Class Q 4-4-0 (1875)

Class Q 2-Cylinder Express Passenger Locomotive
Designed by Marek Luršimonš
Built in 1875 by Fives-Lille, Paris, France

Although the class A3 "Allegrettos" were having no trouble with the RSR's expresses, there were already voices saying that on other railways in Europe the six-wheeled express passenger locomotive had had its day and that the usefulness of the A3s would undoubtedly be equally short-lived. Luršimonš's answer to this specious argument was the rather dainty class Q. It soon became apparent that they were no improvement on the "Allegrettos" and were certainly less well-liked by the footplatemen. Their boilers were only slightly bigger and were hard put to be able to supply the steam demanded by the larger cylinders. The Qs often had to be thrashed to keep time and burned a lot of coal in the process (actually, a lot of it went up the chimney unburned). A number of Qs were rebuilt in 1883 with larger boilers and cylinders, forming class Q2, the last survivors holding out till 1899. The unrebuilt Qs were soon relegated to secondary work and had all gone for scrap by the early 1890s.

The assignment of the class designation "Q" to follow "N" is illogical, but evidently Luršimonš's handwriting was such an illegible scrawl that the clerk responsible for the drawing office documentation misread "O" as "Q". By the time the error was noticed, it was too late to put right, as a large number of drawings and other papers would have been involved. Luršimonš took a pragmatic approach and named his next class (the 0-8-0s of 1878) "O". This anomaly explains also the designation "Q1" for the 2-4-2s of 1882.

Text and graphics © Norman Clubb 2012