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The Meyer articulation was more or less already present at the Semmering contest. The "Wiener-Neustadt", built by the engineering firm of that name, had essentially all the features of a Meyer locomotive. As the particular engine however did not win the trials it faded into history and probably would have been forgotten if no new developments had ocurred. In 1861 however Jean Jacques Meyer of Mulhouse took out a French patent on his type of articulation.

Basic feature of the Meyer type is that it has two driven bogies that swivel around a center pivot. Originally the cylinders were placed facing each other at the inner ends of the bogies. Later variations occurred, cylinders facing outward (one to the rear and one to the front), both forward and even both backward (eerrrm.. awkward)

Original Meyer

The original Meyer design had the four cylinders located at the centre. Most were built in 0-4+4-0, a few in 0-6+6-0 arrangement. Running axles were rare. Most were built as simple expansion engine, a few as compound. Buffing and draw gear was attached to the bogies, as opposed to the Wiener Neustadt design. Both tank and tender designs were conceived, the latter however being rare. The bogies could swivel freely under the loco, allowing them great flexibility. The design was however rather limited. As the bogies were located directly under the locomotive they did not allow a large firebox. In its original conception the design was restricted to rather small, specialized applications though the 0-6-0+0-6-0 variant reached considerable sizes.




Some examples

The Saxon IVk (source: Wikipedia)

Built over a period of no less than 29 years this class eventually numbered 96 in all, the largest narrow gauge class in Germany and one of the very large classes of articulated locomotives worldwide. 22 of them survived until today testifying of the class' useability and resilience. It must be the most successful Meyer class ever.


The X9213 rotary snow plough is essentially a Meyer locomotive with kind permission of Georg TrĂ¼b

Kitson Meyer

The idea of articulation also occured to the Leeds railway engineer James Kitson. He had established his firm in 1835, in Hunslet. The prototype of the Kitson Meyer emerged in 1894. The Kitson firm took the Meyer design an essential step further. It showed two characteristical differences with the common Meyer: both bogies were running with the cylinders backward and, more important and absolutely decisive for the future of the type: the bogies were spaced apart to accomodate a large firebox limited only by the loading gauge, allowing the boiler to steam freely and produce much more power than the conventional type. It would share this feature with the Garratt. The advantage of the Kitson articulated locomotive was that it had the same power as the Garratt but was not at long and did not overhang curves as much.

Over the years the Kitson Meyer developed as a serious competitor to the later Garratt design. The Garratt was sold primarily, but by no means exclusively, in Africa, likewise the Kitson Meyer design had a strong homebase in South America. The design had all the potential to grow to be among the largest steam locomotives in the world. Its development was cut short however by the cessation of production in 1928. Some 100 Kitson Meyers were built.


Kitson-Meyer by Beyer Peacock for the Ferrocarril de Antofagasta a Bolivia










Very good and comprehensive reading about the Kitson Meyer type is presented by the books of Donald Binns. Very much recommended.