une partie de l'équipe de conduite

The  Pacific 231 G 558 

the Pacific Vapeur Club


The history of a prestige locomotive 

Among all the SNCF protected steam engines, there are nine « Pacific » type engines. A Pacific has the following axles configuration :  2 carrier axles in the front, 3 driving axles and 1 carrier axle at the rear.

 In this whole batch of prestigious speed engines which pulled express trains between the 20’s and the 60’s, the 231 G 558 remains among the last ones still running. 

It was built in Nantes in 1922 by the BATIGNOLLES-CHATILLON Company and belongs to a series of 283 units numbered in a State network from 231 501 to 783.

In 1936, to face traction problems due to heavier entirely metal carriages, the State network modified 31 Pacifics and particularly the distribution. A valve distribution was put up on the high pressure cylinders (HP) and low pressure (BP), according to the principles applied to the locomotives of the Compagnie de Paris Orléans (PO), by André CHAPELON, and implemented by the LENZ-DABEG Company. At that time they were registered D.D.(double Dabeg) which became G type when the SNCF was founded on 1st January 1938.

Devoted to various depots (successively THOUARS, CAEN, LE HAVRE and NANTES-BLOTTEREAU) it provided express services on PARIS-BORDEAUX via CHARTRES, NIORT AND SAINTES, PARIS-CHERBOURG, PARIS-LE HAVRE and NANTES-LE CROISIC where it pulled its last train on 29th September 1968. Then it was put into a siding in ANGERS. Lighted up again in 1969, it stayed for some months in DIEPPE to be used as a fixed boiler to heat up car-ferries fuel oil.

 The SNCF tried to sell it in vain in 1971. On the initiative of the Head of the traction department of the dépôt of SOTTEVILLE, it came back in 1972 and after long negociations it was given for one symbolic franc to the « Amicale des Chefs de Traction du Réseau de l’Ouest de la S.N.C.F. » on 4th November 1977. Afterwards, it was only shown in various exhibitions.

Main characteristics of the 231 G 558 and its tender 22 C 367.

Wording LOCOMOTIVE Capacity    TENDER
Weight when ready to work(Tons) 104   60
Length  in metres  13,665   8,65
Speed at the time of the S.N.C.F. 130 Km/h Coal 12 tons
Present speed  limited   100 Km/h Water 22 m3
Coal consumption - tons per 100 km  1,5 à 2    
Water consumption - m3 per 100 km 10 à 15    
Horsepower 2500    

The Pacific Vapeur Club 

Birth and vocation

 The Pacific Vapeur Club was founded in January 1983 and its aim was to refurbish the « PACIFIC ». On 8th June 1983 it was registered « Monument historique » with its tender 22 C 367. 

The restoration started in 1984, with the owner’s agreement, the « Amicale des Chefs de Traction du Réseau de l’Ouest ». 8,000 working hours were needed.

It was controlled by the « APAVE NORMANDIE » on 28th November 1985 and accepted by the S.N.C.F. on 30th May 1986. On Sunday 29th June 1986 the inaugural train ran from SOTTEVILLE les ROUEN to PARIS SAINT LAZARE

 Functioning of the club

The Pacific Vapeur Club is an association within the law of 1901.

It is composed of voluntary workers only, both for the management, the organization of events, preservation, maintenance or driving of the train.

 In 2002/2003 at the time of the compulsory checking of our « Princess », taking place every 15 years, teams of the PVC spent 12 stays (1,380 hours) in the CFTA workshops in Gray. They represented a considerable saving for the association.  

In the same time more than a dozen members came every Tuesday to maintain  the carriages in order to welcome the visitors in the best conditions



The objective of the Pacific Vapeur Club was also to hitch carriages to the 231 G 558 to form a « retro » train.

The collection of carriages started in 1984 and is now including :

- a STATE luggage wagon built in 1930.

- a Post-office carriage built in 1929 and transformed into an exhibition carriage ;

- five second class carriages (OCEM type) from the 30’s ;

- a first class carriage (OCEM type) ;

- A mixed carriage BD Sud-Est (with four compartments and the other half part used as a bar).

For more details

The train holds 448 seats. Every year the Pacific Vapeur Club organizes journeys, from Sotteville les Rouen or other railway stations, on the theme « One day on the retro train ».

On request, associations, firms, companies, etc, can book a special train.

The train is always admired and is warmly welcomed by elderly as well as young people.


For more details on the programme and reservations :



TEL : 33 (0) 2 35 72 30 55

Permanency every morning from Monday to Friday

Telecopy : 33 (0)2 35 03 06 69


  Siret nr: 393 979 893 00012 Management of the cultural patrimony