La Fusée electric locomotive

Jean-Jacques HeilmannCirca 1913

Musée des arts et métiers

Musée des arts et métiers

In the late 19th century engineers began seeking new means of traction for locomotives such as petrol and compressed air engines. Jean-Jacques Heilmann put a prototype electric locomotive into service on the Eastern Railway, with a steam engine powering two generators driving eight traction motors. It was most likely baptised La Fusée (The Rocket) after Stephenson’s eponymous locomotive, holder of the first speed record in 1829. La Fusée covered over 1,900 kilometres, particularly on the Paris–Mantes line via Argenteuil, but its performances were mediocre and it had difficulty in reaching 100 km/h. Two other machines were built using the Heilmann principle by the Western Railway, but they had no successors.

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  • Title: La Fusée electric locomotive
  • Creator: Jean-Jacques Heilmann
  • Date: Circa 1913
  • Date Created: Circa 1913
  • Location: France
  • Physical Dimensions: 1:10 scale model
  • Provenance: Musée des arts et métiers
  • Contributor: Author: Lionel Dufaux. English translation: David Wharry
  • Inventory number: Inv. 13607
  • Credits: © Musée des arts et métiers-Cnam/photo Michèle Favareille