The reference for locomotives and railcars
French State Railway 232 R
France | 1940 | 3 produced
232 R on an old postcard
232 R on an old postcard

In the 1930s, the Nord was planning a new express locomotive that, due to its size, should achieve lower operating costs with longer trains and should also ideally be suitable for the speed range between 160 and 200 km/h.

In order to be able to determine the ideal cylinder arrangement, Marc de Caso developed the 232 R with a simple three-cylinder engine and the 232 S with a four-cylinder compound engine. Due to the founding of the SNCF, the program was postponed and the three 232 R were therefore only delivered in 1940.

The wheel arrangement chosen was 4-6-4 since it was possible to use a boiler of the same size as a 4-8-2 and at the same time take over large chassis parts from a 4-6-2 and replace the trailing axle with a bogie. A streamlined fairing was necessary in order to be able to reach the required speeds.

The boiler was operated at a relatively high pressure of 20 bar. Otherwise, the locomotives had a Lemaître blast pipe, an ACFI feed water heater and modern injectors. The tender was basically designed for 38 m³ of water, but could only hold 36 m³ with the built-in stoker. On an incline of 0.4 percent, they could tow 685 tonnes at 113.5 km/h, which corresponded to an output at the drawbar of 2,615 hp

The tractive effort calculated from the cylinders is more of a theoretical value that could only hardly be achieved under real conditions. The practical quotient of adhesive weight and tractive effort for three-cylinder locomotives is usually given as 3.5, but it is 2.65 here. Thus, depending on the condition of the rails, there will have been a strong tendency to slip. If you take the value 3.5 as a basis, you get a realistic pulling force of 193 kN or 43,400 pounds

The three locomotives were tested on the Paris-Lille route in front of regular trains. Due to the war, their power could not be fully exploited and they were only approved for 140 km/h. Two locomotives were retired in 1958 and the third in 1961.

Axle config4-6-4 (Hudson) 
Gauge4 ft 8 1/2 in (Standard gauge)
Dimensions and Weights
Length84 ft 0 7/16 in
Wheelbase39 ft 4 1/16 in
Fixed wheelbase14 ft 4 13/16 in
Total wheelbase74 ft 1 3/8 in
Service weight273,814 lbs
Adhesive weight152,119 lbs
Total weight459,884 lbs
Axle load50,706 lbs
Water capacity9,510 us gal
Fuel capacity25,353 lbs (coal)
Power sourcesteam
Estimated power3,353 hp (2,500 kW)
Optimal speed37 mph
Top speed87 mph
Starting effort58,513 lbf
Power Plant
Driver diameter78.7 in
Boiler pressure290 psi
Expansion typesimple
Cylindersthree, 21 1/4 x 27 9/16 in
Grate area55.8 sq ft
Firebox area269.1 sq ft
Tube heating area2,099 sq ft
Evaporative heating area2,368.1 sq ft
Superheater area742.3 sq ft
Total heating area3,110.3 sq ft
Calculated Values
steam locomotive
Marc de Caso
last changed: 05/2023

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