South African Class 1A 4-8-0

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South African Class 1A 4-8-0
ex NGR Class B 4-8-0 1910
SAR Class 1A (4-8-0).jpg
SAR Class 1A no. 1301, ex NGR Class B no. 25,
Mason's Mill Loco, 6 July 1962
Type and origin
Power type Steam
Designer Natal Government Railways
Builder North British Locomotive Company
Serial number 19051-19071 [1][2]
Model NGR Hendrie B
Build date 1910
Total produced 21
Configuration 4-8-0 "Mastodon"
Gauge 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) Cape gauge
Leading wheel
28 12 in (724 mm)
Driver diameter 46 in (1,170 mm)
Wheelbase Total: 50 ft 3 14 in (15.323 m)
6 ft (1.829 m) bogie
12 ft 9 in (3.886 m) coupled
22 ft 6 in (6.858 m) total
4 ft 6 in (1.372 m) bogie
16 ft 6 in (5.029 m) total
Length 57 ft 10 in (17.628 m)
Height 12 ft 7 14 in (3.842 m)
Frame Plate frame
Axle load 14.55 long tons (14.8 t) on 2nd driver
Weight on drivers 57.05 long tons (58.0 t)
Locomotive weight 70.65 long tons (71.8 t)
Tender weight 40.55 long tons (41.2 t)
Locomotive and tender
combined weight
147,600 lb (67.0 t) empty
111.2 long tons (113.0 t) w/o
Tender type TL - TJ, TL, TM permitted
* 2 axle bogies
* Wheels 30 in (762 mm) dia
* Length 24 ft 3 in (7.391 m)
Fuel type Coal
Fuel capacity 8 34 long tons (8.9 t)
Water capacity 3,900 imp gal (18,000 l)
Boiler 5 ft 4 12 in (1.638 m) inside diameter
12 ft 1 in (3.683 m) inside length
7 ft 4.25 in (2.242 m) pitch
Boiler pressure 190 psi (1,310 kPa)
Firegrate area 34 sq ft (3.159 m2)
Heating surface:
– Tubes
325 tubes 2 in (50.8 mm) diameter
2,056 sq ft (191.009 m2)
– Firebox 132 sq ft (12.263 m2)
– Total 2,188 sq ft (203.272 m2)
Cylinders Two
Cylinder size 20 12 in (521 mm) bore
24 in (610 mm) stroke
Valve gear Walschaerts
Performance figures
Tractive effort 31,240 lbf (139 kN) at 75% pressure
Operator(s) Natal Government Railways
South African Railways [3]
Class NGR Class B
SAR Class 1A
Number in class 21
Number(s) NGR 13-33
SAR 1289-1309 [1][4][5]
Delivered 1910
First run 1910
Withdrawn 1974

The South African Class 1A 4-8-0 of 1910 was a South African steam locomotive from the pre-Union era in the Natal Colony.

In 1910 the Natal Government Railways placed twenty-one Improved Class B 4-8-0 tender locomotives in service. In 1912, when these locomotives were assimilated into the South African Railways, they were renumbered and classified as Class 1A.[1][4][6]


By 1909 more locomotives were required for goods operation on the lower sections of the Natal mainline and a further twenty-one locomotives of the Class B 4-8-0 design were ordered by the Natal Government Railways (NGR). They were delivered by the North British Locomotive Company (NBL) and placed in service in 1910, numbered in the range from 13 to 33. Since they incorporated various improvements, they became known as the Class Improved Hendrie B.[6]

Like their predecessors, they had Belpaire fireboxes with combustion chambers and Walschaerts valve gear. Their boilers had been raised by 1 14 inches (31.8 millimetres), raising the boiler pitch to 7 feet 4 14 inches (2.242 metres) to give a better rake on the sides of the ash pan. They were built with Hendrie’s steam reversers and, like the earlier Class B Hendrie B locomotives, all but one used slide valves. The exception was the last locomotive, number 33, which was an experimental locomotive equipped with piston valves.[1]

South African Railways[edit]

Class 1A 1293 (4-8-0).JPG

The Union of South Africa was established on 31 May 1910 in terms of the South Africa Act, enacted by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. One of the clauses in the Act required that the three Colonial Government railways, the Cape Government Railways, the NGR and the Central South African Railways, also be united under one single administration to control and administer the railways, ports and harbours of the Union. While the South African Railways (SAR) came into existence in 1910, the actual classification and renumbering of all the rolling stock of the three constituent railways required careful planning and was only implemented with effect from 1 January 1912.[4][7]

In 1912 these locomotives were renumbered in the range from 1289 to 1309 and designated Class 1A on the SAR.[1][4][6]


When new, they were used to haul fast passenger and goods trains between Durban and Pietermaritzburg. In SAR service they were also used on mainline workings out of Port Elizabeth. In later years they were relegated to shunting, particularly working in Natal but also in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London and in the Transvaal.[6][8]

In their last years, however, few Class 1 and Class 1A locomotives were still at work. As at April 1973, for example, there were still three working at Mason’s Mill in Pietermaritzburg and one in the Eastern Transvaal, two of them Class 1A. The last Class 1A was retired by the SAR in November 1974.[8]

In industrial service, number 1301 survived longer and was still in service in 1984 as Apex Mines number 3 at Greenside.[8]

Works numbers and renumbering[edit]

Their works numbers, numbering and SAR renumbering are listed in the table.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Holland, D.F. (1971). Steam Locomotives of the South African Railways, Volume 1: 1859-1910 (1st ed.). Newton Abbott, Devon: David & Charles. pp. 99–101. ISBN 978-0-7153-5382-0. 
  2. ^ North British Locomotive Company works list, compiled by Austrian locomotive historian Bernhard Schmeiser
  3. ^ South African Railways and Harbours Locomotive Diagram Book, 2’0” & 3’6” Gauge Steam Locomotives, 15 August 1941, as amended
  4. ^ a b c d Classification of S.A.R. Engines with Renumbering Lists, issued by the Chief Mechanical Engineer’s Office, Pretoria, January 1912, pp. 7, 12, 15, 44 (Reprinted in April 1987 by SATS Museum, R.3125-6/9/11-1000)
  5. ^ Holland, D.F. (1972). Steam Locomotives of the South African Railways, Volume 2: 1910-1955 (1st ed.). Newton Abbott, Devon: David & Charles. p. 137. ISBN 978-0-7153-5427-8. 
  6. ^ a b c d Paxton, Leith; Bourne, David (1985). Locomotives of the South African Railways (1st ed.). Cape Town: Struik. pp. 34–35. ISBN 0869772112. 
  7. ^ The South African Railways - Historical Survey. Editor George Hart, Publisher Bill Hart, Sponsored by Dorbyl Ltd., Published c. 1978, p. 25.
  8. ^ a b c Durrant, A E (1989). Twilight of South African Steam (1st ed.). Newton Abbott, London: David & Charles. p. 54. ISBN 0715386387.