Class S 4-4-0 (1887)

Class S 4-Cylinder Tandem Compound Express Passenger Locomotive
Designed by Marek Luršimonš
Built in 1887 by Richard Hartmann, Chemnitz, Germany

It is difficult, in hindsight, to fathom a reason for this locomotive's existence. The class R 4-4-2s were already acquitting themselves admirably on express passenger work and the "Allegrettos" and class Q2 4-4-0s were coping nicely with the rest of it. The one new departure represented by this 4-4-0 was compounding, which was gaining acceptance in railway circles at the time. However, what possessed Luršimonš to use the same small boiler as on his class Q remains a mystery. Suffice it to say that only four locomotives were built, the remainder of the order being expensively cancelled. It was rumoured that Luršimonš had suffered a stroke or a loss of reason from some other cause - his physician had certainly been telling him to slow down. It was left to his successor, Karel Belčamin, to explore the advantages of compounding, for which these engines provided useful experimental material until 1904.

Text and graphics © Norman Clubb 2012