After his adventures in South America, Tintin went for his next adventure in Europe, Scotland to be specific in “The Black Island”. This was one of my favourites as a train lover because it has two long sequences aboard ‘modern’ trains. One on mainland Europe and the second in Britain. This was the first Tintin book to have transited from steam to electric locomotives.
The first sequence has Tintin travelling to UK from Brussels. The train is pulled by a French electric locomotive, the SNCF 2D2 9100. These locomotives were designed after World War 2. 35 of these locomotives were built between 1950 and 1951. These locomotives were in service with the French National Railways the SNCF till 1987 when they were withdrawn. These locomotives were initially used to pull express trains on the Paris – Lyon – Marseilles route. However, though they looked modern, the base technology was from the 1920s and soon they were replaced by more modern locomotives. They were there after used to pull freight trains till their retirement.
The 2D2 9100 had four traction motors, one each on the four driving axles. The locomotive had rigid axles. The locomotives were driven by the motors using a Buchli Transmission system which comprises a set of gears connecting the traction motors installed on the axle to the wheels. The system was developed by a Swiss engineer Jakob Buchli in 1918.
The 2D2 9100 were standard gauge locomotives which worked on 1500 DC (Direct Current). The four electric motors generated 3,687 KW (4,944 BHP) power. They were 18,080 mm (711″) long and weighed 144 tons. They generated a traction of 88 tons to pull the trains and were capable of top speeds of 140 km/h (87 mph). In picture on the right, note the four circular windows and the ventillation grilles, the same can be seen in the picture made by Herge. Also you can notice the double windshields and the two headlamps.