Class 323A 0-6-0

Class 323A 2-Cylinder Shunting Locomotive
Designed by Bela Šahlmeti
Built by Robert Stephenson & Co., Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, in 1920

The first design to emerge from the drawing office of Bela Šahlmeti was this somewhat gawky-looking shunter, which included a number of features that came to be characteristic of his work. These included a very plain outline, the cab overhanging the front of the tender and the high boiler centre line. The new shunters were put to work in the docks at Pofedra and the yards at Forihv. Their adhesion was limited by having only three coupled axles (it was another eight years before Šahlmeti produced an eight-coupled shunter) and they were hard put to shift the very long lines of coal wagons they were sometimes faced with. Toward the end of the decade they found a new niche as station pilots at the bigger stations, in particular Bevice Semesa and Belšinohra. The deep chuffing sound of their exhaust carried a long way on still summer nights and earned them the affection of the public. Their crews were not quite so enthusiastic, their rough riding and tendency to slip causing many a curse to be heard from the footplate. All in all, the 323As served the RSR well, the last survivors disappearing from Belšinohra in 1964.

Text and graphics © Norman Clubb 2012