Trains of Tintin – North British 2-8-0

Argentina_4Tintin must be the most widely travelled person on Earth. He has visited nearly every continent on Earth. Though most widely travelled in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia; he had covered North as well as South America. His first visit to South America was in “The Broken Ear” when he travelled to the fictitious country San Theodoros. Though Tintin was about to be executed, there was a coup by General Alcazar and Tintin was saved. He saved the life of General Alcazar and became a good friend of his. But the conspirators convinced the General that Tintin was a spy. He was incarcerated and then escaped again in a Morris 10/4 with the troops giving him a chase in a 1936 Ford. He escapes as a train comes in between him and the chasing troops at a railway crossing.

Argentina_1The train that saved Tintin was an express pulled by a North British 2-8-0 locomotive. These locomotives were manufactured by North British Locomotive Company and supplied to Argentina and Paraguay in early 20th century. The configuration is 2-8-0 ie they have two leading wheels on one axle in the leading truck followed by eight driving wheels and no trailing wheels. North British Locomotive company was established in 1903 at Springburn in Scotland. The company was formed through the merger of three locomotive companies to form the largest locomotive company in the British Empire. It was also the largest locomotive company in Europe.  They supplied steam locomotives across the world, however, they were not successful in their transition from steam to diesel and electric traction. As the result the company went into liquidation in 1962.

The 2-8-0 locomotives supplied to the South America were standard gauge locomotives. The diameter of the leading 2 wheels was 2′ 8″ (812 mm) and the driving wheels had a diameter of 4′ 8″ (1,422 mm). The locomotives were 63′ 3″ (19,280 mm) long, 8′ 9″ (2,667 mm) wide and 12′ 11.25″ (3,937 mm) tall. They weighed in between 74.1 and 78.65 tons).

These locomotives generated steam at 180 psi (12.41 bar). They were advanced locomotives with super-heaters to improve the efficiency of the steam engines. They had three steam cylinders measuring 18-1/2″ bore x 26″ stroke ( 470 mm bore x 660 mm stroke). All this effort produced a tractive effort of 36,750 lb-ft (163.4 KN).

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