Class R 4-4-2 (1885)

Class R 3-Cylinder Express Passenger Locomotive
Designed by Marek Luršimonš
Built in 1885 by Neilson, Reid & Co., Glasgow, Scotland

Following the at best qualified success of his 2-4-2s of 1882, Luršimonš was forced to think again. The answer was felt to be in increased boiler capacity. A conventional 4-4-0 layout would have been too short, a long-boiler was by the 1880s no option, and so Luršimonš decided on an extra trailing carrying axle, producing one of the first "Atlantics" in the world. This quite revolutionary design, which influenced other engineers all over Europe, was a more than worthy successor to the "Allegrettos" and covered the RSR's requirements well into the 20th century. At first greeted with scepticism by their crews, because of the need to maintain and lubricate three sets of motion, they went on to prove themselves admirably, their three-cylinder drive making them very smooth runners, as well as being easy to fire and sure-footed. The last ones were finally retired shortly before the First World War.

Text and graphics © Norman Clubb 2012