South African Class 8C 4-8-0

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South African Class 8C 4-8-0
& South African Class 8CW 4-8-0
ex CSAR Class 8-L3 4-8-0
SAR Class 8C 1174 (4-8-0) CSAR 483.jpg
Ex CSAR Class 8-L3 483, SAR Class 8C 1174, circa 1910
Type and origin
Power type Steam
Designer Cape Government Railways
Builder North British Locomotive Company
Serial number 15803-15832 [1]
Model CGR 8th Class (4-8-0)
Build date 1903 [2]
Total produced 30
Configuration 4-8-0 "Mastodon"
Gauge 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) Cape gauge
Leading wheel
28.5 in (724 mm)
Driver diameter 48 in (1,220 mm)
Wheelbase Total: 46 ft 10.5 in (14.288 m)
6 ft (1.829 m) bogie
13 ft 6 in (4.115 m) coupled
23 ft 3 in (7.087 m) total
4 ft 7 in (1.397 m) bogie
14 ft 7 in (4.445 m) total
Length 54 ft 5 in (16.586 m)
Height 12 ft 10 in (3.912 m) as built
12 ft 8 in (3.861 m) superheated & Class 8CW
Frame Bar frame
Axle load As built:
11.85 long tons (12.0 t) on 2nd driver
12 long tons (12.2 t) per driver
Class 8CW:
12.55 long tons (12.8 t) on 2nd driver
Weight on drivers 46.6 long tons (47.3 t) as built
48 long tons (48.8 t) superheated
48.3 long tons (49.1 t) Class 8CW
Locomotive weight 58.85 long tons (59.8 t) as built
60.75 long tons (61.7 t) superheated
61.05 long tons (62.0 t) Class 8CW
Tender weight 44,032 lb (20.0 t) empty
43.05 long tons (43.7 t) w/o
Locomotive and tender
combined weight
120,288 lb (54.6 t) empty
101.9 long tons (103.5 t) as built
103.8 long tons (105.5 t) superheated
104.1 long tons (105.8 t) Class 8CW
Tender type XF - XC, XC1, XD, XE, XE1, XF, XF1, XF2, XJ, XN, XN1, XM2, XM3 permitted
* 2 axle bogies
* 34 in (864 mm) wheels
* Length 22 ft 2.5 in (6.769 m)
Fuel type Coal
Fuel capacity 10 long tons (10.2 t)
Water capacity 3,000 imp gal (14,000 l)
Boiler As built:
5 ft (1.524 m) inside diameter
11 ft 0.5 in (3.366 m) inside length
7 ft (2.134 m) pitch
Superheated & Class 8CW:
5 ft (1.524 m) inside diameter
11 ft 0.375 in (3.362 m) inside length
7 ft 1 in (2.159 m) pitch
Boiler pressure 180 psi (1,240 kPa)
Firegrate area 21 sq ft (1.951 m2)
Heating surface:
– Tubes
As built:
205 tubes 2 in (50.8 mm) diameter
1,184 sq ft (109.997 m2)
Superheated & Class 8CW:
115 tubes 2 in (50.8 mm) diameter
18 tubes 5.5 in (140 mm) diameter
950 sq ft (88.258 m2)
– Firebox 130 sq ft (12.077 m2)
– Total 1,314 sq ft (122.075 m2) as built
1,081 sq ft (100.428 m2) superheated & Class 8CW
Superheater type Not equipped as built
Superheater area 214 sq ft (19.881 m2) superheated & Class 8CW
Cylinders Two
Cylinder size As built: 18.5 in (470 mm) bore
Superheated: 19 in (483 mm) bore
Class 8CW: 20 in (508 mm) bore
All: 24 in (610 mm) stroke
Valve gear Stephenson
Performance figures
Tractive effort At 75% boiler pressure
23,100 lbf (102.8 kN) as built
24,370 lbf (108.4 kN) superheated
27,000 lbf (120.1 kN) Class 8CW [3]
Operator(s) Central South African Railways
South African Railways
Class CSAR Class 8-L3
SAR Class 8C, Class 8CW
Number in class 30
Number(s) CSAR 471-500
SAR 1162-1191 [4][5]
Delivered 1903
First run 1903
Withdrawn 1972 [6]

The South African Class 8C 4-8-0 of 1903 is a South African steam locomotive from the pre-Union era in the Transvaal.

In 1903, soon after the establishment of the Central South African Railways, a second batch of thirty Cape 8th Class 4-8-0 Mastodon steam locomotives were ordered and placed in service as the Class 8-L3, immediately following upon a previous order in that same year for a variation on the same locomotive type. In 1912, when they were assimilated into the South African Railways, they were renumbered and reclassified to Class 8C.[2][5][6]


Upon the establishment of the Central South African Railways (CSAR) in July 1902, soon after the end of the Second Freedom War, Chief Locomotive Superintendent P.A. Hyde became the custodian of a mixed bag of locomotives inherited from the Imperial Military Railways (IMR). These included locomotives that originated with the Selati Railway, the Nederlandsche Zuid-Afrikaansche Spoorweg-Maatschappij (NZASM), the Pretoria-Pietersburg Railway (PPR) and the Oranje-Vrijstaat Gouwerment Spoorwegen (OVGS).[7]

The comparatively small number of serviceable locomotives that were immediately available for service, compounded by the poor condition of many of the original NZASM, PPR, Selati and OVGS locomotives and an expected post-war increase in traffic, led to an order for altogether sixty new steam locomotives. They were to be built in two variations, to the specifications of the 8th Class 4-8-0 Mastodon type that was designed by H.M. Beatty, the Chief Locomotive Superintendent of the Cape Government Railways (CGR) from 1896 to 1910.[2][6]

Orders were placed with Neilson, Reid and Company in 1903, but while they were being built, Neilson, Reid amalgamated with Dübs and Company and Sharp, Stewart and Company to form the North British Locomotive Company (NBL). As a result, the thirty locomotives of the second batch, numbered in the range from 471 to 500, were all delivered as built by the North British Locomotive Company (NBL) at the Hyde Park shops of the former Neilson, Reid.[2][6]

They differed from the first batch of the same order only by not being equipped with Drummond water tubes in the fireboxes. To differentiate them from the Class 8-L1 and the Drummond tube-equipped Class 8-L2, these locomotives became the CSAR Class 8-L3. These were the last locomotives to be ordered by the CSAR that were built to the design of another railway.[2][6]

Class 8 sub-classes[edit]

The Union of South Africa was established on 31 May 1910, in terms of the South Africa Act. One of the clauses in the Act required that the three Colonial Government railways, the CGR, the Natal Government Railways and the CSAR, 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.[5][8]

In 1912 these thirty locomotives were renumbered in the range from 1162 to 1191 and reclassified to Class 8C on the SAR.[4][5][6]

These locomotives, together with the CSAR’s Class 8-L1 and 8-L2 4-8-0 Mastodon locomotives and all the CGR’s 8th Class 2-8-0 Consolidations and 4-8-0 Mastodons, were grouped into ten different sub-classes by the SAR. The 4-8-0 locomotives became SAR Classes 8 and 8A to 8F and the 2-8-0 locomotives became Classes 8X to 8Z.[3]


During A.G. Watson’s term as the Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the SAR from 1929 to 1936, many of the Class 8 to Class 8F locomotives were equipped with superheated boilers, larger bore cylinders and either inside or outside admission piston valves. The outside admission valve locomotives had their cylinder bore increased from 18.5 inches (470 millimetres) to 19 inches (483 millimetres) and retained their existing SAR classifications, while the inside admission valve locomotives had their cylinder bore increased to 20 inches (508 millimetres) and were reclassified by having a "W" suffix added to their existing SAR classifications.[3][6]

Of the Class 8C locomotives, seven were equipped with superheating, 19 inches (483 millimetres) bore cylinders and outside admission piston valves while retaining their Class 8C classification.[3]

Five locomotives were equipped with superheating, 20 inches (508 millimetres) bore cylinders and inside admission piston valves, and were reclassified to Class 8CW.[3]

The Class 8C and 8CW works numbers, renumbering and superheating modifications are shown in the table.[1][3][5]


In SAR service, the 4-8-0 Class 8 family of locomotives worked on every system in the country and in the 1920s became the mainstay of motive power on many branchlines. Their final days were spent in shunting service and by 1972 they were all withdrawn.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b North British Locomotive Company works list, compiled by Austrian locomotive historian Bernhard Schmeiser
  2. ^ a b c d e Holland, D.F. (1971). Steam Locomotives of the South African Railways, Volume 1: 1859-1910 (1st ed.). Newton Abbott, Devon: David & Charles. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-7153-5382-0. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f South African Railways and Harbours Locomotive Diagram Book, 2’0” & 3’6” Gauge Steam Locomotives, 15 August 1941, as amended
  4. ^ a b Holland, D.F. (1972). Steam Locomotives of the South African Railways, Volume 2: 1910-1955 (1st ed.). Newton Abbott, Devon: David & Charles. p. 139. ISBN 978-0-7153-5427-8. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Classification of S.A.R. Engines with Renumbering Lists, issued by the Chief Mechanical Engineer’s Office, Pretoria, January 1912, pp. 8, 12, 15, 41-42 (Reprinted in April 1987 by SATS Museum, R.3125-6/9/11-1000)
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Paxton, Leith; Bourne, David (1985). Locomotives of the South African Railways (1st ed.). Cape Town: Struik. pp. 48–49. ISBN 0869772112. 
  7. ^ Durrant, A E (1989). Twilight of South African Steam (1st ed.). Newton Abbott, London: David & Charles. p. 8. ISBN 0715386387. 
  8. ^ The South African Railways - Historical Survey. Editor George Hart, Publisher Bill Hart, Sponsored by Dorbyl Ltd., Published c. 1978, p. 25.