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History of the SNCF 141E and 141F

(Translated from the REE Booklet included with the model)

These locomotives are all part of the PLM Serie 1000 2-8-2 “Mikado” Steam locomotive family, derived from the PLM pacific, that they closely resembled. They were designed to fill a mixed traffic role, being capable of hauling both passenger and freight trains. They provided sterling service to the rugged lines of the SNCF Sud-Est region.  After the war they also migrated to the SNCF Sud-Ouest Region.

PLM Mikado Construction

An initial order was placed for 12 Locomotive No. 1001 to 1012 (Later 141A 1 to 141A 12).  The order was placed with Société Française de Construction Mécanique in 1913 to evaluate the type.  With successful trials the following locomotives were ordered:

No.1013 - No.1129 (Later 141B 1 - 141B 117)

No.1130 - no.1369 (Later 141C 1- 141C 240)

141C 241 - 141C 680

The 141C was considered the most capable of the PLM designed and 470 machines were constructed in France between 1918 and 1927 by: Schneider, Fives-Lille, SFCM Cail, Blanc-Misseron. A further 20 were constructed by SLM Winterthur in Switzerland, immediately following WWI.

Another batch was built between 1933 and 1934 - 141C 491 to 141C 680.

The PLM often utilised the 141C at their limits so a pre-heater was needed to keep them running efficiently.  The original 20 machines were fitted with the Worthington pre-heater.  70 machines were fitted with an ACFI pre-heater (As trialled on Greasly P2 “Cock of the North”).  75 141C received the Dabeg system then 141C391 to 141C 680 were constructed with the Dabeg system.

Starting in 1937 the 141C were modified to become 141D, 141E and 141F, conversions continued until 1957.

254 were fitted with double chimneys and Dabeg pre-heaters and became 141E

195 had their chassis strengthened and the Bissel trucks modified for 105km/h running - these became 141F.

The majority of the tenders fitted to the 141 locomotives were the three axle variants, Type 23A and Type 25A. The type 28A and 30A Tenders had 4 axles in two bogies - many of these were transferred to the 141E and 141F from the 231 Pacifics at the end of their careers.

Careers of the PLM 141 Mikado

Sud-Est Region

The first PLM 141A were allocated to Dijon and Laroche depots to augment the new Pacific Locomotives.

The Mikados begin replacing the earlier 230 (4-6-0) steam locomotive designs, allowing increased loads to be hauled. As more 141B, and the improved 141C, are constructed they are accepted across the Sud-Est region – they are ideally suited to the steeply graded routes of the area.  From 1918 to 1938 they were allocated to the following depots:

Laroche, Les Laumes, Dijon,  Ambérieu, Nevers, Paray, Roanne, Leon-Mouche, Bedan, Vénissieux, Le Theil, Nîmes, Miramas, Marseille-Blancard, Portes, Chambéry and Saint Jean de Maurienne.

The following depots received the later 141C and 141D locomotives only:

Montargis, Clermont, Saint Etienne, Dole, Besançon, Grenoble, Nice, Carnoules and Lyon-Vaise.

During the Second World War the Germans claimed many locomotives from the Nord, Est and Ouest regions as war prizes.   To compensate for this, many ex-PLM Mikados could be found at Bourget, running trains to Creil, Compiègne, Tergnier, Longueau, Beauvais, Achères,Trappes and Vaires ou Villeneuve. Using the Grande ceinture de Paris (The orbital line that encircles the City) the ex-PLM Mikados were able to run into other regions to take up the slack.

A large number of the ex-PLM Mikados were damaged during the war.  118 were still immobilised in January 1946.  Many were sent to Switzerland to be repaired.

After the war all of the ex-PLM Mikados were returned to the Sud-Est Region. The arrival of the US built 141R in large numbers, displaces the 141A which are scrapped by 1950.  The 141B locomotives are also reduced in number.  Electrification of the Paris-Dijon Main line makes many 141B and 141C redundant.

Alès and Langeac Depots receive the ex-PLM Mikados to haul trains on the Cévennes line.  Veynes and Annemasse Depots also receive the Mikados as they are particularly efficient on the rugged lines of the Jura and Alpes.

After the war the 141C were modernised to become 141E and 141F.  Where possible the 3-axle 23A and 25A tenders were replaced by the larger 28A and 30A 4-axle tenders recovered from the 231 Pacifics that had relocated to the Nord region – The Nord region used the 38 m3 tenders to extend the range of the Pacifics.

Sud-Ouest Region

Until 1950, the incursions of the ex-PLM Mikados into the Sud-Ouest region were rare. However the Sud-Ouest needed to renew its locomotive fleet so Périgueux and Montluçon depots began receiving an allocation of 141E.  The first machines are mainly assigned to the Bordeaux route, then to Limoges and Brive.  Montluçon depot 141E are used on the Night Express to Ussel via Eygurande or Gannat.  In 1956 there are twenty-one 141E at Périgueux and ten at Montluçon.

Between 1956 and 1958, Capdenac depot received twenty-five 141E.  The locomotives took over the night express runs between Brive and Toulouse as well as Brive and Rodez.  Capdenac locomotives took on a number of Ouest region services to Cahors, Decazeville, Aurillac and Figeac.

Over time the 141F is introduced to the Sud-Ouest region. In 1960 the region possessed fifty-seven 141E and twenty-two 141F.  Little by little the latest machines are grouped at Périgueux and Montluçon depots, from where they go up to Moulins and Vierzon.

In total, 101 ex-PLM Mikados run on the Sud-Ouest region.  Montluçon becomes the last depot to manage the locomotives.  At the end of December 1968, 141 E 425 and 141 F 282 are decommissioned  (141 F 282 is preserved at the Musée de Mulhouse). After this time just 4 locomotives remain, running freight trains - 141 E 435 and 545 as well as the 141 F 299 and 589. 141 F 299 became the last operational ex-PLM Mikado, hauling the final freight train on the Sud-Ouest in February 1969.

Nord Region

During the First World War the Nord region is reduced to a pitiable state.  In 1916 the decision is taken to order 50 new Mikado (2-8-2) locomotives from the Baldwin Locomotive works in the USA.  The design is based on the new 141B of the PLM.

The locomotives are numbered as NORD 4.1101 to 4.1150 (Later to become SNCF 2-141 A 1 to 2-141 A 50).  They are allocated to depots in the mining basin: Béthune, Hirson and Somain as well as Bourget near Paris.

The Nord 141A all had the original 3-axle, PLM designed, tender.  They would have looked striking in the original Rothschild Chocolate livery.

The Nord 141A were not rebuilt like their PLM cousins, and by the end of WW2 they were in a decrepit state - they were withdrawn and scrapped in the early 1950s. However, the ex-PLM Mikados gave another 20 years of service.

The Nord 141A is included in the REE programme for future production.


The PLM Mikados were the most accomplished of the 141 (2-8-2) tender locomotives operated by the SNCF in 1938.  Of the 1,261 Mikado locomotives with a separate tender, 809 were ex-PLM with a further 50, acquired from the NORD.

The success of the PLM Mikado inspired the SNCF to create the 141P Standard locomotive - Three hundred and eighteen 141P were built and they bore a strong family resemblance to the PLM machines.


Les "Mikado" du PLM - Editions La Vie du Rail

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