Steam Locomotive at ARGENTAN's railway station


Railway Station

Mythical trains

SNCF depot


Répertoire ferroviaire


Argentan from 1958 to 1973 and at all the railwaymen of Argentan, their careers through the history of Argentan 's railway station At the memorable time of steam that they regret all. At the height of their glory years between 1950 and 1970, the Pacific and Mountain are the queens of the Railway. At the Argentan's depot, in 1966, will include 56 locomotives with 31 (141p), 19 (141R) and 6 (141C)

A Profession of men : The locomotive engineer and his stoker

Installed on the platform at the rear of the locomotive between the firebox and the tender carrying coal, the stoket whose function is to load the firebox of coal depending on the speed, weight of the train and the track profile while the locomotive engineer of the board and responsible for the conduct of the machine.

The locomotive engineer must also supervise the maintenance of his machine at the workshop. It is him who monitors the signals, control the various gauges of the machinery and the operation of the train when the stoker, it must conduct the fire, whatever the track, the train's speed.

A inseparable pair

In general, the locomotive engineer and the stoker are always the same machine. They share in common thier lifes on the locomotive that travels between two stops. This team could be absent for several days outside the home and share the rest together.

Biography of a locomotive engineer

In this period of post-war period, the SNCF had urgent needs regarding the recruitment for its service in all its branches. Also, to ensure the recruitment of permanent staff, the SNCF is responsible for training apprentices in workshops and main deposits. Many locomotive engineers began their careers by learning of fitters, welders, ... Motivated to drive, after an examination and a medical examination, they passed their examination of stoker. After several years to load the firebox and professional evolution, they work the rules to pass the examination of locomotive engineer in order to take control of the locomotive.

Being very proud to dominate the machine, despite the regular knowledge of rules constantly changing and mandatory medical visits, it's time for diesel and electric traction.

With recycling on these new technologies, leaving to regret the period where the steam reigned supreme and gave them their best years, despite the hardness of the work, they suffered from the SACM (Standby Automatic Control maintenance ) where the mechanical gestures were very disturbing, it'is with eagerly that they waited a well-deserved retirement.

Knights of the railway

"Being a locomotive engineer, was something " remember the old steam workers. For the teams holding speed machines such as the "Pacifics", the qualifiers were not lacking: the senators. One race apart, an aristocrat in the working world.

However the team 's spirit was pushed up and poutassou mechanics were erratic, he had to handle tons of chabon on a platform that was only 2 m 2. A pipe stand to look forward mingled ash, coal dust mixed of oil. They were still proud of their machine, they "shined" in polishing the brass and making impeccable after each trip.

In a century, the locomotive had acquired technical performance.

With the American locomotives 141 R, the driving became commonplace.

SNCF after the war

With the Marshall law intended to revitalize the economy of the France destroyed by war, the SNCF ordered a huge range of 1340 locomotives, built in record time between 1945 and 1947 by U.S. and Canadian companies.


Between the summer 1944 and the automn 1945 , the american locomotives will be landed at CHERBOURG .