Nord 4-2-0 Locomotives in France

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class 122 (Locobase 621)

Data from Gustav Reder (Michael Reynolds, trans), The world of steam locomotives (New York: Putnam, 1974), supplemented by 1907 Catalogue of Mechanical Engineering Collection in the Science Division of the Victoria & Albert Museum (Board of Education South Kensington)., pp 92 and by August Perdonnet, Traite Elementaire des Chemins de Fer, Tome Second (Paris: Garnier Freres, , 1860), pp. 551-555

The first French "Cramptons", of which 12 (122-133) were built for the Nord in 1849. These featured the characteristic layout of low boiler and driving axle that was carried behind the firebox. Unlike British experience, the French Cramptons were hugely successful and the type was built in the hundreds. Perdonnet quote the price per locomotive as 65,000 francs with the tender costing another 13,000.

Among their advantages were the large bearing surfaces and low flange wear on the drivers, which reduced maintenance costs. Moreover, they were well balanced after an initial problem with derailments. Perdonnet describes an ordinary train for this engine as made up of 12 carriages weighing a total of 97 tonnes (ca. 8 tons per carriage); coke consumption when pulling such a train amounted to 8.5 kg/km (30 lb/mile). A maximum train load would be 130 tonnes in 16 carriages and a coke-consumption rate of 11.5 kg/km (40.8 lb/mile).

On most, the Stephenson link valve motion rode outside. (The six Nords built in 1859 --165-170-- were fitted with Egide Walschaert's radial valve gear, the first engines in France to have the type.) The double frame was heavily riveted and the throttle (regulator) was carried in a box on the boiler with steam pipes extending down to the outside cylinders. The low firebox crownplate (nearly flush with the boiler) was probably invented at Cail but became known as a Crampton firebox.

In the early engines at least, the second leading axle bore only 4 tons (8,960 lb) of weight compared to the 10 1/2 long tons of the other two. (Perdonnet's table of data shows that this axle's wheel diameter ran a little smaller than the first.) The V & A Catalogue comments that this distribution was adopted to ensure steady running.

Approx 320 Cramptons were built, of which 127 entered French service on the Nord, the Est, and the Paris-Lyon-Mediterranee (PLM). The only French engines not built by Cail were PLM's 31-40 (built by Koechlin and fitted with a large steam dome) and Est's 174-188, which were built by Le Creusot. So widespread were these engines in France that an idiomatic expression --Prendre le Crampton-- became synonymous with taking the train. Super Cramptons, with two driving axles, were built later.

German railroads accepted 135 Cramptons, many built by Borsig or Maffei. The largest roster was operated by the Hanover railroad, which bought 19 Wohlert-built Cramptons in 1853-1857 and 19 Egestorff engines.

Class 134 (Locobase 622)

Data from August Perdonnet et Camille Polonceau, Nouveau Portefeuille de L'Ingenieur des Chemins de Fer, Tome Second (Paris: Librairie Scientifique, Industrielle et Agricole, 1866), pp. 530-531 and additional comment from Reder (1974).

Second Crampton series for the Nord; see Locobase 621 for the earlier version.

This batch had larger drivers, higher boiler pressure, and higher tractive effort. Like the earlier engines, these had widely spaced carrying axles with the cylinder steam chest visible just ahead of the rear carrying axle. They also had the tall stack, square steam "dome," and direct outside steam pipe. One of these, Le Continent, remained in service until 1914.

Class 146 (Locobase 11312)

Data from August Perdonnet et Camille Polonceau, Nouveau Portefeuille de L'Ingenieur des Chemins de Fer, Tome Second (Paris: Librairie Scientifique, Industrielle et Agricole, 1866), pp. 530-531.

Third Crampton series for the Nord; see Locobase 621 and 622 for the earlier versions.

Class 165 (Locobase 20761)

Data from "'Crampton' Locomotives, Northern of France and PLM Rys", Locomotive Magazine, Volume XXVI [26] (15 November 1920), pp. 252.

Locobases 621, 622 , and 11312 show earlier versions of these express engines whose tall drivers turned on an axle located behind the firebox. The goal of Thomas Crampton's design was to reach high speed while maintaining a low center of gravity. Its outside cylinders rode well up on the boiler and between the two front carrying axles. The latter were individually carried in widely axle boxes.

The LM report explains that while Crampton favored inside cylinders (because it complied "with the mid-Victorian British engineer's prejudice"), no Continental Crampton adopted the practice. Instead, this quartet made possilby the earliest use in express engines of Walschaert's outside constant-lead radial valve gear, which was located inside the frame to put in line with the cylinders.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Locobase ID621 622 11312 20761
Number in Class12121618
Road Numbers122-131134-145146-161165-170, 1-12
Number Built12121618
Valve GearStephensonStephensonStephensonWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)16.04 / 4.8914.76 / 4.5014.76 / 4.5014.76 / 4.50
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)23,369 / 10,60027,778 / 12,60027,778 / 12,600
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)23,369 / 10,60027,778 / 12,60027,778 / 12,600
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)63,714 / 28,90065,257 / 29,60067,461 / 30,60064,154 / 29,100
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)41,226 / 18,700
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)104,940 / 47,600
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)1874 / 7.10
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT) 1.70 / 2
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)39 / 19.5046 / 2346 / 23
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)82.70 / 210090.60 / 230082.70 / 210082.70 / 2100
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)101.50 / 7113.10 / 7.80113.10 / 7.80108.80 / 7.50
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)16.54" x 22.05" / 420x56016.54" x 22.05" / 420x56016.54" x 22.05" / 420x56016.54" x 21.65" / 420x550
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)6293 / 2854.466401 / 2903.457012 / 3180.596623 / 3004.15
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 3.71 4.34 3.96
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)173 - 2.008" / 51
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)
Flue/Tube length (ft / m)12.01 / 3.6611.48 / 3.5012.01 / 3.66
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)75.32 / 771.02 / 6.6075.32 / 766.20 / 6.15
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)15.60 / 1.4513.67 / 1.2715.60 / 1.4514.10 / 1.31
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1059 / 98.421051 / 97.711059 / 98.421001 / 92.98
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1059 / 98.421051 / 97.711059 / 98.421001 / 92.98
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume193.13191.67193.13185.92
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation1583154617641534
Same as above plus superheater percentage1583154617641534
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area7645803285197203
Power L13663437940813710
Power MT345.57347.54323.89

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