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American Loc 4389 locomotive & freight cars type 'Warflat'

This locomotive/engine was built in accordance with the American war construction design: simple to construct and easy to maintain. The result is a combination of welded and riveted, a staved frame, Crampton fire box with a grill surface of 1,78m² (approx 10 sq. feet), relatively large sized wheels (1.372 mm / approx. 54 ") and cylinders that consist of two assembled castings and which at the same time are supporting the smoke-box. The accessories on top of the boiler provide the engine with a typical American profile.

During the Second World War engines of this type were used for transports supporting the American invasion army. In 1947 this engine has been acquired from the army surplus stores by the Oranje Nassau (coal) mine (Dutch State Mines) to be used for shunting operations.

Since 1980 the engine is being exploited by SGB (Steam engine Goes Borssele) and it is the only copy available in the Benelux. The craft is unique because of its history, its background and applied technology.
Meanwhile, the restauration of the locomotive that started in 2011 was completed in 2014.
Loc 4389 is marked by the boiler number 5098, year of construction 1943 by ‘Murray Iron’.

Photo 4 and 5: A Warflat in the SGB collection (Stoomtrein Goes Borsele).
The text on the sign at the Warflat:
US Army Transportation Corps freight car type 'Warflat'.
During the preparation of the invastion the allied army command thought that a well functioning railway system would be essential. The huge number of tanks, artillery, ammunition, provisions and pieces of equipment that are important to an advancing army had to be transported quickly an efficiently to the front. As to be expected the Germans would destroy everything they had to leave behind and the allied bombings would also bring destruction to important railway junctions, a large number of freight cars had to be built at short notice. These freight cars were built by American companies and subsequently shipped as kits to England. The freight cars were assemble there. First they were used there and later shipped to France etc.
One of the types of cars built was the 'warflat'. Flat cars especially constructed for the transport of artillery and tanks. This type was obviously the most important one seen from a military point of view. To extend the lifecycle of the tanks and in particular the caterpillar tracks, the allied forces tried to drop off the tanks as close as possible to the frontline.Thus they did not have to drive them for hundreds of miles under their own power, before entering into action.The Warflat type was constructed in such a way that it could transport two Sherman M4a tanks.
After the war 11.136 freight cars of different types were allocated to four European countries. France, the Netherlands, Poland and Greece. In total 2000 freigth cars were allocated to the Netherlands. The Warflat flat was used by NS to transport rails for the department of 'Weg & Werken'. This department was responsible for the maintenance of the track.
Of the many thousands of US Transportation Corps freight cars also a few are left. In the Netherlands only two of the Warflat type remain!

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  • Text: Stoomtrein Goes-Borsele & Mia van den Berg
  • Photos: Foto 1, Ralph van Meer, foto 2, Frank Janssens, foto 3, 4 en 5 Reinier Zondervan

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