4-4-0/2-2-0 Steam locomotive
These diminuative 4-4-0s seem to have been the first "mainline" locomotive used on the (then) Chemin de fer de l'Indochine (CFI) and the Chemin de fer Yunnan (CFY) locomotives being used from Yunnan to Hanoi to Hai Phong to Saigon. There are several photos of 4-4-0 locomotives crossing that very spectacular bridge on the Yunnan line.
They were built by Societe Anonyme Franco-Belge, at Raismes (now Valenciennes) in France and the Société de Construction des Batignolles in Paris, France. The CFY locomotives were numbered 1-20 while the CFI machines were numbered from 200 to 224. This type of 4-4-0 locomotive is commonly known as "American" because they were so widespread in North America in the 19th century. The locomotive has a Belpair (square) firebox which seems to have set the standard for most of the subsequent steam locomotives delivered to Vietnam.
J.D.H. Smith gives both versions identical specifications while Tim Doling suggests they were "similar in design". It seems to me that they were virtually identical with the intial machines being built around the same time (1902/3). I am not aware whether they were a Franco-Belge design also built by Batignolle or it was the other way round. The CFY machines were apparently known as "Legere" or "lightweights" while the CFI locomotives were known as "Americains".
The tender is very small and only 4 wheeled, so 'hungry boards' were later added to increase the amount of fuel that could be carried.
In a Trains magazine article it was recorded that 7 220 class survived into the '60s in the south.
I have no information about whether any survived in the North but presume at least some did for part of the war. It would be intriguing to know what happened to the Batignolles built locomotives on the Yunan line, as they don't seem to have been renumbered into the 220-101 class. None of the other CFY locomotives seem to have been renumbered either.
The last examples were probably scrapped either during the 'American' war or immediately after the re-unification of Vietnam in 1975.
Locomotives of the CFI
Locomotives of the CFY
Some Notes on Societe Anonyme Franco-Belge:
According to Wikipedia this company was established in 1881 as a joint French-Belgian concern. A factory was established at Raismes in the Department of Nord in France in 1882. Initially the factory was used to assemble Belgian products to get around French anti import laws. From 1911 onwards the company produced a wide variety of rail equipment including locomotives and rolling stock for various customers including Belgian railways, private French railways and exported to a number of countries including "IndoChina". Before WWI the factory produced 50 locomotives and 1500 pieces of rolling stock a day. During the war the factory was used for more mundane tasks such as a timber mill. After WWI production continued with the company being split in 1927 into two companies.
It's interesting to note that many years later the company, or at least it's descendant, was absorbed into the Althsom giant, a descendant of the famous SACM, builder of many other locomotives supplied to "IndoChina" including the 141 and 231-500 classes.
Some Notes on Société de Construction des Batignolles:
An article in Wikipedia states that this company was formed in 1871 and was a builder of locomotives and rolling stock as well as a major player in the civil engineering market, both in France and overseas. The main locomotive building factory was situated in Paris, France until 1917 when it was mov ed to Nantes. It would be interesting to know whether this company was also involved in any rail or bridge building works in Vietnam at the same time as this seems to have been a major part of it's existance.
Above: 220 class (numbered 21?) at Di An station north of Saigon in the 1940's. Note the 'hungry boards' on the tender to allow for additional fuel.
Above: This photo shows the class in it's final form with modified driver's cab at Thap Cham in the 1960's. This is presumably 220-109 as listed by Trains Magazine. The front side window appears to have been blanked in to give some additional protection to the driver from stray bullets during the 'American' War.
Above: This 1968 Trains Magazine image shows 220-111. Note locomotive is using wood as fuel even though listed as an oil burner by Trains Magazine and has been fitted with an electric headlight. According to the magazine the photo was taken in 1963. The class and road number fits the information supplied by J.D.H. Smith.
Above: Société de Construction des Batignolles Yunan 220 class at Hanoi at the opening of the Hanoi-Nam Dinh section.
The Blog where I found this photo suggests 1898 to 1900 but these locomotives where not delivered until 1903 at the earliest so perhaps sometime between 1903 and 1905.( Photo from "Mes Tissages/My Meandering" Dominique Roland's blog, in French)
Above: A very early postcard of a 220 class. I'm wondering whether this is actually a builder's photo. The builder is listed as Franco-Belge so this is almost certainly one of the CFI machines.
Les Chemins de Fer de la France d'Outre-Mer Vol. 1, M. Hulot.
Railways and Tramways of Vietnam, Tim Doling
Trains Magazine, Kalmbach Publishers 1968
"Mes Tissages/My Meandering" Dominique Roland's blog, in French
Steam Locomotives generally used the traditional French classification system. A steam locomotive with a 2-8-2 wheel arrangement is classified as 141 class, a locomotive with 4-6-2 wheel arrangement is classified as 231 class etc. Pretty straight forward, except what happened if two classes had the same wheel arrangement? It would appear that there would be several different say 231 classes eg. 231-301 and 231-501 so different road numbers but same classification..
Diesel locomotives have a completely dfferent clasification system.
In the south diesels were classified again by wheels, so BB for bo-bo types. The same system as used in France and still used in Cambodia. In the north I'm not sure.
Now all diesel classes start with the letter 'D' (for Dau May?) then a number which I believe is related to the locomotives power output. The third character defines Electric' (E) or hydraulic (H).
e.g. D5H class = Day May + 500 hp + hydraulic.
Again, two similar locomotives (e.g. D10H) have different road numbers.
Therefore it would appear that metre guage locomotives can have the same class but not the same road number.
Standard guage locomotives have a slightly different system. Diesels sometimes have 'er' added to the class e.g. D19er, but sometimes don't, e.g. D14E.
Railways in Vietnam
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