Friday, December 30, 2011

CFR 150.1114 at Brasov Train Station

 I have known for a long time that there is a beautiful steam locomotive exhibited at the train station of Brasov. Unfortunately when I was in Brasov I was usually just travelling through, so for years I did not get a chance to see the locomotive... until the spring of 2011, when I went there with the clear purpose to take some shots of the magnificent CFR 150.1114. It is on display right behind the station, so if you go there, you really cannot miss it:

  This is not the first locomotive of the CFR 150.1000 series or of the 150.000 series that I have written about before. For detailed history about the locos 150.1101-150.1123 please read my article bout CFR 150.1123 at Dej Triaj Depot, but I also recommend taking a look at CFR 150.1105 at Sibiu steam locomotive museum and CFR 150.105 at Dej Triaj Depot. Note, however that the 150.1100 and 150.100 series are quite different. Also the locomotives 150.1101-150.1123 (including the 150.1114 at the Brasov train station) were not really built for CFR, they arrived to Romania as war prey and they are German locos. The 150.1114 is actually a steam locomotive of type DR 50.

  Being exhibited in the train station of one of the most important cities of Romania, CFR 150.1114 is quite well known. Even H0 scale copies of it exist. Here are a few videos about the CFR 150.1114 model:

  CFR 150.1114 is well-maintained and nicely painted. The poeople who travel through the Brasov train station really do have something to see there:

ID: CFR 150.1114
Wheel Arrangement: 2-10-0
Built: 1941
Builder: Borsig
Top Speed: 80 km/h
Gauge: Standard (1435 mm)
Location: Brasov, Romania (train station)


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Old Electric Locomotive at Busteni Train Station

  The third train station that I visited in the spring of 2011 in the Prahova Valley, that had a full size locomotive exhibited next to it was the station of Busteni. At Sinaia I have seen the CFR 230.039 steam locomotive and the permanent miniature railroad exhibition. At Predeal I have had the chance to take a few shots of the CFR 50.497 steamer. Busteni had reserved its own surprise for me, but I must say it was a little different from the others. It was a small and visibly very old electric locomotive exhibited right next to the station building, together with a small flat train car. The loco and the car were both nicely restored ad they were placed on a narrow gauge (700 mm) piece of track. The 700 mm gauge was used widely in Romania for industrial purposes and the small car behind the locomotive also had an industrial feel but at the moment I did not know anything about the locomotive or the car. However, I have noticed that it looked a lot like the electric locomotive exhibited in the Dej Triaj collection.

  When I looked up the little electric locomotive on the web I found out that it had quite an interesting history and it played a very important part in the existence itself of the town of Busteni itself. It seems that the small mountain town was originally built around the wood industry, to be more specific, around the industry of producing paper. In 1882 the two sons of a Lutheran priest who lived in the nearby town of Rasnov, Carol and Samuel Schiel have realized the potential value of the immense quantity of living wood found in the area and have founded founded a paper mill. The demand for cellulose and paper was high and the business had quickly flourished. The wood had been brought down from the mountains with a funicular (cliff railway), but that was not enough to efficiently transport the materials, so in a matter of a few years, in 1894 the first industrial railway of the Prahova Valley had been constructed. It was a narrow gauge (700 mm) line of only 6.2 km length used to transport logs. At the beginning steam locomotives were used to pull the trains, but the owners were concerned about the fire hazard, so shortly after, in 1899, the people of Busteni became acquainted with a new type of locomotive, one that probably seemed a miracle at the time, an electric one. It was built by the Orenstein & Koppel factories from Berlin and it was used for a very long time to transport wood and paper.

  Unfortunately the story of the paper mill does not have a happy ending. By 1928 most of the forest had been cut and the business started to decline. In 1948 it was all nationalized and in 1966 the funicular and the whole railway line was abandoned. A small portion of it, which linked the two main parts of the factory located on the two sides of the main road was kept until about 2003. That is when the electric train worked for the last time. The story of the small electric locomotive ends in an equally sad manner. In 1990 it was transported to Bucuresti, from where it disappeared (probably stolen, sold or melted) and nobody knows anything about it since then.

  Luckily the first electric locomotive bought by the Schiel brothers was not the only one. In 1907 and 1913 they have purchased two more similar locos from AEG Berlin. The youngest one is the electric locomotive that is currently exhibited at the Busteni train station. It was placed there at the end of 2010, during the celebration of 50 years since the first standard gauge electrified railway section was built in Romania, between Brasov and Predeal. The loco was build on the 1st of July, 1913 in Berlin. with a length of 5.7 m, it weghts just 3.5 tons. It works with 250V and it generates 50 HP. It too was abandoned for a while. You can see a picture of it rusting in the yard of the paper mill here. But at least the story of this locomotive has a happy ending, as it has been restored and is now exhibited and can be admired and photographed at the Busteni train station, here:

  I have found a good video which illustrates the way the small electric locomotives worked inside the paper mill:

ID: Unknown
Wheel arrangement: Bo-Bo
Wheel diameter: 730 mm
Length: 5700 mm
Width: 1200 mm
Weight: 3.5 t
Voltage: 250V
Power: 50 HP
Gauge: 700 mm
Location: Busteni, Romania (railway station)

The history of Busteni, of the paper mill and of the narrow gauge railway at
The history of the Busteni paper mill at
The electric locomotives of the Busteni paper mill at
Electric locomotive "1" at Dej Triaj train depot

Thursday, December 22, 2011

CFR 50.497 at Predeal Train Station

  The Prahova Valley is a beautfiul place in Romania and it's worth visiting it regardless if you're a train fan or not. However, if you are one, you'll find some nice surprises in almost every train station along the valley. I already wrote about the CFR 230.039 steam locomotive at the Sinaia train station and about the permanent miniature railroad exhibition hosted there. Now it's time to look at the train station of Predeal, where another real steam locomotive is preserved, and not just any steamer, but one that was famous in its own time and is an important part of the history of the Romanian State Railways.
  Predeal is a small mountain resort, a great place to spend your holidays, but if you're more interested in seeing the mentioned steam locomotive, you should have no problem finding the train station, located here:

  The locomotive exhibited just behind the station is the CFR 50.497. It was retired at the end of the 20th century, after a long service. In it's last years of activity it was used for maneuvers in train depots, as steam locomotive traction in Romania was mostly replaced by diesel and electric traction around 1970. After its retirement, CFR 50.497 was kept for a while in the Sibiu steam locomotive museum and a few years ago it has been moved to Predeal and exhibited behind the train station. Unfortunately, as you can see from the images, it is not in great shape anymore, the weather has imprinted its destructive effects on it already...

  CFR 50.497 belongs to the 50.100 series of CFR locomotives, not to the 50.000 series, as one may suspect. There are considerable differences between the two types. The 50.100 series is one that had an important role in the Romanian railway transportation in the 20th century. In the first part of the century Romania's railway system was expanding and there was an increasing need for powerful locomotives. The CFR also tried to standardize the locomotives and their parts as much as possible in order to minimize the problems induced by the fact that their earlier locomotives came from many different builders and many different countries and they were difficult to manage. The locomotives of the 40.000 series were an important step towards achieving these two goals (powerful engines that could handle the increasing traffic volume and that were also standard types), but there was one important problem with them: they were very heavy (17.2 t axle load) and the country's lines were in a bad shape, they could not handle the wight. So CFR looked for an alternative solution of locomotives that could handle all kinds of traffic (passenger, freight, mixed) and were light enough for the existing railway system. So was the 50.100 series born. At first these locos were imported from foreign builders. The first order was placed in 1920 and the German locomotive factories delivered a total of 804 such machines. In fact the locomotives of type 50.100 are a copy of the Prussian G 10 design. The G 10 had been a successful type of steam locomotive used for cargo hauling for quite a few years before the first CFR 50.100 loco has started running. It proved to be a reliable machine with good performance achievements and it was also lightweight, that is why CFR decided to adept the design, but the 50.100 locomotives were a bit different from the G 10 engines. Obviously the parts were standardized and they were fitted with the famous crude oil burning system developed by George Cosmovici.

  With a top speed of 60 km/h, the 50.100 series was considered a general purpose design and these engines were used for pulling just about any kind of standard gauge trains. At the beginning of the 20th century Romania's rolling stock came mostly from foreign builders. But CFR wished to break free from this dependence and in 1927 a law was brought which encouraged the country's own locomotive factories to build their own machines for CFR. So, beginning with this year, CFR bought the Borsig license for the G 10 and the two main Romanian railway manufacturers, Uzinele Domeniilor Resita and Uzinele Nicolae Malaxa Bucuresti started building the engines. Actually, the first 50.100 steam locomotive, the 50.243, was built a little bit earlier at Resita, it was delivered on the 14th September 1926 and it was named "Regele Ferdinand" after the Romanian king. The first engine of the same type left the Malaxa factories two years later, on the 28th of December 1928. It's number was 50.340 and it too was named after a Romanian king, "Regele Mihai". In 1936 an improved subtype was ordered, with a top sepped of 70 km/h, but due to the soon arriving war, only 10 were actually built, numbered 50.1001 to 50.1010.

  The 50.100 locomotive was probably the most wide spread steam engine ever used by the CFR. In the Second World War it transported most of the Romanian troops, before and after the war it transported just about anything. Some engines were still used in the 1990's for maneuvers inside train depots. Many such steam locomotives existed and they played an important role in the Romanian transportation of the 20th century. Surprisingly only two were truly preserved, the 50.378 in the Resita steam locomotive museum and the 50.497 at the Predeal train station. A few more are left to rust in different corners of the country...

ID: CFR 50.497
Wheel arrangement: 0-10-0
Length over buffers: 18912 mm
Height: 4250 mm
Wheel diameter: 1400 mm
Axle load: 15.4 t
Top speed: 60 km/h
Built: 1930
Builder: Uzinele Nicolae Malaxa, Bucuresti
Gauge: Standard (1435 mm)
Location: Predeal, Romania (train station)

CFR 50.100 series at
CFR 50.100 series at

Saturday, December 10, 2011

CFR 230.039 at Sinaia Train Station

  As I wrote earlier, this spring I had the opportunity to visit Sinaia, a quiet small town in the center of Romania, which has many things to see and that includes some eye candy for the railroad enthusiasts too. Those who are into railway modeling will be thrilled by the permanent miniature railroad exhibition hosted in the building of the train station, but those who are more into real, full size locomotives, will not be disappointed either because just behind the station there is a beautiful steam locomotive on display, the CFR 230.039.

  The 230.00 series of CFR locomotives includes machines of type Prussian P8 (KPEV, 2C-h2), which is considered to be one of the most successful and beautiful types of German steam locomotives. Their construction began in 1906 in the Schwartzkopff factories, also known as Berliner Maschinenbau. They were elegant, simple, fast and economical engines which were also relatively easy to drive. Most of them were employed in passenger hauling.

  The first locomotives of the CFR 230.000 series have arrived to Romania as war prey after the First World War and their exploitation began in 1919. CFR has also acquisitioned 131 more from several German locomotive builders. The first lot was ordered in 1920 and they arrived to the country in 1921. Seeing that they were so fit for the conditions of the Romanian lines and they had proved very efficient in pulling passenger and mail cars, the Romanian locomotive factories started building them too from 1932 onward. Until the year 1940 several were built, 139 by the "Uzinile Domeniilor" factory from Resita and 91 more by the "Uzinele Nicolae Malaxa" in Bucuresti. The fact that together they have built a total of 230 locomotives for the 230.000 series is just a coincidence. The engines built in Romania were technically updated and they were able to use not just coal as fuel, but also crude oil. Romania did not have much coal, but there was plenty of crude oil in the country, so this double fuel system, developed by George Cosmovici, was applied to many types of Romanian steam locomotives. These locos served the Romanian State Railways for many decades, the last of them being retired in the 1980's.
  Unfortunately not many of them have been preserved, only about 10 (but that's quite a lot compared to how many other types of Romanian steam locomotives have been barbarically melted). I previously wrote about the CFR 230.299 located in the Dej Triaj collection here and here.

  CFR 230.039 was built in 1907 by Stettiner Maschinenbau - AG Vulcan. It was retired quite late, after a long service of 76 years, in 1983, and is now exhibited in the Prahova Valley, next to the train station of Sinaia. It was placed there in 2007. You can find a detailed article abut how it was exhibited at the Modelism Feroviar blog, here.

ID: CFR 230.039
Wheel arrangement: 4-6-0
Driving wheel diameter: 1750 mm
Leading wheel diameter: 1000 mm
Length over buffers: 18.49 m (with tender)
Axle load: 17.2 t
Own weight: 76.3 t (without tender)
Max weight: 137.9 t
Number of cylinders: 2
Cylinder diameter: 575 mm
Boiler pressure: 12 bar
Power: 1300 HP (868 kW)
Top speed: originally 100 km/h, plates state 60 km/h
Built: 1907
Builder: AG Vulcan
Gauge: Standard (1435 mm)
Location: Sinaia, Romania (train station)

CFR 230.039 at Modelism Feroviar blog
CFR 230.000 series at
Prussian P8 locomotives at Wikipedia
CFR 230.299 at Dej Triaj Train Depot
Permanent miniature railroad exhibition at Sinaia Train Station