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The Transfer of Locomotives of the

Austro-Hungarian Monarchy to the

Newly Founded PKP in the Years

1920 - 1924


The Transfer of Locomotives of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy to the Newly Founded PKP in the Years 1920 - 1924

From the very beginning there have been considerable problems in drawing up a locomotive list of the Polish State Railways in the first Polish Republic (1918 - 1939, "PKP-A"), because in the time of German and Soviet Russian occupation the greatest part of the documentation concerning the locomotive stock was lost or destroyed. The secretiveness of the Communist regime after 1945 also made research nearly impossible. The efforts of different railfans in the German and Austrian archives yielded only partial results, which were difficult to coordinate.

When after 1980 a seemingly complete PKP renumbering list dated 17.4.1928  was circulated by a Mr. U. Walluhn (Erfurt, then GDR), the hitherto unresolved questions seemed to be cleared up, as that list contained detailed data - former designations, manufacturer, year of construction, works numbers etc. - for practically all locomotives which came into PKP stock after 1918.

A closer inspection of the Walluhn lists however gave rise to serious doubts as to their authenticy:
a. an original document or parts of it was never presented, perhaps understandable under the aforementioned conditions;
b. the circumstances of origin claimed by the author (their transcription in a cellar of the Lvov Regional Direction of the Soviet Railways) appeared for the same reasons hardly credible;
c. a number of manifestly false information was detected, as for example the inclusion of several Pf12 class locomotives (ex 308 class kkStB), which demonstrably were always in Austria and never in Poland.

After 1990 new official, and therefore more authentic information, such as the PKP boiler book from 1935, which with the aid of the photocopier and the computer has allowed the revision of the existing documentation, has become accessible. All information originating from private persons would be ignored and only official documents were to be used as sources. Ingo Hütter (Celle, Germany) has copied and dealt with the papers used by the International Commission for the transfer of locomotives from Germany to Poland ("Tanaka commission") as well as the transfer protocols of the locomotives ceded by the Prussian Railway Administration (former KPEV) to Poland. Jerzy Wasilewski (Warsaw, Poland) has established a computerized list of the PKP locomotive stock between 1936 and 1939 out of the aforementioned boiler book and from other information. The author (Reimar Holzinger, Vienna, Austria) has been able to record and to copy the proceedings for the distribution of the rolling stock of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, as they concerned the transfer of Austrian and Hungarian locomotives to Poland. This last mentioned work
will now be described and a recapitulation of its results be presented.

The Proceedings of the "Distibution Commission"

Upon the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy it became necessary to distribute the rolling stock of the state railways of both halves of the Empire, kkStB and MAV, among the states which were newly constituted (Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland) or had incorporated parts of territory (Italy, Romania and the Kingdom SHS - Serbs, Croats and Slovenes – later Yugoslavia). According to Articles 318 of the peace treaty of St.Germain and 308 of Trianon a  "Commission for the Distribution of the rolling stock of the former Austro-Hungarian Monarchy" was set up in Ocober 1919 - hereinafter designated as "Distribution Commission" or "Commission". All concerned states sent delegations and a number of professional commissions were established, among them one for the registration and later distribution of the locomotives. The papers of the proceedings of the Distribution Commission - which also dealt with the distribution of far greater numbers of freight wagons and coaches - were handed over after the end of 1933 to the Austrian Transport Archives and can be consulted there as "Fond (Bestand) XIII" in 25 cardbord boxes and 5 document files.

The initial key-date for the determination of the rolling stock was the day of the  outbreak of the war (June 30,1914), another key-date was that of the armistice (November 3,1918).

Additional problems arose out of the number of
a. locomotives delivered new or scrapped between these dates,
b. locomotives destroyed or lost in war,
c. locomotives reclaimed by Italy according to the armistice terms,
d. locomotives confiscated by Romania and the Kingdom SHS in the war against the Hungarian Soviet Republic,
e. and on the broad gauge lines in Russian Poland, which were converted to standard gauge
by the kukHB and operated by its locomotives.

However, a locomotive count was made on January 4, 1920, on the basis of which it became possible to establish for the first time how many and what locomotives were located in each state territory. The locomotives of the Austrian private railways, also those operated by the kkStB "for the account of the owners" or "for the account of the state" were not to be included in the distribution. The standard gauge locomotives of the kukHB, following a decision dated October 30,1920 (due to the situation decribed under e.) should all be handed over to Poland. On June 19,1920 it was decided to allocate to the different states various locomotive classes of the kkStB in part or in total. According to this order called "Definitive Locomotive Allocation" (DL I) Poland was to have legal claim to the classes 107 (2 examples), 207 (4), 210 (9), 19 (3), 22 (2), 25 (7), 38 (19), 46 (20), 160 (42), 278 (6), 188 (2) and 95 (1), as well as for 11 locomotives of class 70, 15 of class 308 and addiionally to 29 examples of class 329, 152  of class 60 and 65 of class 260. But with the exception of classes 210, 160, 308, 278, 329, 60 and 260 they were old types ready for scrap. Therefore the Polish delegation already submitted on October 19, 1921 a request for the scrapping of some locomotives, followed by more such petitions on July 31,1922, July 12,1923, November 24,1923, April 9, 1924 and June 26, 1924. They also included numerous locomotives from classes not mentioned in "DL I", but which existed on Polish territory. In the 128th and the 163rd meetings (December 4,1923 and July 10,1924) these requests were granted. There was an understanding that for these locomotives "repairs seemed not to be economic due to their age and low efficiency" and "that they were already in the workshops, obstructing the anyhow limited space", as the Polish delegation lamented in one of its letters. The lists of the locomotives and tenders requested for scrapping and the lists of those granted by the Commission have survived, were copied and can be used as documentation for their existence after 1918 in Poland. The overwhelming majority of the allocated locomotives of the kukHB (classes 274, 328, 370, 578, 680 and 860) were virtually new, only the locomotives of the "2400" group, bought from Switzerland and 5 locomotives already stricken from kkStB stock but reactivated (40.29/30, 46.06/16, 62.03) were permitted to be scrapped.

It became possible in July 1922 to determine the "distribution volume", that is the total number of locomotives to be distributed: 6680 from kkStB, 3202 from MAV and 135 from kukHB. In April 1924 the exact number of locomotives of each class to be allocated to each of the states was reported in French on individual sheets to the "Conference of the Ambassadors", superior to the Commission and charged with the execution of the Peace Treaty. After that time only six more locomotives of the BBÖ (4.124, 429.925/940/970, 60.124/278) were allocated to Poland, to other states there were a great many more such transfers.

The Evaluation of the Results of the Distribution Commission

The locomotives which were taken into the stock of BBÖ, SHS, CSD, CFR and FS are well known and documented. Therefore it is possible to determine on the basis of the 1918 kkStB locomotive stock book those which went to the PKP. The result coincides nearly completely with
1. the PKP locomotives recorded 1935/39 in the boiler book,
2. the lists of the locomotives submitted by PKP and agreed by the Commission for scrapping.

But the PKP did not immediately scrap all the permitted locomotives and some "approved" locomotives are still mentioned as existing in the boiler book.

The Polish State Railways took over or had allocated not only locomotives designated according to the kkStB numbering system, but also locomotives from the Prussian Railway Administration (KPEV), from some German state railways and from Russian railways. Their designation followed completly different principles. Therefore the Polish railway ministry edited under file number VI 10653/26a, dated November 3, 1922 an ordinance on the class designation and numbering of the steam locomotives, which was again used in principle in 1945. As the ownership status of the locomotives at this moment was still unsettled (neither the Tanaka-Commission for the German locomotives nor the Vienna Commission for the Austrian ones had finished their work), the renumbering was not carried out for the time being. Only newly acquired locomotives were designated from the beginning according to the new scheme, though possibly before 1922 a system of fourdigit numbers was used.

The next document available referring to the (standard gauge) Polish locomotive stock is a tabulation of technical data, former and actual class designations as well as numbers of the locomotives in stock in each class at December 31,1926. It was compiled by Professor A.Czeczott and edited in 1927 by the railway ministry under the title "Characterystyka Parowozów". For the time between 1922 and 1926 no information existed, neither on the designations in force nor on the number of locomotives in each class and also not on the allocation of class numbers to the different types with the same wheel formula. For that reason there was much guesswork and the creation of fictitious lists, especially on the last mentioned problem, unless an otherwise satisfactory solution could be found. The PKP boiler book eventually handed over to the Warsaw railway museum appeared not to be very helpful as its entries do not begin before 1935. Boiler books from older times may have existed in the different regional directions, but they have not survived. Only an inventory list of the DOKP (regional direction) Warszawa dated July 1,1920 could be found in the library of the PKP general direction. It bordered on a miracle when a complete renumbering list from 1928 unexpectedly surfaced, but as mentioned above, very soon well founded doubts arose.

The research work now being conducted in the German and Austrian archives however allows some conclusions to be made.
1. PKP allocated class designations in 1922 to all then existing locomotive classes;
2. the renumberings of the individual locomotives which should have been implemented according to it did not take place, as security of ownership did not yet exist and as a considerable number of them were already scrapped or scrapping was applied for;
3. most of the locomotives whose scrapping was agreed by the Vienna Commission therefore were scrapped between 1920 and 1925 still carrying their kkStB number and never bore numbers according to the new PKP scheme;
4. different class designations provided for were therefore never used, which explains the
gaps between known and documented classes (as Th20 and Th24).

In December 1998 Piotr Staszewski (Lublin, Poland) found a dokument "Zbiór Okolników" (collection of circulars) published in 1927 by DOKP Warsaw, in which different circulars of the PKP general direction from 1922 to 1926 are documented. It contains interesting data on locomotive designation and numbers (Annex 4) and documents the following facts: 
1. Internally, the PKP used until 1925 the old class designations of KPEV/kkStB/kukHB and their running numbers - the classes from other German state railways receiving corresponding KPEV type codes - (circulars from 1922, 1923 and 1924, wherein no new PKP class designation is mentioned); 
2. which KPEV and kkStB classes were definitely eliminated (circular from 1924) and therefore never could have carried new PKP numbers (the old classes as Oc13, Oc15, Oc16 etc. still mentioned in 1926 may have been omitted in 1924 because these  candidates for  scrapping were no longer assigned to any central workshop);
3. which kkStB and KPEV classes still remained till the end of 1926 ("Characterystyka" from 1927) and so could have carried PKP numbers;            
4. which kkStB and KPEV classes received PKP class designations (circulars from 1925 and 1926); and that                                                                              
5. for most of the old kkStB classes it is now possible to determine their year of withdra

An Evaluation of the "Remumbering List 1928"

In view of the facts listed above and of the results of the research into the takeover of German locomotives by the PKP it is possible to make an evaluation of U.Walluhn's "1928 renumbering list" which now may only be described as fictitious.

While this list contains a large amount of material from various sources with supporting documentation, research in the archives has revealed considerable faults or false information and have raised some principal questions:
1. data was given for numerous kkStB and KPEV locomotives (in some cases, as with type Oc1, of complete classes) which demonstrably never were in Poland;
2. for a larger number of older kkStB classes PKP numbers according to the 1922 scheme are given, although those classes at the time of its execution were no longer in PKP stock;                                     
3. above all it seems highly questionable, what interest could motivate the general direction of the PKP to work out and to distribute widely in 1928 - one year after publishing the "Characterystyka", which gave only data on still existing locomotive classes – a complete list of detailed locomotive identities (former running number, manufacturer, year of construction, works number) , in which were included locomotives which in many cases had no longer been in service on the PKP for half a decade or more;
4. it is also questionable whether a civil servant, burdened with the everyday tasks of railway administration would take the trouble and time to compile a completely unneces
sary list.

Sadly, we must therefore conclude that until the presentation of verifiable documents the "PKP 1928 renumbering list" is simply a concoction, and its use highly inadvisable. The same is also true for the lists of locomotives of the Latvian (LVD) and Lithuanian (LG) state railways (1918-1940) circulated by Walluhn.

The documents mentioned in this report as well as copies are available for inspection from its author at any time.

Reimar Holzinger

Text in deutsch: Seite 51283

51284 P060427