After a career of almost 50 years, sncb class 26 has been withdrawn from active service. Recently quite a large number of the new class 18 have been put into service, and since there aren’t a lot of local freight trains anymore, withdrawal was quite easy and sudden.
The first 5 prototypes were built in 1964 and 1965. Based on this small series, two orders of 15 engines were produced. Originally, there numbering was 126.101-126.135 and they had a green livery. It was an era in which safety colors didn’t exist yet. The 4-axle engines were especially put into service in the waloon region: Passenger service between Brussels and Arlon, freight services between Namur and Stockem (near Arlon).
They were quickly rebuilt to multiple work with class 23. These engines had quite a good reputation with the drain drivers, although they were quite noisy, especially the 5 prototypes. It was foreseen that those prototypes were going to put out of service in december 2011, but it was a surprise that the other engines faced the same fate.
The pictures below were taken in the last years of their active service. You’ll often see the wellknown iron ore trains from the port of Antwerp to Marcinelle, near Charleroi. It’s a pitty that the factory in Marcinelle didn’t survived the crisis…These trains haven’t been running since November 2008 and are definitely set aside since it has been decided that the Carsid factory, owned by Duferco, won’t be reactivated. 1000 workers lose their job, and it’s also definitely the end of the beautiful iron ore trains in Belgium.