Ol101 and Ol102
S.68 at the Varshavskiy station in St.Petersburg; photo taken in August 2001 by Igor Bosnyakov (from www.parovoz.com – thanks for permission!).
Side drawing of class S from the monograph mentioned in references.
This postcard from my collection (dated 1916) shows the S.108 from the Severo-Donetskaya railway (Sormovskiy 1690/1912). The inscription in old Russian reads ‘Greetings from the road’.
This photo captures the atmosphere of days from the past: S.224 with the funeral train of Cheka leader M.S.Uritsky, location unknown, 1918. Source: www.commons.wikimedia.org.
After Poland regained independence in 1918, most locomotives impressed into service with newly-formed Polish state railways PKP were of either German or Austrian origin. Russian locomotives, with the exception of class Tp104 (formerly OW, or OB in Russian script), were few and most of them were written off fairly soon. There were several reasons for this, both technical and political, but the result is that information on their service in Poland is usually hard to find and data from various sources are often contradictory. Classes Ol101 and Ol102 provide a good example: first of all, even their very identity is not certain...
Everything began in early 20th century, when Russian railways formulated a need for a passenger locomotive faster and more powerful than classes P and D (П and Д in Russian script, axle arrangement 2-2-0) or later class N (H, 1-3-0) then in service. New engine was to be fired by low-grade domestic coal or even wood, which called for large firebox, so the 1-3-1, or Prairie axle arrangement was chosen, as a Pacific would have been too long for existing turntables. Five prototypes were ordered from Sormovskiy Zavod of Nizhny Novgorod and all were completed in late 1910. They featured large, Belpaire-type firebox with grate area of 3.8 sq.m, for the first time in Russian design practice located above the rear idle axle. Large, four-axle tender was designed by Putilovskiy Zavod of Petersburg and was later widely used also with other classes. After service tests new locomotive was considered satisfactory and ordered in quantity as class S (C in Russian script); until 1918, 678 examples were built by four factories (Sormovskiy, Luganskiy, Kharkovskiy and Nevskiy). It should be noted here than in Russia each railroad had its own numbering system, so some service numbers were used more than once (for example, designations S-1 through S-13 were used four times each!). Class S quickly found widespread use and became the principal passenger engine in Russia and then in the Soviet Union, at least until late 1920s, when more powerful class Su appeared in large numbers (together with improved SUM, almost 2700 examples were delivered until 1951). Despite similar designation, SU was a new locomotive, only broadly based on its predecessor. Basically intended to haul fast and comparatively light trains, these engines hauled almost anything they could manage, fired with whatever was at hand, especially during the Civil War and immediately afterwards. Despite such rough conditions, few were withdrawn before WWII; in November 1942, 655 examples were still in the NKPS (Ministry of Transport) rosters. Withdrawal of class S from line service started in late 1950s and was completed until 1964; some survived for several years more as switchers, others were sold to industrial operators or served as stationary boilers. Most probably the last operational machine was S.16, sold to a colliery in 1948 and written off in 1972.
In 1913 a variant of this engine was ordered for the 1435 mm gauge Warsaw-Vienna railroad from Kolomenskiy Zavod and designated class SW (CB – the upper index stood for the railroad name; factory type 145). Although based on the original class S, it differed in many respects. Zara-Krauss lead truck was replaced by the Krauss-Helmholtz truck and rear idle axle, previously rigidly fixed in the frame, was supplanted by the Bissel truck. This allowed for negotiating tighter curves. In order to match different vehicle gauge, boiler was lowered by 150 mm. Boiler pressure was reduced from 13 to 12 bar, smokebox was increased in length and Hardy-type vacuum brakes replaced Westinghouse units. Nine engines were supplied in 1914 and six in 1915 (service numbers 50 through 64), but their service with the original operator was very short. As fortunes of war turned against Russia and Warsaw had to be evacuated, they were taken and converted to the 1524 mm gauge. Later they served in Russia and most were withdrawn before 1960. SW was the starting point for the above-mentioned classes SU and SUM, later built in quantity, as well as SUT (first production variant of SU) and SUR prototypes, built in 1948.
Post-war agreements stipulated that all SWs should be returned to Polish authorities, but this was never done. According to several sources (see class list published at www.holdys.pl/tomi – website maintained by Tomisław Czarnecki), these very machines were to have become PKP class Ol101. On the other hand, Poland did acquire a number of original class S machines; the above-mentioned website gives their number as eleven, of which ten were immediately sold (or handed over) to Latvian Latvijas Dzelzcels (LDZ) railways and the last one, after an unsuccessful attempt to convert it to the 1435 mm gauge, was finally written off and scrapped (class S design did not facilitate easy conversion to a smaller gauge – in fact the entire frame should have been modified!). This single machine might be designated either Ol101 or Ol102. In my humble opinion, the latter supposition may be justified: first, there is no other candidate for the Ol102 designation (next in turn is Ol103 – this designation was briefly used for the MÁV class 324), and second, there was a tendency to assign different service designations to individual variants of the same basic design (e.g. various version of Russian class O became Tp102 through Tp105). This is, however, just a conjecture.
Russian sources, in particular the monograph by A.Nikolskiy, give different information. According to them, seven class S engines did receive PKP service designations, namely Ol101-1 (S.283), Ol101-2 (S.860), Ol101-3 (S.311), Ol101-4 (S.838), Ol101-5 (S.828), Ol101-6 (S.848) and Ol101-7 (S.41); due to the above-mentioned ambiguity concerning numerals, their manufacturers and serials cannot be determined. After their transfer to Latvia in 1923 and 1924, they were re-designated class Csk and given service numbers 144 through 150 (later to be supplemented by two additional ex-Russian machines, C.43 and C.69, which became Csk 151 and Csk 152). All nine were taken over by NKPS after the annexation of Latvia in 1940. LP confirms seven machines serving briefly with PKP, transferred to LVD in 1928 (which seems justified, given that they had been assigned PKP service numbers). According to this source, there were two Ol102s that remained in service until 1939; no details are available. The identity question therefore remains open.
Only one example has survived until today. S.68 (Nevskiy 1992/1913), sold to industry in 1960, finally ended up as a stationary boiler in Moscow. Due to an enormous effort of railway fans, it was saved from scrapping in early 1980s (thanks to the deliberate subterfuge that this very engine was in fact S.245, which had hauled the train carrying Lenin and his staff to Moscow in 1918). Beautifully restored, although not to the working order, it was first kept at the VNIIZhT (railway transport institute) premises in Moscow and later transferred to St.Petersburg, where it is currently on display at a railway station with the original S.68 designation.
Main technical data – Russian class S
1) See main text.
Main technical data – Russian class SW
1) See main text.
2) SW was coupled with a different tender than S, with Diamond-type trucks.
3) Later Westinghouse.
References and acknowledgments
- Steam locomotives, class S by Alexander S. Nikolskiy (Victoria Moscow, 1997 – in Russian);
- LOZD vol. 1, LP,
- http://scado.narod.ru/rail (website by Vyacheslav Sokolov).