Sunday, July 10, 2016

Congo electric locomotive medallion, 1956

Of the Compagnie du Chemin de Fer du Bas Congo au Katanga or BCK.  The railway was built mainly to exploit copper and cobalt mining in the Katanga region.  Electrification of some of it took place in 1952. According to a comment on this webpage:

"It was the first 25 kV, 50 Hz installation outside of France, and the first application to cape gauge.

"The first two groups of locomotives were fitted with single-phase motors, those used on the second group being of quite advanced design. Both had DC rheostatic braking. The third group of locomotives were fitted with ignitron rectifiers, although one might have had silicon rectifiers from the start, and the rest were eventually converted. These also had rheostatic braking. All of these locomotives were built by ACEC (electrical parts) and La Brugeoise et Nivelles (mechanical parts). The ACEC/B&N pairing was perhaps best known for its production of PCC tramcars for Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp and The Hague. ACEC was a Westinghouse licensee.

"The Congo was also an early user of diesel-electric locomotives of reasonable power outputs, being one of the first Cape gauge systems to operate locomotives in the vicinity of 1500 hp. The Matadi-Leopoldville railway acquired some GE "shovel-nose" line service locomotives in 1950, followed in 1954 by some more of the same license-built by Baume & Marpent in Belgium, with SEM supplying some of the electrical equipment. And at about the same time it also obtained some Baldwin-license locomotives from Cockerill, with Westinghouse electrical equipment by ACEC."

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