Oostmalle (Belgium), November 9th 2014
The Belgian Type 26 was a series of 100 ex-German DRB 52s, which taken into service by the Belgian Railways after the liberation in September of 1944. Mainly used to haul freight, the Type 26 remained in service until 1963.
Actually, their story was a bit more complicated: although 100 DRB 52s were built in Belgium for the Belgian railways, only 90 actually served with the Belgian railways, as the remaining 10 were directly delivered to the CFL of Luxembourg, where they became the CFL Series 56.
Despite her current livery, 26.102 never was a Belgian locomotive to start with. All 100 Belgian-built type 26s were either sold or scrapped after retirement, with none preserved.
26.102 started out as 52.7173 of the Deutsche Reichsbahn, built by the Wiener Lokomotivfabrik (WLF) in 1943 to support the Nazi war effort. As a result, she ended up with the Soviet railways after the war, where she became TE 7173. She served with the Soviet state railway (CZD) until 1963, when she was sold to the Polish railways (PKP) where she became Ty2-7173. There she served until 1990, when she was purchased by English enthousiasts for service at the Nene Valley Railway. In 2001 she was retired, but she languished at the museum until 2011, when she was transported to Belgium for use as spares in the restauration of the PFT/TSP's 26.101 (ex-DRB 52.3554, ex-CZD TE 3554; ex-PKP Ty2-3554). Fitted with the defective boiler of 26.101, the 7173 was cosmetically restored as 26.102 for display at Oostmalle, where she was installed in 2013.