Tuesday, 14 September 2010

The Little Pacifics

SAR-NG10.No61-Humewood Road 2002 photo by Bruce Green

The Little Pacifics -The Sixties-
South African Railways-2 foot gauge
Class NG10 No. 61-66

Baldwin of Philadelphia USA built six 4-6-2's for the South African Railways which where placed into service on the Avontuur Branch in 1916.They where distantly American in appearance, popular with their crews, nicked named the ‘Sixties‘, equipped with outside bar frames and Walschaert’s valve gear. They spent most of their days working out of Loerie. In 1948 numbers NG63 and NG64 where transferred to South West Africa to assist with yard duties. The balance of the fleet went to Humewood Rd in Port Elizabeth to perform yard duties there. They where all with drawn in 1962. If you go to the website at http://www.sa-transport.co.za/trains/narrow-gauge/ng_info_pictures/steam.html there are some photographs of the NG10’s, No 63 or 64 at Usakos in South West Africa in 1955 and No61 at Humewood Rd. in 1961.

SAR-NG10 No.61 was still about and running at Humewood Rd until 1965 ,just, even though being officialy withdrawen. In 1970 she was moved to an unusual position ,the roof of the Port Elizabeth Museum where she remained for 9 years. The museum then decided that it was no longer going display heritage transport returning the loco back to Humewood Rd in 1979. NG61 is now in the safe and capable hands of the Sandstone Heritage Trust in the Orange Free State, where she awaits her fate and ultimate out come in the road towards restoration. Itis more than likely as her boiler is basically a right off that she will become a static display. On the Sandstone Heritage website there is talk of her ending up at the Transport Museum in George.

Baldwin also built a sister loco to this class for the Eastern Province Cement Company Ltd. She was delivered in 1930 and become the companies engine No.2 . Her original livery was olive green and aluminium lining with bold letters on her tender, Eastern Province Cement Co. Ltd and No.2 on her front number plate, although she ended her days in a fine red. Her boiler was replaced at some time with a Hunslet one. Colin Garratt in his book Last Steam Locomotives of the World, Steam Safari, gives an accountant of this loco when he came across her working the Chelsea Branch Line. In his account he credits her with one of the nicest chime whistle he has ever heard ,saying it was melodious almost to be described as fragrant.

Working a night train on the Chelsea Branch. The photo is from Colin Garratt's book. It shows the loco in it's last days much modified and in its red livery.
In 1974 she was involved in an accident after running away from her driver leaving the tracks and subsequently being written off by the insurers. She was purchased by the Brecon Mountain Railway in Wales U.K. as scrape. In 1990 they started a complete rebuild and restoration and in 1997 she entered service again as No.2 , looking again very American but in a fine state. She spent 10 years as an oil burner but recently being converted back to a coal burner. Have a look at the website, www.breconmountainrailway.co.uk/locomotives.html
Another website with photographs of No.2 is http://www.railfaneurope.net/pix/gb/museum/BMR/bmr2.jpg

Bladwin works photograph 1930