Standardised Steam Locomotives in Argentina

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  • Member since
    January, 2002
  • 3,664 posts
Standardised Steam Locomotives in Argentina
Posted by M636C on Thursday, March 15, 2018 8:31 PM

While searching on the web I found

which contains a North British catalog from 1910, from an exhibition celebrating the centenary of the founding of Argentina.

Apart from some ring-ins from China and Mexico and elsewhere, NBL's current production for Argentina is covered pretty well.

Page 12 of the catalog illustrated two 4-6-0s and two 2-8-0s, all two cylinder compounds one pair each for two of the bigger British broad gauge systems, the Buenos Aires Western and the Central Argentine.

The FCCA locomotives looked vaguely archaic against the much more modern FCO outlines, at least the 4-6-0s gave that impression.

I thought I'd see if the 2-8-0s and 4-6-0s had the same boiler dimensions for each road and was stunned to discover that all four boilers were identical. In fact, the dimensions of the two 4-6-0s and the two 2-8-0s were identical.

My first thought was that this was a 108 year old misprint, but careful examination of the locomotive photos convinced me otherwise.

So the canny Scots in Glasgow had built locomotives that looked entirely different, matching the wishes of their purchasers, but were the same under the skin.

Later I started checking other entries, and found that the BA Great Southern had a 4-6-0 (class 12A) that matched those of the FCCA and FCO, except for larger driving wheels. So the boiler was common to five locomotives. The BAGS later used the same boiler for their later class 12D 4-6-0 and 8E 2-6-4 tank, so at least seven classes in all.

In fact, only the Buenos Aires and Pacific of the four big broad gauge systems didn't have one of these locomotives, having a slightly smaller light 4-6-0 and a somewhat bigger heavy 4-6-0.

Later of course the FCO class 15 4-8-0 was copied by the BAGS in its entirety as classes 15A and 15B, and a 12K 4-6-2 using many common parts with the 4-8-0s was built in 1938. That boiler was also fitted to at least four 1926 12E Pacifics.

To relate this a little to the USA, the Milwaukee F-7 and C&NW E-4s were generally similar in size and capacity, but only the driving wheels were the same size. I can't believe that anyone would have noticed if a single design had been used underneath the different streamlined cladding.


  • Member since
    May, 2013
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Posted by NorthWest on Thursday, March 15, 2018 11:54 PM

Interesting; thanks for sharing. It isn't hard to change the looks of what are otherwise identical locomotives, as can be seen with the USRA standards in later years.

  • Member since
    March, 2016
  • From: Burbank IL (near Clearing)
  • 11,116 posts
Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Friday, March 16, 2018 6:57 AM

Also consider the C&O and PRR 2-10-4's.  They barely resembled each other in appearance (if at all) but they were otherwise virtually identical.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul

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