decapod 1-5-0 axle arrangement, typical for heavy freight machines used by PKP before WWII, was retained, although American design practice favored rear truck, in order to accommodate large firebox. So was the two-cylinder single-expansion steam engine, but many design features were new and untypical for Polish or even European design practice. These included mechanical coal feeder (Stocker Standard HT, hence Polish commonly used term ‘stoker’), multi-valve camshaft-driven steam throttle, water supply to the boiler (either Nathan injector or Worthington pump) and wide use of pneumatic drives. During tests it was found that the Worthington pump contributed to higher output and better economy. Due to lack of spares, however, pumps were later removed and more typical injectors were fitted.
All ordered machines from ALCO (40), Baldwin (40) and Lima (20) were supplied between September and December 1947 and immediately went into service on the Coal Trunk Line between Upper Silesia and Gdynia. Most were based at the Zduńska Wola Karsznice depot (between 1950 and 1966 their number ranged from 69 to 76), the rest were assigned to the Bydgoszcz Wschód depot. Typically they hauled heavy drafts: 2200 to 2500 tonnes was common. They were promptly nicknamed ‘Trumans’ and soon earned a good reputation for their strength, modernity and reliability. Furthermore, working conditions of the footplate crew were much improved (e.g. completely closed cab with provisions to operate all instruments in sitting position), which earned this engine another nickname of ‘American limousine’. As electrification of this principal line progressed (to be completed in September 1969), they were gradually shifted to less prominent roles, starting from mid-1960s. One engine (Ty246-84, Lima 9270/1947) was written off after a crash in June 1969. In March 1978 Ty246-79 (Baldwin 73462/1947) derailed in Zabrze and was scrapped in situ. Between 1968 and 1973 most of ‘Trumans’ (63 machines) were directed to haul coal trains from Silesian collieries to switch yards. They disappeared from Karsznice completely until 1970 and from Bydgoszcz until 1975, but some remained at minor depots along the Coal Trunk Line for a few years more. Total withdrawal of this class was unexpectedly rapid: all 94 machines that had remained in operation until early 1978 were written off before December 1979. This was caused by several reasons: bad condition of boilers revealed during overhauls, mounting supplies of ‘modern’ ST44 diesels and (as history has it) determination of the PKP management not to enter the new decade with locomotives of American (and therefore ‘imperialistic’) heritage still in use…
After withdrawal from PKP, twelve Ty246s were sold to various industrial plants. Many survived for a few years more as stationary heating machines; last of them were scrapped in late 1980s. Taking care of heritage locomotives has never been a strong point of Polish enterprises and almost all were promptly sold for scrap. Only one example avoided – rather by chance – such inglorious end, namely Ty246-22 (ALCO 75506/1947), which was withdrawn in September 1979 and sold to the Stomil chemical plant in Wolbrom. This engine was transferred to the Railway Museum in Warsaw in 1981 and externally restored. In 1994 it was taken to the Zduńska Wola Karsznice locomotive depot and can now be seen there. According to some older sources, second example (number unknown) was still at the Konin lignite mine in mid-90s; it probably came there in early 60s from PKP. This engine, however, no longer exists.
Ty246 was the heaviest and most powerful steam locomotive ever used in Poland. It is worth mentioning here that design of the indigenous Ty51, intended for the same role, was based directly on its older counterpart; Polish machine, however, was slightly lighter and shorter, and from the point of view of design features more typical to indigenous practice.
Main technical data
1) Were they also built for other services?
References and acknowledgments
- Monographic article by Paweł Terczyński and Ryszard Stankiewicz (SK vol. 4/1998);
- ‘Doctor’s website www.parowozy.net;
- Roman Ficek (private communication – thanks a lot for statistics);