South African Class 15CA 4-8-2
|South African Class 15CA 4-8-2|
|Designer||South African Railways|
|Builder||American Locomotive Company
Baldwin Locomotive Works
Società Italiana Ernesto Breda
North British Locomotive Company
|Serial number||ALCO 66986-67006 & 67007-67008
Breda 2236-2245 
NBL 23774-23802, 24008-24025 
|Gauge||3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) Cape gauge|
|30 in (762 mm)|
|Driver diameter||57 in (1,450 mm) as built
60 in (1,520 mm) rewheeled
|34 in (864 mm)|
|Wheelbase||Total: 65 ft 3.1875 in (19.893 m)
6 ft 10 in (2.083 m) bogie
15 ft 9 in (4.801 m) coupled
35 ft 8 in (10.871 m) total
6 ft 2 in (1.880 m) bogie
20 ft 5 in (6.223 m) total
|Length||73 ft 3.1875 in (22.331 m)|
|Height||12 ft 10 in (3.912 m) as built
12 ft 11.5 in (3.950 m) with 60" drivers
|Axle load||As built
17.45 long tons (17.7 t) on 2nd driver (2039-2059, 2072-2073)
17.6 long tons (17.9 t) on 2nd driver (2074-2077, 2801-2839)
17.5 long tons (17.8 t) on 2nd driver (2840-2857)
With 60" drivers
17.75 long tons (18.0 t) on 2nd driver (2039-2059, 2072-2073)
17.9 long tons (18.2 t) on 2nd driver (2074-2077, 2801-2839)
17.8 long tons (18.1 t) on 2nd driver (2840-2857)
|Weight on drivers||As built
69.3 long tons (70.4 t) (2039-2059, 2072-2073)
70 long tons (71.1 t) (2074-2077, 2801-2839)
69.25 long tons (70.4 t) (2840-2857)
With 60" drivers
70.35 long tons (71.5 t) (2039-2059, 2072-2073)
71.05 long tons (72.2 t) (2074-2077, 2801-2839)
70.3 long tons (71.4 t) (2840-2857)
|Locomotive weight||As built
103.35 long tons (105.0 t) (2039-2059, 2072-2073)
104.15 long tons (105.8 t) (2074-2077, 2801-2839)
105.25 long tons (106.9 t) (2840-2857)
With 60" drivers
104.4 long tons (106.1 t) (2039-2059, 2072-2073)
105.2 long tons (106.9 t) (2074-2077, 2801-2839)
106.3 long tons (108.0 t) (2840-2857)
|Tender weight||68,888 lb (31.2 t) empty
69.4 long tons (70.5 t) w/o
|Locomotive and tender
210,224 lb (95.4 t) empty (2074-2077)
204,428 lb (92.7 t) empty (2039-2059, 2072-2073)
With 60" drivers
212,576 lb (96.4 t) empty (2074-2077)
206,780 lb (93.8 t) empty (2039-2059, 2072-2073)
* 2 axle bogies
* 34 in (864 mm) wheels
* Length 28 ft 8.25 in (8.744 m)
|Fuel capacity||14 long tons (14.2 t)|
|Water capacity||6,000 imp gal (27,000 l)|
|Boiler||6 ft 2.25 in (1.886 m) inside diameter
20 ft 0.5 in (6.109 m) inside length
8 ft 6 in (2.591 m) pitch as built
8 ft 7.5 in (2.629 m) pitch with 60" drivers
|Boiler pressure||200 psi (1,380 kPa) as built
210 psi (1,450 kPa) with 60" drivers
|Firegrate area||48 sq ft (4.459 m2)|
143 tubes 2.25 in (57.1 mm) diameter
30 tubes 5.5 in (140 mm) diameter
2,554 sq ft (237.274 m2)
117 tubes 2.25 in (57.1 mm) diameter
34 tubes 5.5 in (140 mm) diameter
2,361 sq ft (219.344 m2)
|– Flues||23 sq ft (2.137 m2)|
|– Firebox||200 sq ft (18.581 m2)|
|– Total||2,777 sq ft (257.992 m2) as built
2,584 sq ft (240.061 m2) reboilered
|Superheater area||716 sq ft (66.519 m2) as built
570 sq ft (52.955 m2) reboilered
|Cylinder size||24 in (610 mm) bore
28 in (711 mm) stroke
|Tractive effort||At 75% boiler pressure:
42,440 lbf (188.8 kN) as built
42,340 lbf (188.3 kN) with 60" drivers 
|Operator(s)||South African Railways|
|Number in class||84|
|Number||2039–2059, 2072-2077, 2801-2857|
In 1926 the South African Railways placed twenty-three Class 15CA steam locomotives with a 4-8-2 Mountain type wheel arrangement in service. Another sixty-one were ordered and delivered in 1929 and 1930.
Class 15C redesign
After the twelve Class 15C locomotives that were delivered by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1925 had been in service a short while, it was discovered that the frames under the front of the firebox had a tendency to crack, necessitating heavy repairs. To overcome this, a design was prepared for an almost identical locomotive, but with the frames widened under the firebox by means of a bridle casting.
The first batch of twenty-three of these redesigned 4-8-2 steam locomotives were built for the South African Railways (SAR) by the American Locomotive Company (ALCO). They were delivered in 1926, numbered in the range from 2039 to 2059, 2072 and 2073, and classified as Class 15CA, with the "A" indicating the manufacturer ALCO.
The earlier Baldwin built Class 15C was then reclassified to Class 15CB, actually for no good reason since in this case the "B" indicated the manufacturer Baldwin, not a branchline locomotive as was usual practice.
Another sixty-one Class 15CA locomotives were acquired from three other manufacturers in 1929 and 1930.
- In 1929 four were delivered by Baldwin in the United States, numbered in the range from 2074 to 2077.
- Also in 1929, ten were delivered by Società Italiana Ernesto Breda of Milan in Italy (now AnsaldoBreda), numbered in the range from 2801 to 2810.
- Twenty-nine were built by the North British Locomotive Company (NBL) in 1928 and delivered in 1929, numbered in the range from 2811 to 2839.
- In 1929 NBL built the last eighteen Class 15CA locomotives, delivered in 1930 and numbered in the range from 2840 to 2857.
The table shows the Class 15CA running numbers, builders, years built and builders’ works numbers.
The locomotives were delivered with 57 inches (1,450 millimetres) diameter driving wheels and their boilers were set at an operating pressure of 200 pounds per square inch (1,380 kilopascals). All of them were eventually rewheeled with 60 inches (1,520 millimetres) diameter driving wheels and, to compensate for the loss of tractive effort due to the larger diameter drivers, their operating boiler pressure was increased to 210 pounds per square inch (1,450 kilopascals) by an adjustment of the setting of their safety valves. This modification enabled these mixed traffic locomotives to handle the fastest mainline passenger trains.
Three of the Class 15CB and Class 15CA locomotives were later reboilered with boiler numbers in the range from 9504 to 9506, which were of similar dimensions, but with a different tube arrangement. Since these were not Watson Standard boilers, the locomotives were not reclassified.
South African Railways
The Class 15CA locomotives were placed in service on the mainline between Cape Town and Kimberley, but like the Class 15CB, they were later transferred to Bloemfontein from where they worked throughout the Free State until they eventually ended up on the Eastern Transvaal system. Here they worked out of Pretoria to Pietersburg in the north and from there to Tzaneen in the east and Messina on the Rhodesian border in the north, and also out of Witbank and Breyten.
In the mid 1960s a few joined the Class 15CB on the Natal North Coast line, and in 1983 they all went from there to the Cape Northern system for use on the lines from Beaconsfield in Kimberley, working north to Mafeking and south to De Aar. Eventually nearly forty of them ended up as heavy shunters at Kaserne and Germiston in Johannesburg, where they replaced the Class 12AR and Class S1.
Three Class 15CA locomotives were sold into industrial service. Numbers 2807 and 2839 went to Dunn’s Locomotive Works and were eventually sold to Rustenburg Platinum Mines. Number 2811 went to South Witbank Colliery as number 4.
The main picture shows Breda of Milan-built no. 2802 serving as school guard at Esselen Park, the Transnet School of Rail in Kaalfontein, Gauteng, on 21 September 2009.
NBL built no. 2850 at Kroonstad, Orange Free State, 22 April 1979
NBL built no. 2828 in royal blue, 20 October 2009.
- South African Class 15 4-8-2
- South African Class 15A 4-8-2
- South African Class 15B 4-8-2
- South African Class 15C 4-8-2
- South African Class 15E 4-8-2
- South African Class 15F 4-8-2
- Tender locomotive numbering and classification
- The 4-8-2 "Mountain"
- List of South African locomotive classes
- Holland, D.F. (1972). Steam Locomotives of the South African Railways, Volume 2: 1910-1955 (1st ed.). Newton Abbott, Devon: David & Charles. pp. 46, 49–50. ISBN 978-0-7153-5427-8.
- North British Locomotive Company works list, compiled by Austrian locomotive historian Bernhard Schmeiser
- South African Railways and Harbours Locomotive Diagram Book, 2’0” & 3’6” Gauge Steam Locomotives, 15 August 1941, as amended
- Paxton, Leith; Bourne, David (1985). Locomotives of the South African Railways (1st ed.). Cape Town: Struik. pp. 10–11, 61–62. ISBN 0869772112.
- Durrant, A E (1989). Twilight of South African Steam (1st ed.). Newton Abbott, London: David & Charles. pp. 86–87. ISBN 0715386387.
- Middleton, John N. (2002). Railways of Southern Africa Locomotive Guide - 2002 (as amended by Combined Amendment List 4, January 2009) (2nd, Dec 2002 ed.). Herts, England: Beyer-Garratt Publications. p. 22.
- Gospel Express at Vink Siding
|South African Steam: 15CA 2850 around Pretoria. (18.09 minutes)|