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Class C301Y (UNC)
0-6-0 Diesel Mechanical Shunter

CY301 Builder's Photo

Above: C301Y class posing for the photographer in the builder's yard in France before delivery.

These images were posted on a French Forum. Correspondents were certain that this was indeed the C301Y being readied to be sent to Indochina. But the photos are dated 1952 and the delivery date is recorded as 1957 so they don't match, if the correspondents are correct. Other sources record the build year as 1955.

unc 001

This fuzzy images is believed to be a photo of the C301Y class (Sometimes known as 'UNC' class), an 0-6-0 diesel locomotive, used in the south and originally constructed in France probably some time in the 50's by Baudet-Donnet-Rousel (BDR), a rather obscure company which seemed to build small shunting locomotives known as 'Locotracteur'. The above builder's photos are dated 1952. The two locomotives were handed over to the southern system (VNHX) by the US army in 1957. Why the US army had two French locomotives is not known. I have been only able to find one reference to the company on the internet.

UNC 002

Above: C301Y (Trains Magazine photo)

Basic data is believed to be as follows:   
Built:   1955 (or 1952)
Baudon-Donnet-Roussel, France (Trains magazine lists builder as Bandet, Donon & Rousell)
Delivered: Supplied to VNHX 1957 by U.S. Army
Model no. Not known
300 hp Diesel
Max. Speed: Not known (not very fast I would imagine!)
Wheels:   0-6-0  
Road Numbers:
C301Y -C302Y
Gauge: 1000mm.
No. supplied: 2
Notes: Possibly transferred back to U.S. Army. In 1968 were located at Di An and Chi Hoa  for shunting duties.
Current Status: Unknown. (presumably scrapped years ago)

Locomotive Classifications

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. Each class was/is also allocated a unique set of road numbers, usually starting with x01. EG. 231-501. This means you can have more than one class with the same first 3 numbers.

Diesel locomotives have a completely dfferent clasification system.

All diesel classes start with the letter 'D'  (for diesel?) 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 = Diesel + 500 hp + hydraulic.

Again each class has a unique set of road numbers allocated. For example D20E 001-020.

I am still investigating pre 1975 classifications. Some are the same e.g. 141 steam class, and some use the French Diesel system e.g. 'BB' class instead of D9E. 

The practice of  allocating unique sets of road numbers remains the same.

Diesels and steam locomotives in the south also seem to have had their road numbers changed after 1975 re-unification.

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Railways in Vietnam website 2009-2015 David Gurnett
  Updated June 7,  2015
All images remain the copyright of their original owners and are reproduced purely for the purposes of research.

Please feel free to contact me at railwaysofvietnam@gmail.com