Class 520A fireless 0-10-0 (1958)

Class 520A 2-Cylinder Fireless Shunting Locomotive
Designed by Mikhail Rodnivacek
Built in 1958 by RSR Works, Bevice-Akohniçe, Ruhnia

It was recognised early on by many railway adminstrations that the one area of activity in which the steam locomotive was at its least efficient was shunting, mainly because of the need to keep steam up between turns of duty. In most cases, this problem was met by the introduction of diesel locomotives. A separate infrastructure for these was unavoidable and provided an invaluable foot in the door for wholesale conversion to diesel power. Not so on the RSR. Since most of the RSR's marshalling yards were in close proximity to the country's industrial areas, a ready supply of steam was almost always to hand. The class 520A shunters were created to take advantage of this circumstance. It was a relatively simple matter to set up stationary boilers in other locations.

The fireless locomotive has only a steam reservoir. This is a simple drum and can thus be charged at high pressure without the problems that arise from the complex structure of a boiler. The class 523B 0-10-0Ts were classical shunting engines with the typical disadvantages mentioned above. All twenty locos of the class, as they passed through the shops, lost their boilers - which were reconditioned and placed in store as spares - and were fitted with steam drums. As is usual with a fireless loco, the cab was placed at the former front end above the cylinders to keep the steam pipes as short as possible. The storage drum is pressed to fifty atmospheres, the working pressure of 17 atmospheres being generated by means of a reducing valve. The 523B running gear was retained with only minor modifications - due to the low working speeds no benefit was expected from poppet valve gear. Exhaust is directly to the atmosphere via the vertical pipe and silencer behind the cab. The first ten examples were placed in service in Bevice and Forihv, the remainder being widely scattered around the system.

One engine of this class was exhibited at the Leipzig Fair in 1959 with burnished wheel rims and hubs and variour other bits of brightwork, as shown below. The railways of eastern Europe, who were restricted in the scope of their capital investments, were seen as potential customers and showed a great deal of interest but no orders were forthcoming.

Class 520A fireless 0-10-0 for Leipzig Fair

In the 1960s Jochann Ketterik applied a very pleasant blue colour scheme to some of these engines in the course of his experiments with alternative liveries.

Class 520A firelss 0-10-0 in experimental blue livery

The introduction of purpose-built fireless locomotives by Artur Gorote in the mid-1990s made a number of the 520As redundant and some were sold to industrial concerns, including the Amšunt Chemical Works in Kalmorska, who painted them a pretty apple green with chocolate brown frames.

Class 520A fireless 0-10-0 sold to Amšunt Chemical Works in Kalmorska

Graphics and text © Norman Clubb 2015