Class O 0-8-0 (1878)

Class O 4-Cylinder Tandem Compound Shunting Locomotive
Designed by Marek Luršimonš
Built in 1878 by John Cockerill, Seraing, Belgium

It will come as no surprise that the engine depicted here hailed from Belgium. With its Flaman boiler, tandem compound cylinders, twin domes and outside frames, it is a true ambassador of its homeland. Its reason for being was the extension of the inland docks and goods yards at Bevice-Pofedra, where a locomotive that could negotiate sharp curves with heavy loads was called for. And that was something it could certainly do. Ten locomotives were delivered by Cockerill in 1878, the first tandem compounds in the world. A further batch of twelve, with increased dimensions, followed in 1880. All were allocated at first to Pofedra but four were transferred to Plizif in 1893. It was, of course, tempting to try an engine of this power out on the main line, but two trial runs ended in spectacular derailments (fortunately with goods trains) and the class O were confined to the yards for the rest of their careers.

Text and graphics © Norman Clubb 2012