Les 141 TA et le dépôt d'Ussel


In 1880 the town of Ussel in the French Massif Central was joined by rail to Brive on the Paris to Toulouse main line. Subsequently a spiders web of lines was built around Ussel all of which were situated in the Massif, largely single track, and with both sharp curves and considerable and long gradients.

Over a long period, a very large dépôt was built at Ussel to serve these lines. Shortly before the start of the First World War, the first of s series of 2-8-2 tank locomotives arrived at the dépôt, which were to improve services in the region very considerably - the 141 TA class; not the handsomest of locomotives, but completely at home in the Massif.

This wonderful book covers, firstly, the history of the dépôt, its installations, and life in it, including memoirs from men who were associated with it. A chapter is devoted to all the other classes of locomotive which were allocated to the dépôt at various times, and the crane and snow-ploughs based there. There then follow 135 pages devoted to the 141 TA class, including details on the lines served, accidents and incidents and sabotage, but also covering some of the design's more unusal features, which made it so good.

Throughout there is input from former enginemen and railway workers at Ussel, which gives the book an almost intimate feel to it.

255 pages. Around 400 photos, largely B&W, but a good number colour. French text.

Hardbound. A superb book and highly recommended!