Steam & Railway Image Library - The Alan Ledger Collection

Picture of the week: 231G42 at Boulogne
Picture of the week: 231G42 at Boulogne

Here’s one as promised. French 4 cylinder compound 4-6-2 Pacific 231 G 42.

285 were built between 1922 and 1925 for the Paris Lyon and Mediterranean Railway before nationalisation of the railways in France in 1938.

Here it is sweeping down the bank at speed from the summit at Kaffiers between Calais and Boulogne with about 500 to 600 tons of train and will be braking very hard (full service brake application! who remembers those?) here for the stop at Boulogne station with the Fleche d Or, Golden Arrow express bound for Amiens where electric traction will take over for the run to Paris Nord.
We were fortunate to see the last of these engines at the end of their working lives and ride behind them between Calais and Boulogne on a two day visit in September 1968. Unfortunately we only saw and photographed 231 G 42 standing in the depot yard at Calais, withdrawn by now, a few months to late to see it in action.

The G class compounds together with the K compound Pacifics, which were almost identical to the G class and also working out of Calais at the time of our visit plus the 241P 4-8-2 compounds were the last large French express engines in service in the late 1960s. The French railways had had a large variety of class’s that had now all been withdrawn from service, built by different companies, all compounding engines. The 241P class were huge modern passenger engines by European standards built by the SNCF, “French State Railway” with mechanical stokers, and those remaining were working out their last days at Le Mans and Nevers on lines not yet electrified or dieselised at this time.
28th August 1967.


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