Class B16 4-4-2 (1912)

Class B16 2-Cylinder Compound Express Passenger Locomotive
Designed by Karel Belčamin
Built in 1912 by J A Maffei, Munich, Germany

It was more or less inevitable that Belčamin, like most of his colleagues of the day, would want to design an Atlantic. The well-known influence of English styling on Belčamin's work is at its most conspicuous in these engines, which were generally recognised as his most elegant creation. However, the Atlantic type was not really powerful enough for the traffic demands of the later belle époque. Despite an adhesive weight of some 38 tonnes and a wide firebox (the first on the RSR) with a grate area of 2.9 square metres, the B16 was basically outclassed before it was built. The lack of adhesion soon made itself painfully felt, especially in the southern highlands, and the engines were confined almost from the outset to lighter work in the north. Their principal stamping ground were the routes from Tupfdu Rulauriku via Bevice to Parvašč, Ešbala and Freltehnie. The First World War was not kind to the B16s, which were thrashed mercilessly on wartime traffic and were very badly run down by the cessation of hostilities. They limped along on secondary services for a few more years, until the last two survivors were mercifully put down by Bela Šahlmeti in 1923.

Text and graphics © Norman Clubb 2012