STEAM LOCOMOTIVE PACIFIC MIKADO 141 - THE FRANCO ETHIOPIAN RAILWAY FROM 1900 TO 1980.
Gallery N°27 : Mikado 141 (C.F.E. period)
World War Two created a significant increase in demand for transportation in many parts of the world. To meet this requirement the Department of Transportation of the US Army, the USATC (United States Army Transportation Corps), ordered three Series of locomotives from American manufacturers: a small 030-tender locomotive, S-100, (a few became the 030TU of SNCF in France), a big locomotive with separate tender, S-160, (SNCF 140U) and finally, a 141 locomotive with separate tender designed to run on a narrow gauge, S-118. These were all simply and robustly built and would be used by many networks around the world, especially towards the end of the war.
The Series S-118, commonly known as "MacArthur", was the result of a study by the American Locomotive Company (AlCo). These locomotives could be used on three different gauges, 914, 1000 and 1067 mm, through the use of equidistant collars on the axles.
890 units were ordered by the USATC, but only 741 were delivered, between 1942 and 1945, by the five American manufacturers: AlCo, Baldwin Locomotive Works, Davenport Locomotive Works, H K Porter and Vulcan Iron Works. The order for the remaining 149 units was cancelled at the end of the war. The manufacturers, left with many almost completed locomotives, contacted all the networks able to use them offering very favourable leasing deals. 52 additional units, called "copies", were sold between 1945 and 1948 to India, Greece, Ethiopia and the Belgian Congo (le Chemin de Fer des Grands Lacs).
During the war the S-118 USATC locomotives ran in Alaska, Algeria, Tunisia, the Gold Coast, Iraq, India, Burma and Australia. Later they would also be used in Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, the Philippines, Cameroon, Tanganyika, Costa Rica, Honduras and Brazil.
The American "Davenport Locomotive Works"of Iowa delivered six new units, Nos 421 to 426, to C.F.E. They were not real "Mac Arthurs", but copies that differed by only a few details. They were slightly heavier and worked under a higher steam pressure (14 bar instead of 12.76). They were to be the last steam engines to join the C.F.E. and the only ones to be fuelled by diesel. They were used over a long period of time concurrently with the diesel SLM locomotives that were delivered in 1951, and would also be the last steam locomotives on the network. The survivors would eventually be put in a siding in 1962 after the arrival of the second Series of Alsthom diesel locomotives.