8241 - the SNCF 4-8-2 'Mountain'  locomotive No: 241.P.7 with type 36P tender

Prototype information:

The class 241-P's, which were delivered between 1948 and 1952 were derived from the prototype loco 241-C-I built in 1931 by Schneider for the P.L.M. railway company and were satisfactorily tested over nearly 500, 000 km. 

In 1944, SNCF reviewed their post-war traffic requirements and estimated that there would be a need to be able to haul passenger trains of 700 - 800 tons at 120 km/h. In the case of steeply graded lines, which included such routes as Paris-Lyon, Paris-Nancy, Paris-Belfort, they would need locos with good adhesion, i.e. with 4 coupled axles and having a drawbar power of approximately 4000 HP. They would need to tackle gradients of I in 125 and to ensure the required accelerations. The locos must in additionally be able to coast at a speed of 120 km/h in locations where grades allowed; this meant that large diameter driving wheels were a requirement.

In October 3, 1945, the SNCF placed  orders with Schneider and Le Creusot, for 35 steam locos. The new locos differed in many ways from the original 241-C from which they were derived, in particular by the fitting of a mechanical stoker, various boiler modifications,  improvement of the layout of the cylinders, reinforcing the frame and, generally, a standardisation of the bodies, which made  it necessary to give them a new class number, the 241-P. Normally, the 241-P's were coupled to a  type 34 P tender and the total length of the engine and tender thus allowing the use of 24m diameter turntables. They could however also couple to a type 36P or 36Q tender. 

They were used initially on the line between Paris and Marseilles including 'Le Mistral' but within a few years they were displaced by electrification and most of them were transferred to the Nord, l'Est and l'Ouest regions. For over ten years they managed the traffic on the line west of Le Mans, 411 km to Brest and 410 km to Quimper so they had the opportunity to stretch their legs. They hauled immense trains sometimes up to 16 coaches - over 800 tons

Type 241P 

241P-24at Clermont Ferrond in June 1962


Le Mans

241P-17 pictured at Le Mans depot on 26th September 1970

Picture courtesy Nico Spilt

Number built: 35
Operating area: All Regions
Maximum speed: 120 km/h (75 mile/h)
Power 4000HP


132  tons
Length over buffers 27 117 mm
Date entered service: 1949
Builders Schneider and Le Creusot
Withdrawn 1969-70