A class of six Atlantics (Class 12) was introduced in May 1939 by SNCB, the state Belgian railways, to haul trains from Brussels to Ostend – 70.8 miles – in one hour exactly, with a 60 second stop in Bruges. They were designed by Raoul Notesse and modeled after 4-4-4 Canadian Pacific locomotives (minus one axle). Mr. Notesse delivered a light, sound and rather conservative design, mostly ignoring American and French innovations of the time. Their casing has been obviously inspired by British 'baby whale' streamliners of the London Midland and Scottish Railway, except for the addition of huge smoke deflectors. The front part opened like a gate (or closet doors), simplifying maintenance.
Serving on Brussels - Ostend mainline, they were fine companions to Belgian diesel ferries that sailed across the Channel.
Little is known of their fate during WWII, but all six Class 12 Atlantics were in service in 1964 and four continued to operate until September 27, 1962, hauling short passenger trains between Brussels, Liege, Herbesthal and Lille.
One of them, 12.004, is preserved in Louvain. Restored in 1980s, it soon needed another restoration. Judging on the photographs made last year, it is in good (though probably not in fully working) condition.
Now, as usual, some models: