141 R : american locomotives in France

The 141 R: American locomotives in France

(first part)


Written by P.G.

Micioide France 22
At the end of the Second World War French and European Industry was not able to cope with the urgent need to compensate for the loss of over 1300 locomotives by the SNCF.

The only solution was to appeal to North American industry and the Baldwin Locomotive Work planned, in less than a month, a universal locomotive, suitable for towing heavy freight trains and passenger express trains. Not to take risks and to gain valuable time was modified to adapt it to the circulation in France, the project of “USRA Mikado” that already was used with excellent results on many American railways.
Between 1945 and 1947 were built by various manufacturers …

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… In the US and Canada, and 1340 of these locomotives nicknamed “Libération”.

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Anyone wishing to understand better the meaning of the term “Libération”, please click on the image below.

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Of these 1323 machines arrived in France , 17 are still on the seabed of the Atlantic Ocean, the victims of the sinking of the Norwegian freighter Belpamela …

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… .sank in 1947 off the coast of Terranova.


The 141R can be divided into three versions:

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Some of them were planned for the coal combustion, a diesel side, the fuel that gave them an autonomy of about 700 Km.
Their frame was made from a single casting which also included the cylinders.

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simple, robust and powerful machines (2150 Kw could well develop , 42% more than a 746 FS) …

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… Spread rapidly throughout France to haul freight and passenger trains and formed, until the beginning of the 70s the backbone of steam traction in the country.
They weighed 116 t and had a top speed of 100 km / h.
Also they hauled many prestigious trains like the Mistral in the stretch Marseille – Nice, and many arrived every day in Italy in Ventimiglia with any type of train.

I remember them in particulate towing the “Bleu Train ” photographed here on the Ligurian coast just before it reach this station.

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Here is one in Ventimiglia in ’56 under the Italian three-phase two-wire  …

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… And at the other on the rotating platform of the station itself.

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Twelve of them have been preserved, three of which are currently in running order.
One of these, the 141R 1126,  returned to Ventimiglia in 2005 with a special train …

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…. where it was turned …

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… to return the same evening

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The first scale model HO 141R is the work of Chaumeil in 1949. Unlike the real locomotive, it was made in France and not in the United States.
In fact Monsieur Chaumeil, Lyons car mechanic , had founded in 1947 in the rue Pasteur in Lyon a workshop production of railway bronze models by adopting, for the first time in France, the operating system of two DC rails.
He initially had a dozen employees, who specialized in bronze casting, someone working on machine tools, and others in painting. The series consisted of ten specimens, at the era sold dear. On the death of the owner ‘s equipment it was bought by an enthusiast, but when they wanted to take possession of workshop, all the tools, plant and designs had mysteriously disappeared … ..
The 141 Chaumeil are now extremely rare.
 After years of research, I was able recently to buy one ….

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It is a very nice model for that time …

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… With the superstructure of the locomotive and all the bronze tender …

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…by massive detail …

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… . the beauty of things made with professionalism and passion, to which the patina of time

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has added an even more fascinating …

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It is equipped with afive-pole engine  permanent magnet placed to inside of the outbreak and which drives the first motor axis by means of a worm screw and at cascade gears.
Very beautiful and very thin for those years wheels and connecting rods in steel and bronze burnished  in gray that give a touch of sophistication to this model accentuating the harmony together.

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This is a particularly successful example: I had to consider a 141R other Chaumeil, owned by a Parisian collector, equipped with wheels and linkage rougher.
If however we compare this locomotive with other models in the same period, the quality of design and workmanship are impressive.
Worthy heirs of Chaumeil 141R are the models of these machines produced by Gerard TAB starting from early 60s.
Monsieur Gérard had opened, too  in 1947, a model shop rue Pernety in 14ème Arrondissement Paris called “Trains – Avions – Bateaux” from which they derived the TAB brand.

Soon his production was oriented towards the locomotives in HO produced in small series.

Of these is part of a whole family … 141R.

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… Very beautiful, entirely metal (apart from the case of the dinghy plastic ) and with an extremely fine mechanics.
The first is the 1330 141R entirely black with wheels Boxpok …

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… That makes it perfectly the image of the real locomotive from the American silhouette to which are added typically European components such as para-smoking sheets, bumpers …

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The 141R Gérard TAB had several variants.
 Here, for example, we can admire another 141R  1330 black with a different paint ….

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… More lucid than the last and with red line along the practicable.

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The same engine was also proposed in the green livery ….

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… And always with Boxpok wheels  …

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All 141R TAB are equipped with headlights illuminated by small lamps similar to those used by Rivarossi …

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 … And some have even lighting on the tender.
The 141R 1083 is instead provided, in accordance with the third version of the true locomotive of Boxpok wheels on the third axis and spoked wheels on the other …

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It reproduces a copy with diesel combustion, and its tender …

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… And features, as for the real locomotive, an elegant green livery.

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 (@ July 31, 2016)

(Contd second part)

Micioide France 2