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.

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.

Hugin is the same design of locomotive, but was one of ten built by the Swedish firm Motala.

Beyer Peacock also supplied six locomotives of similar design, but smaller, to Norway. One of these - Alf - has survived and is in the Norwegian Railway Museum at Hamar.

Hugin is part of the Norwegian Railway Museum's collection, but is on display at Stavanger station, and not at the Museum's Hamar site.

Frank Stamford

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Hugin on display in the station lobby at Stavanger, Norway. It has been on display here since 1973. It is completely protected from the weather and accesible to all who use the station.

Note: On 17 June 2014 Hugin was moved from the station lobby at Stavanger to the Norwegian Railway Museum at Hamar, where a place has been prepared to display it in the main exhibition hall.

Hugin first went into service in July 1883 on the Bergen - Voss railway. In 1904 it was transferred to Stavanger when the Flekkefjord line was opened.

With a full load of coal and water Hugin weighs 18.4 tonnes. Its maximum axle load was only 7.8 tonnes. The driving wheels are 1,150 mm in diameter, and the cylinders have a bore of 279 mm and stroke of 457 mm. It can carry 500 kg of coal and 1,400 litres of water. The maximum permitted speed was 55 km/h in both directions.

The overall length is 7,088 mm; width is 2,230 mm, and height to top of smokestack 3,140 mm.

The name Hugin is from Norwegian mythology. Hugin and Munin were ravens who travelled the world bringing back news and information to the god Odin. Odin is the equivalent of the Anglo-Saxon Woden. Many, but not all of the Norwegian 3 ft 6 in gauge locomotives were given names. (An excellent practice, I cannot help feeling any self-respecting steam locomotive would perform better if graced with a name!)

Leading to bridge

An early type of air-brake pump as fitted to Hugin.

bridge pier

The maker's plate on the air-brake pump. Luftdruckbremse is German for air-pressure brake.

General view of the station lobby showing Hugin.

The copper-topped smokestack and kerosene headlamp of Hugin.

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All photographs Copyright Frank Stamford, 2008, who may be contacted by email at:

Last updated: 22 June 2014