With its distinctive sloping cylinders and leading Bissell truck, Alf is an example of a type of locomotive of great historical significance.

Norway was the first country to use 3 ft 6 in gauge railways for normal passenger and freight traffic, the first line opening in 1862.

Initially much difficulty was experienced in obtaining satisfactory locomotives of that gauge. Most established English locomotive builders were very conservative, and did not like to try new ideas.

For Carl Pihl, the Norwegian engineer who developed the 3 ft 6 in gauge concept, the breakthrough came when he met Charles Frederick Beyer, of the Beyer Peacock Company.

Pihl and Beyer came up with a 2-4-0T locomotive with leading Bissell truck, sloping cylinders and compensating beams between the driving axles.

The English locomotive builders Beyer Peacock supplied the first example to Norway in 1866. Named Tryggve, it was an instant success, and in the subsequent twenty years Beyer Peacock supplied 24 more to Norway.

These were originally known as the Tryggve class, and later as the Type IV.

The design was later used for 3 ft gauge locomotives supplied to the Isle of Man Railway, and two 3 ft 6 in gauge locomotives supplied to a Western Australian timber company.

More significantly for Australia were the many 3 ft 6 in gauge 2-6-0 tender locos built by Beyer Peacock for Western Australia, South Australia, and Tasmania, which were a logical development of the Tryggve class. Examples of these were used in every state of Australia and the Northern Territory.

In addition to the Tryggve class, which had a roadworthy weight of 19.6 tonnes, a much smaller class of locomotives of the same design was developed in 1868. These had a roadworthy weight of only 13.2 tons, and Alf illustrated here is a survivor of this class.

Alf belonged the the Tjalve class, later known as Type III.

Alf is preserved and on display at the Norwegian Railway Museum at Hamar, which is where these photographs were taken.

Unfortunately none of the Tryggve class were preserved, but the Type V was very similar. The Type V were built by Motala of Sweden. One of these, Hugin has survived and is preserved at Stavanger.

Frank Stamford

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Alf on display in one of the exhibition halls at Hamar Railway Museum. It was taken out of service in 1923 after having spent most of its life on various sections of the Hamar—Trondheim railway.

Alf and his class-mates were well suited to running short local trains of the type that would later be run by rail-motors. As an example of such a service, Alf was used on the Trondheim—Selsbak local trains for some yeas from 1905.

Alf's maximum axle load was only 6.2 tonnes. The driving wheels are 1,143 mm in diameter, and the cylinders have a bore of 240 mm and stroke of 381 mm. It can carry 300 kg of coal and 900 litres of water. The maximum permitted speed was 45 km/h in both directions.

The overall length is 7,189 mm; the coupled wheelbase is 2,057mm, and the total wheelbase 3,886 mm.

Due to confined space Alf is extremely challenging to photograph in side view. This photograph was taken with a zoom fisheye lens, and subsequently de-fished using computer software. This explains some distortion in the image.

Leading to bridge

Alf retained its characteristic Beyer Peacock sloping front smokebox door throughout his life.

bridge pier

Huge kerosene headlights and diamond spark-arrestors were a feature of Norwegian steam locomotives for many years.

A close-up view of Alf's cab.

Alf's nameplate. All six of the Type III's were named, the others were Tjalve, Røskva, Mode, Magne, and Eivind.

Alf's builder's plate.

Alf gives the impression that it has been preserved in the condition it was in when in operation, and looking at Alf I had the feeling that he would love to be unleashed on a train again ...

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All photographs Copyright Frank Stamford, 2010, who may be contacted by email at: frank.stamford@bigpond.com

Last updated: 27 December 2010