French military railways Articulated Locomotives in France

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class Pechot-Bourdon (Locobase 4953)

Data from DeGolyer, Volume 57, pp 1-39 for 1-100 (which, beginning on page 6, contains the entire French Government specification), pp. 41-79 for 101-180, and pp. 81-82 for 181-280 . Also see "Les Petits Trains de la Grande Guerre" at [].; Google's translation of Laurent Bromberger, ". A Serbian Péchot-Bourdon locomotive to celebrate the centenary of the Armistice" posted 1 January 2019 at [], last accessed 20 June 2021; Jean Florin, "Belfort Strategic Railway" on the at [], last accessed 21 June 2021; and Frank G Jonah,"The 'Light Railways' of the Battle Front in France", Papers and Discussions, Proceedings of the American Society of Civil Engineers, January 1920, pp. 81-96 and February 1920, pp. 503-513.

See Locobase 7433 for the original Pechot-Bourdon design that appeared at the 1889 Paris Exposition.

Baldwin works numbers were:


March 41937-41951, 41957-41976, 41979-41993

April 42002-42051


March 43081-43090

April 43194-43198, 43267-43270, 43276

May 43311-43325, 43333, 43363-43372, 43435-43446

June 43452-43463, 43507-43511, 43522-43526

July 43793-43797

August 43873-43880, 43952-43958, 43972-43981, 43999-44001

September 44112-44116, 44137-44143, 44158-44161, 44167

October 442140, 44215-44218, 44255-44259, 44315-44324

November 44409-44425, 44449-44451, 44464-44473

Built for the French military railway system, these little double-enders were built by French, British (North British), and by Baldwin. The illustration shows shapely stacks on each end, tapering outward from the base to contain the spark-arresters topped by a tall cylinder with lids on the top. Slab side tanks flanked both boilers; one held a convenient hose. The cab had a keyhole opening and a cupola at the top.

According to the websource -- [] -- these were designed to be carried by a 10-tonne flatcar.

17 were later turned over to the Algerian Railways. Four of these were said to have been sold by 1935 to the French-owned, 3-mile-long Jagadhri Light Railway between Ambala and Saharanpur in India.

Hugh Hughes wrote into the August 1974 Industrial Railway Record (p. 294-298) asserting that these probably did not serve on that line: "I am a little sceptical however about a Pech(t engine on the Jagadhri Light Railway,... Official statistics for this line show a maximum of four locomotives for the period 1930-35; two of these would be Hunslet 1055 and 1068 (both 0-4-0 side tank locos supplied for the opening in 1911) and the other two presumably the Baldwin 4-6-0 side tanks listed by Mr Goldsmith. I wonder whether there was possibly confusion between the Baldwin numbers 44528 (a 4-6-0 side tank) and 44258 (a Pech(t-Bourdon)??"

The editor acknowledged that Hughes had grounds for his skepticism. There was some official Baldwin record of 4 locomotives going to the JDL, but "...unfortunately there is nothing in the surviving official Baldwin records to confirm or refute the statement."

Laurent Bromberger's much more recent article focused on the restorationi of a Serbian example called Kostolac (the mining town in Serbia where it served). He offers a succinct, yet detailed assessment of these "small, robust and well-designed steam locoomotives." They were "compact and articulated", able to round curves as tight as 20 metres and "had good stability on degraded soils due to a very low center of gravity." Thanks to its centrally mounted dome over the two fireboxes, the latters' firebox crown sheets were always covered with water."

Jean Florin's Belfort article also notes the value of the low center of gravity, which aided stability "at least in principle and on a fairly straight track." "Incomparable" as they were "in terms of flexibility and handling on not always well-groomed tracks", they could derail and tip over if the transfer of water through a connecting pipe between the two side tanks suddenly shifted the center of gravity. This tendency, Florin adds, was magnified by the relatively wide frame and boiler riding on a narrow-gauge track.

Briquettes made of semi-bituminous coal and pitch fueled the engines. The fuel bricks were easy to spot as they rode on every horizontal surface available. Their relatively low calorie level meant the Pechots displayed a "ferocious appetite" for the fuel. The driver had the painful job of "breaking briquettes and putting them in the two hearths" in a very confined space.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Locobase ID4953
RailroadFrench military railways
Number in Class280
Road Numbers1-280
Gauge60 cm
Number Built280
Valve GearWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m) 2.95 / 0.90
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m) 7.55 / 2.30
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase 0.39
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m) 7.55 / 2.30
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)28,197 / 12,790
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)28,197 / 12,790
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)28,197 / 12,790
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)401 / 1.52
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT) 0.40
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)12 / 6
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)25.60 / 650
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)174 / 11.70
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)6.89" x 9.45" / 175x240 (4)
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)5184 / 2351.43
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 5.44
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)96 - 1.772" / 45
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)
Flue/Tube length (ft / m) 5.71 / 1.74
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)40.47 / 3.76
Grate Area (sq ft / m2) 5.06 / 0.47
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)290 / 26.95
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)290 / 26.95
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume355.57
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation880
Same as above plus superheater percentage880
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area7042
Power L14482
Power MT1401.72

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