The reception of the first 141 R locomotives ordered to the USA.
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The plates of the 141 R locomotives
At the end of World War II, the deficit in locomotives and the incapacity of the French industry, then in the process of reconstruction, to quickly deliver a large number of new machines, led to various orders placed with American and Canadian manufacturers.
It was the Baldwin Locomotive Works that, in the urgency of the time, designed the plans for these machines, modifying for the French network a locomotive that had already been in operation for several years in the United States, the Mikado USRA light model. This technological choice, which disrupted the conservative French railway industry of the time, would prove to be judicious.
As a strategic service, the railway network was mobilized and dedicated to the transportation of military troops during both World Wars. The former companies in 1914-1918 and SNCF in 1939-1945 had to deal with unprecedented situations regarding equipment and personnel, and they faced destruction and subsequent reconstruction. Additionally, for SNCF, there were all the aspects related to the policies of the Vichy regime and the German occupation.