Class BB1 0-4-4-0T (1902)

Class BB1 4-Cylinder Compound Mallet Tank Locomotive
Designed by Karel Belčamin
Built in 1902 by Maschinenfabrik Esslingen, Esslingen, Germany

The docks at Bevice-Pofedra have always presented a challenge to the RSR's engineers, who were repeatedly called upon to provide shunting locomotives for the extensive network of connecting lines and sidings there. The class O 0-8-0s had acquitted themselves very well but were showing their age (having been introduced in 1878) and an annoying tendency to derail on the particularly sharp curves around the South Basin. The Mallet type, although not new, seemed ideally suited to the task and Belčamin ordered twelve of these elegant tank engines from Esslingen in 1902. Their flexible wheelbase allowed them to run anywhere without the slightest difficulty and four axles afforded sufficient adhesion. As is often the case with "niche" designs, the BB1s were protected from usurping successors for many years, effortlessly seeing off the D6 4-8-0s. After being joined by Bela Šahlmeti's 0-6-0s of 1920 they were finally supplanted by that engineer's 0-8-0s of 1928. Owing to their ability to negotiate awkward sidings, seven of the class were sold to industrial concerns, three of them to the Amšunt Chemical Works in Kalmorska. One of these is preserved in working order and kept at Plizif RK shed.

Text and graphics © Norman Clubb 2012