Class 655A 4-12-4 (2003)

Class 655A 5-Cylinder Triple-Expansion Compound
Express Goods Locomotive

Designed in 2003 by Artur Gorote
Built by RSR Works Bevice-Akohniçe

The salvation of RSR steam from the teeth of the 564C débâcle is a success story without equal in railway history. And as we know, the key to that success was the newly-developed Ketterik 5-cylinder triple-expansion compound drive. The three-crank arrangement allowed much higher inside piston thrusts to be transmitted and so it was logical that a sixth coupled axle should be added to exploit the extra power. To this chassis Artur Gorote added his new generation of tapered boiler and the result was the superb locomotive we see here. Drawing on the experience of numerous past designers of 12-coupled locomotives, Gorote enabled the running gear to negotiate even the sharpest yard curves (with the exception of the docks at Pofedra). A total of thirty of these first-class machines was ordered from the Akohniçe works, the first units being delivered in October 2003 and allocated to Forihv and Terešan sheds. In service, the 655As have acquitted themselves admirably, regularly hauling trains of over 2000 tonnes gross over all the RSR and RK's southern main lines. In the north, their relatively small driving wheels have hampered their stride somewhat, and so in that part of the country the 655Bs take over. This resulted in the reallocation of some engines to Kalmorska.

Text and graphics © Norman Clubb 2011