Product Features and Details
Model: Lematec's new French SNCF class 141R is a handmade museum quality brass model. This exquisite new model is handmade out of brass with extensive detail. Model features a full cab interior, sprung loaded buffers and extensive boiler details. Models are equipped with a high efficiency "Faulhaber" type brush-less, iron-less motor. The Class 141R's are extremely limited only 250 produced worldwide. This incredible model would make a nice addition to any collection, especially for the collectors that love exotic French locomotives.
Prototype: At the end of World War II there was a shortage of locomotives. To quickly obtain the quantity of locomotives needed they were ordered from the main American and Canadian locomotive builders under the Lend-Lease Program (not the Marshall Plan, signed in April 1948, as often written).
The design was based on the Green Bay & Western Railroad's successfully customized Mikados and somewhat on the USRA Light Mikado, suitably modified to meet the SNCF loading gauge. Modifications included the overall height, the fitting of European couplers and buffers, left-hand drive, smoke deflectors (to a unique and instantly recognizable style) and a Kylchap exhaust on the second batch.
The first order for 700 engines was placed in February 1945 with production split between the "big three" American locomotive builders: Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, American Locomotive Company in Schenectady, New York and Lima Locomotive Works in Lima, Ohio. Once financing was made available, the second batch of 640 engines was ordered from the "big three" and also from the Canadian Manufacturers: Montreal Locomotive Works in Montreal, Quebec and Canadian Locomotive Company in Kingston, Ontario. The first batch were all designed as coal fired engines unlike the second batch which were mostly produced as oil burners, burning preheated heavy fuel oil (known in French as 'Mazout').
In the immediate post-war period the quality of coal was in high demand. The SNCF was consuming 9 million tons per annum which led to a massive introduction of oil fired locomotives. Oil thus allowed savings in coal, even if in many depots it required a revolution in working conditions. The extra range permitted by burning oil was significant. The oil burning locomotives were able to travel 700 km compared to only 400 km by coal burning locomotives. The enginemen nicknamed the locomotives mazoutières or charbonnières ("coal-scuttles") according to fuel employed; oil-burners were also called les goudronneuses ("tar spraying machines") by their crews.
After the second world war, the American manufacturers' output had been boosted by the war effort. Thus from July 1945 to May 1946 the 700 141 R of the first batch were built in only eleven months. It is possible to observe significant variations in monthly productions. Large scale productions started in September and reached its height during October, November, December and January. Productions then slowed down in February and March and continued until they were finished in May producing an average of almost three engines per day! By way of comparison in French locomotives works (French industry having been weakened by the war) it took four years, from June 1948 to July 1952, for the manufacturer Schneider to deliver 35 241 P to the SNCF.
The first engine, the 141 R 1 built by Lima, left the workshops on July 30, 1945. The 141 R 466 was the first to be unloaded in France on November 17,1945, at the port of Marseille. The last of the series, the 141 R 1340, left the workshops of the Canadian Locomotive Company in July 1947 and on September 5 was unloaded at the port of Cherbourg. Seventeen engines (the 141 R 1220–1235 and 141 R 1241) were lost at sea when the ship transporting them, the Norwegian ship MV Belpamelasank sank in a violent storm off Newfoundland on April 11, 1947. So of the 1340 engines initially ordered, only 1323 entered in service on the French network.
For the SNCF, this type of machine constituted a small revolution - with simple expansion and very advanced construction techniques, the 141 R 1101–1340 were the only SNCF steam locomotives equipped with Boxpok wheels, roller bearings on all the driving and coupled axles, as well as an almost in-deformable one-piece cast steel frame. The bar frames and the axle box bearings of 141 R 1–1100, appeared irreproachable, which made them powerful machines but economical to maintain. For 141 R 1101–1340, the maximum mileage run between two main work visits was up to 230,000 kilometres (140,000 mi). Easy to drive, they offered relatively modern comfort for both drivers and firemen. The cabs were fully enclosed, equipped with a comfort and an ergonomic hitherto unknown to SNCF crews. Driving and firing controls were within reach while seated, with automatic coal feeding thanks to the mechanical stoker, and oil-firing was even easier. They werebanalisées ("standardized"), that is, not assigned to a particular crew.
On October 19, 1975 the last 141 R was in use with the SNCF, 141 R 1187 of Vénissieux depot, worked a special return working between Lyon and Veynes. Four locomotives of Narbonne depot were leased to the Hellenic State Railways from November 1973 to April 1974.