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Jouef SNCF 141 R 840
Epoch III
Review by Doug Teggin

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History of the 141 R

The SNCF 141 R was a class of 2-8-2 steam locomotives. They were used all over the French rail network from 1945-1974.

At the end of World War II, there was a shortage of locomotives, and to quickly obtain the large number needed locomotives were ordered from the main American and Canadian locomotive builders.

The design was based on the Green Bay & Western Railroad's successfully customised Mikados, suitably modified to meet the SNCF loading gauge. Modifications included the overall height, the fitting of European couplers and buffers, left-hand drive, smoke deflectors and a Kylchap exhaust on the second batch.

The first order for 700 engines with production split between the "big three" American locomotive builders: Baldwin Locomotive Works, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, American Locomotive Company, Schenectady, New York, and Lima Locomotive Works, Lima, Ohio. The second batch of 640 engines was ordered from the "big three", plus the Canadian manufacturers Montreal Locomotive Works, Montreal, Quebec and Canadian Locomotive Company, Kingston, Ontario. Most of this batch were built as oil burners, burning preheated heavy fuel oil (known in French as Mazout), unlike the first batch which had all been designed as coal fired.

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The massive introduction of oil fired locomotives was due to the fact that in the immediate post-war period, the quality coal was in high demand and SNCF was consuming 9 million tons per annum. Oil thus allowed savings in coal, even if in many depots it required a revolution in working conditions. The extra range permitted by oil - 700 km (430 mi) instead of 400 km (250 mi) - explains also the more intensive use of the locomotives. The engine men nicknamed the locomotives mazoutières or charbonnières (coal-scuttles) according to fuel employed; oil-burners were also called les goudronneuses (tar spraying machines) by their crews.

Text Source: Wikipedia. Photo (above): Lionel MOLLARD, Photo (top of page and above): Frédéric Tindilière, Source:

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The 141 R 840 at the Massy-Palaiseau station, the 13th October 2001.
Photo: Didier Duforest, Source: Wikipedia.

The Jouef Model

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I had heard of this model some time go and I was eager to see the model. First impressions are good. A neat and finely detailed model with plenty of parts added on the boiler and also under the running plate.

French modellers are very excited with this model. Most people are impressed with the detail and quality of work. The downside is the price. Even modellers on the continent don't like paying 3 or 4 hundred Euros for a model loco.

I received the sample model from Ontracks in the UK. The DCC ready model arrived without a sound decoder of course. The Standard loco (HJ 2040) retails for around 300 Euros whereas the sound-equiped loco (HJ 2041) retails for around 420 Euros.

Obviously I wanted to fit a sound decoder as my Liliput SNCF 140.C.314 with a ESU v3.5 sound decoder fitted is one of my favourite models.

So as the model came from the UK, I contacted Hornby in the UK asking them where I may purchase the sound decoder that is made for the sound-equiped version of the model. I asked them for the reference number for the ESU decoder used in the sound-equiped model (HJ 2041). Here is the tale:

Hornby (UK) replied:

Unfortunately, I cannot give details on fitting sound decoders as this is not a service we provide. However, I can recommend DCC Supplies who will be able to help you further.
I replied:

I am not asking you to fit it - I can do that. I am just asking you the part number so that I may order it myself. As you are the manufacturer, I assume you would know the part number or the reference of the ESU decoder used in the sound-equipped version of the model: HJ2041.
Hornby replied:

Unfortunately, I do not cover Hornby International models (Arnold, Jouef, Rivarossi and Lima) or ESU sound decoders. I have recommended DCC Supplies as they can offer general advise of fitting sound decoders, however, if you would like specific details you would have to contact Jouef (through Hornby International) or ESU directly.
So I found out that I needed to contact Hornby International in Spain. I asked them for a part number and where I could get the sound decoder. They replied:

Thank you for your e-mail and the interest in our products. However, we can sell our products only to our official distributor. If you need to order this spare part you should contact with the distributor of your country. Please let us know where are you located and we will inform you appropriately.
I replied:

I am in France, but this model comes from a shop in the UK. I just need the part number then I'll place the order with a retailer.
That I think just confused them as I heard nothing back even after trying again.
I hate going around in circles so basically I had to find a decoder myself. Quite a few months later, I eventually tracked down an ESU decoder: 8-Pin ESU Loksound 4.0 55422 Dampflok 2 Zyl. 140 C SNCF. This is the closest I could find to the 141 R. They both have 2 cylinders and the whistles and other sounds should be similar.

Now to get the decoder in. The body of the tender is held on by 2 small screws in the front of the tender and a plate at the rear which is held on by one small screw under the couple. Remove the plate and the lugs holding the back of the tender body can now be released. This process is not explained at all in the instructions which comprise only of an exploded diagram of parts.

After getting the body of the tender off, this is what you find.

Circuit component Passive circuit component Electronic instrument Hardware programmer Electronic component

Remove the blanking-plug and take off the circuit board to access the speaker placement. This below is the ESU Loksound 4.0 decoder.

Circuit component Light Passive circuit component Electrical wiring Hardware programmer

The speaker box included with the model is not sealed so is not ideal. I used the speaker box of the ESU LokSound decoder with the holes filled in with glue and covered with paper. Then the speaker box with the speaker in was tacked down with a couple of spots of tacky glue (it can be pulled off later if required).

The circuit board of the loco was fitted back. The speaker box was slightly too deep, but the circuit board still fitted with a little bend. No solder points were under any stress so I went with it. A 21 pin to 8 pin adaptor was used. Decoder plugged in. The decoder held in place with some double-sided tape. Then it was tested before I re-fitted the tender body.

Wheel Train Circuit component Electrical wiring Rolling

All fine so the body went back on. Much easier this time as I knew the procedure.

Below, we see the wheels of the loco. Two sets of the driving wheels have flush traction tyres - very nice. The loco will be a good puller.

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So here is a video showing the Jouef SNCF 141 R 840 in action. Basic startup and running at about 20 speed steps (DCC128). The lights are shown towards the end of the video. Front and back. When reversed, the front lights turn red. The sound of the electrical generator is lined to the lights. Turn off the lights and the generator goes off.



A very nice and detailed model. Excellent smooth running with double flywheels attached to the motor. Metal chassis on the loco and tender give is a good weight. Traction tyres help it pull and pickups on all the tender wheels ensure electrical continuity. The lights are a welcome adition. The price is high, but you do get plenty of loco for it and if you are a fan of these locomotives, then you will not be disappointed.

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Further information and perhaps a ride on the train itself

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AAATV (Amicale des Anciens et Amis de la Traction Vapeur) Centre Val de Loire

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AAATV Centre Val de Loire - Facebook page

AAATV Website:

DFT - March 2011 / February 2012
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