South West African Zwillinge
|South West African Zwillinge 0-6-0T
ex DSWA Zwillinge 0-6-0T
Krauss factory picture of Zwillinge no. 73 B & A, circa 1899
|Type and origin|
|Builder||Krauss & Company
Henschel and Son
|Build date||1899-1905 |
|Total produced||182 pairs  (See notes)|
|Gauge||600 mm (1 ft 11 5⁄8 in) narrow gauge|
|Driver diameter||580 mm (22.8 in)|
|Wheelbase||1.3 m (4 ft 3 in)|
|Length||3.51 m (11 ft 6 in) unit over frame
7.2 m (23 ft 7 in) pair over frames
8.2 m (26 ft 11 in) pair between couplers
|Width||1.6 m (5 ft 3 in)|
|Height||2.7 m (8 ft 10 in)|
|Locomotive weight||7,000 kg (6.9 long tons) empty
8,500 kg (8.4 long tons) w/o
|Fuel capacity||250 kg (550 lb)|
|Water capacity||830 l (180 imp gal)|
|Boiler pressure||220 psi (1,520 kPa)|
|Firegrate area||0.3 m2 (3.2 sq ft)|
|14.29 m2 (153.8 sq ft)|
|Cylinder size||180 mm (7.1 in) bore
240 mm (9.4 in) stroke
|Valve gear||Outside Stephenson|
|Maximum speed||20 km/h (12 mph)|
|Power output||60 hp (45 kW)|
|Tractive effort||12.2 kN (2,743 lbf) at 60% pressure|
South African Railways
|Number in class||50+ pairs|
|Nicknames||Zwillinge or Illinge|
|Preserved||Illinge No. 154A |
|1. Data are for single locomotives unless indicated otherwise.
2. The total production of 182 pairs includes those built for use in other parts of the world.
Between 1898 and 1905 more than fifty pairs of Zwillinge twin tank steam locomotives with a 0-6-0 wheel arrangement were acquired by the Swakopmund-Windhuk Staatsbahn (Swakopmund-Windhoek State Railway) in Deutsch-Südwest-Afrika (German South West Africa). By 1922 only two of these locomotives survived to be absorbed onto the roster of the South African Railways.
Narrow gauge railway
The first members of the German Feldbahn-Baukommando (field railway construction commando) arrived in Swakopmund in German South West Africa (DSWA, now Namibia) on 11 September 1897 to build a narrow gauge railway across the Namib Desert from Swakopmund to Windhoek. The Swakopmund-Windhuk Staatsbahn was officially opened to traffic nearly five years later, on 1 July 1902.
Zwillinge locomotives were a class of small 600 millimetres (23.6 inches) "Schmalspur" (narrow gauge) paired 0-6-0 tank steam locomotives that were built in Germany in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The first large consignment of Zwillinge locomotives arrived in Swakopmund between 1898 and 1899. Eventually, by 1905, more than fifty new or used pairs had been acquired by the Swakopmund-Windhuk Staatsbahn in DSWA.
They were built by six manufacturers, those being Krauss and Company, Henschel and Son, L. Schwartzkopff, Egestorf, MBA Breslau and Arnold Jung. These so-called "Feldbahn" locomotives, built for the military, were also used in other German colonies and several came to DSWA second hand.
As indicated by their name "Zwillinge" (twins), they were actually two separate locomotives that were designed to be semi-permanently coupled back-to-back at the cabs, allowing a single footplate crew to fire and control both locomotives. The pairs of locomotives shared a common manufacturer’s works number and engine number, with the units being designated as A and B.
The A locomotives had higher cabin roofs than the B locomotives so that the roofs could overlap while coupled, to provide better protection for the crew. They were designed so that they could also be used separately and each had a complete set of controls. When they were run in single mode they were commonly referred to as Illinge.
By the outbreak of World War I a total of one hundred and eighty-two Zwillinge pairs had been produced for employment in several German territories. Production of new Zwillinge was terminated after the adoption of the larger 0-8-0 Brigadelok as the new standard military locomotive in 1901.
Shortly after the first Zwillinge locomotives were placed in service, it was found that the tank locomotives’ fuel and water capacities were insufficient for the distances that had to be covered in the German colonies in Africa, especially in the harsh conditions presented by the Namib Desert that had to be crossed between Swakopmund and Windhoek.
To solve this, a four-axle water tender was developed that served the dual purpose of also providing seating for armed escorts. The bench atop the water tender as well as the water pipe between the locomotives and tender is visible in the picture alongside.
South African Railways
In 1922 the South African Railways (SAR) took control of all railway operations in South West Africa (SWA), but the SWA locomotives were never reclassified or renumbered and retained their former German identities until withdrawn from service. By then Illinge numbers 154A and 169B were the only survivors of the Zwillinge fleet to be taken onto the SAR roster.
Number 154A was employed in Windhoek as a non-revenue departmental locomotive and was finally withdrawn from service in 1939 after logging a total mileage of about 371,000 miles (597,067 kilometres).
The sole surviving Illinge locomotive, number 154A, is now plinthed under a shelter outside Windhoek Station. This particular locomotive was half of a pair built by Henschel in 1900, works number 5376. It only arrived in SWA second hand in 1904, being shown in the Henschel works lists as originally built new for the Deutsche Feldbahnen in 1900 as one half of seven locomotive pairs with engine numbers 148A&B to 154A&B and works numbers 5364 to 5377. It is not known where it was first placed in service.
It was originally plinted at the Railway College at Esselen Park in Kaalfontein, near Kempton Park in Transvaal, South Africa. During the late 1950s it was returned to SWA and plinthed in its present location in front of the station building in Windhoek.
A postage stamp depicting the Zwillinge was one of a set of four commemorative stamps that was issued on 2 August 1985 to commemorate the narrow gauge locomotives that pioneered railways in the territory. The stamp design was by the noted stamp designer and artist Koos van Ellinckhuijzen.
The particular locomotives depicted were the second DSWA pair, numbered 2A and 2B. The name of the station on the name board on the stamp, written in Fraktur script, is Otjimukoka. This station was renamed in 1903 to Johann Albrechtshöhe in honour of Duke John Albert of Mecklenburg, and again changed later to the shortened Albrechts. A head-on outline of an Illinge was used by the SWA postal authorities as a commemorative cancellation for Swakopmund on the date of issue. The stamp, the postmark and another painting of the Zwillinge appeared on the first day cover that marked the release of the four stamps.
- List of South African locomotive classes
- South African locomotive history
- Trench Railways: German Equipment
- The 0-6-0 wheel arrangement
- Paxton, Leith; Bourne, David (1985). Locomotives of the South African Railways (1st ed.). Cape Town: Struik. p. 117, 121. ISBN 0869772112.
- The Heeresfeldbahn pages: Zwilling
- Philatelic Bulletin 44, issued by Philatelic Services and INTERSAPA, 1985
- Windhoek, Namibia, Steam locomotive plinthed at station building
- Henschel 5376
- 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. 67.
- Henschel-Lieferliste (Henschel & Son works list), compiled by Dietmar Stresow
- De Jager, Okkie and Steenkamp, Riaan - The Art of J.J. (Koos) van Ellinckhuijzen
- The Art of Koos van Ellinckhuijzen: Historical Namibian Railways, on North-West University South Africa website