A meet with an operational Mallet steam locomotive with an extra surprise
1 In September 2018 we were away for a week in the Moselle area. We ventured into the Eiffel on one of our day trips and chanced to come near Brohl where the Vulcan-Express starts. I was aware that this railway operates a Mallet steam locomotive so we made a small diversion and visited the railway's depot in Brohl.
2 I parked the car in the street nearby and walked up the flight of stairs leading to the station. I photographed a few cars there but to my disappointment I registered no activity here. Nothing stirred. Until I realised that the depot was just north west of the station. So I walked there and ate my heart out before returning to the car.
3 The 18 km long Brohltalbahn runs from the Rhine into the Eiffel vulcanic region until Engeln (Source)
4 A few shots from the deserted station area.
6 This car made a distinct Swiss impression on me.
7 I was proved right. This is a similar car, but in its original Berner Oberland Bahnen livery
9 A few more BOB cars at the end of the station.
13 The station is simple but sufficient I guess.
14 At this point I nearly gave up, making photos of things of little interest.
15 But wait, the depot is just outside the station!
16 A life sign of steam
21 Some MOW equipment
22 Now that would be nice to run over the track in this thing
24 In need of same TLC. I am afraid as this car mainly consists of metal sheet, it is already beyond repair.
25 A "Rollbock", kind of piggyback car, to carry a standard gauge car on the 1000mm track.
26 This appears to be an original car of the Brohltal Eisenbahn Gesellschaft.
30 Being at the sheds I started looking for the Mallet. The first shed was empty. I called for some one, to obtain permission to enter the shed, but no one was there to answer.
31 In the next shed I found the Mallet. I started making photos. Later some one appeared and I explained I had called to seek permission. I was most kindly treated and allowed to continue making photos. He made the kind request to make the photos available to them, a request I will happily concede to.
32 No 11Sm, built in 1906 by Humboldt (no 348). She is one of four of the class M.105 and the only survivor of the original Brohltalbahn locomotives. She was restored to operating order in 2015. This loco has the usual compound arrangement of high pressure cylinders on the rear unit and low pressure cylinders on the front unit.
43 Note three buffers in place. The center buffer is for handling narrow gauge stock, and the other two are for handling standard gaunge stock on the three rail tracks in the harbour section of the railway. Not that they are placed off centre to compensate for the excentric position of the locomotive on three rail track!
44 This effect can be seen quite clearly on the front end. On the left the buffer is placed on the outer end of the buffer beam, on the right the buffer has 50 cm or so to spare.
48 Under the mallet truck. It can be ssen that the truck is completely free from the rest of the loco except for some rubbing and support points
49 Here the inside frame of the front truck (left) fits into the outside frame of the fixed part of the loco. The swivelling point is attached to the rear set of cylinders.
50 The lifting arms of the Walschaerts valve gear of the rear drive unit
51 The admission piston with the cylinder below it.
54 Having made enough photos in the available time I turned my attention to the workshop. Workshops are always very interesting environments to make some atmospheric photos. I was in for a surprise.
55 In the window I saw a watertank with rivets clearly signalling the presence of another steam loco. I quickly packed my stuff and swirled around leaving the workshop for a next time.
56 Nothing to see in the yard though, but...
57 ... the diesel loco hid this gem from sight. Later a FaceBook pal identified it as a member of a class of ten in Portugal (ex-CP E161-170). It is present here since 2008 and may one day be restored to working order. I know it looks bad, but that is very deceptive. The metal sheet work needs patching but the boiler seemed in a reasonable condition. The locomotive looked fairly complete, assuming the missing parts are stored in a safe place. The preservation era has shown that locos can return to life even if everybody says it cannot be done. It will need a lot of attention though.
58 In its general form this loco is very similar to the 11sm. Of the ten strong class six are still in existance, two of them in museums, two operational and two in storage, although "storage" may be too a grand word for this loco. Built by Henschel in 1905 and 1908 by the way.
59 A spare boiler?
64 The UIC number clearly identifying the loco as ex-CP E168.
65 as does the lettering on the back buffer beam. Though completely worn away the rusty underground still shows the contours of the lettering
68 I hope this grace will return to the rails one day.
69 This is how it could look. Sister engine E164 in maginificent condition at the Baie de Somme railway in France. It is property of a Swiss volunteer railway preservation group "La Traction" based at Pré-Petitjean on the line of the Chemins de fer du Jura (CJ). Copyright of this photo is unknown. Ifound it on a French forum. Please contact me if I have violated your rights.
70 Well that was the end of short but satisfying visit.