Grand Central Belge / Belgian State 2-4-0 Locomotives in Belgium

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class Type Urban - 1867 (Locobase 10382)

Data from "Old Belgian Locomotives," The Locomotive Magazine, Vol IX (3 October 1903)., p.200.

Handsome 4-coupled six-wheelers with tall drivers, this class was named for the GCB's locomotive superintendent Maurice Urban. They were saluted for its design and finish. Regarding the latter, the author describes the wide use of polished brass, which decorated the dome cover, which was positioned on the boiler between the front coupled axle and the leading carrying axle, the cylinder covers, the safety valve stand, and the rims of the splashers. These golden glints highlighted a livery of dark brown lined in a lighter brown and set off by buffer beams and buffers painted in a bright vermillion. Such showpieces demanded showing at Paris in 1867 and Vienna in 1873.

Over a more than 30-year period, the class neither changed very much nor lost any of its members. At the turn of the century, the only significant update was to add the Westinghouse automatic air brake system and, alas, paint over all of that brass.

See Locobase 13212 for the 1873 engines from Couillet. In their later years, the Urbans pulled local traffic until they were scrapped in the early 1900s.

Class Type Urban - 1873 (Locobase 13212)

Data from W H Maw and William Dredge, "Locomotives", Reports on the Vienna Universal Exhibition, Part II (London: George Eyre and William Spottiswoode, 1874), pp. 407-409.

In Locobase 10382, the first group of thirteen St Leonard locomotives of this express-passenger design are described as they appeared at the 1867 Paris Exhibition. As noted there, the "Urbans" varied little during their years of production and the finish on the 1873 display engine was every bit as brilliant as that in Paris 7 years earlier.

The boiler dimensions changed, however, and the 1873s had a Belpaire firebox. Maw and Dredge report on the valve gear shown on the exhibition locomotive, which consisted of the standard Walschaert radial gear for the main valves and M. Guinotte's supplementary gear working an expansion valve that lay on top of the slide valve. See the pages given above for the extensive description of its operation and their verdict that the additional efficiency derived from such an arrangement would be more than offset by increased maintenance costs. Reflecting a basic truth about fuel costs at the time, the authors contend:

"Economy of fuel is far from being so important in the case of locomotives as it is in factory, pumping, or marine engines and to be really economical any reduction in the consumption of fuel must be effected by means that add little to the first cost of an engine, or to the cost of repairs and attendance."

In their later years, the Urbans pulled local traffic until they were scrapped in the early 1900s.

NB: Heating surface areas in the specifications are given in the original as derived from the water-side diameter of the tubes. Maw and Dredge also provide the fire-side areas, which were 1,072 sq ft (99.6 sq m) tube area and 1,148 1/2 sq ft (106.7 sq m) total. Tube length is between the tube plates.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

ClassType Urban - 1867Type Urban - 1873
Locobase ID10382 13212
RailroadGrand Central Belge / Belgian StateGrand Central Belge / Belgian State
Number in Class3523
Road Numbers110-122123-145
Number Built1323
BuilderSA Saint LeonardCouillet
Valve GearStephensonWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m) 7.58 / 2.31 7.55 / 2.30
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)16.21 / 4.9416.24 / 4.95
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase 0.47 0.46
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)51,745 / 23,47147,756 / 21,662
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)76,608 / 34,74973,046 / 33,133
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)2331 / 8.83
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT) 4.40 / 4
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)43 / 21.5040 / 20
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)83 / 211082.70 / 2100
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)114.60 / 7.90117.50 / 8.10
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)17.01" x 22.01" / 432x56017.01" x 23.74" / 432x603
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)7474 / 3390.158295 / 3762.55
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 6.92 5.76
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)190 - 2.008" / 51223 - 1.772" / 45
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)
Flue/Tube length (ft / m)10.50 / 3.2010.83 / 3.30
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)107.06 / 9.9576.50 / 7.11
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)23.13 / 2.1517.86 / 1.66
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1054 / 981198 / 111.34
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1054 / 981198 / 111.34
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume182.07191.86
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation26512099
Same as above plus superheater percentage26512099
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area12,2698989
Power L143524099
Power MT370.84378.45

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