Class 323C 4-6-0 (1926)
Class 323C 2-Cylinder Express Passenger Locomotive
Designed by Bela Šahlmeti
Built in 1926 by August Borsig, Berlin, Germany

The failure of Belčamin's last design, the Pacific of 1919, to live up to expectations left the RSR's express passenger trains in the capable but ageing hands of the 4-4-0s of 1906/7 and 4-6-0s of 1915 and the not so capable hands of the Atlantics of 1912. This 4-6-0 was Šahlmeti's answer to the problem. Simple, sturdy and reliable, the 323C was like a breath of fresh air for the RSR's traffic operators. The very free-steaming boiler showed that the lessons of the 323B had been learned and allowed the engines to be thrashed mercilessly on the hardest schedules. Of course, this sort of performance had a price. Above a certain level of power (different for every engine, naturally), coal consumption rose rapidly and earned the locomotives the nickname of "miners' friends". The 323Ds held sway until the coming of Tešlov's 344Es in 1935, after which their star faded rapidly and the last few were taken out of service in the early 1950s.

Text and graphics © Norman Clubb 2012