South African Class 16B 4-6-2

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South African Class 16B & 16CR 4-6-2
SAR Class 16B 805 Johannesburg 270378.jpg
No. 805 plinthed at Johannesburg station, 1978
Type and origin
♠ Class 16B as built with a Belpaire firebox
Class 16CR rebuilt with a Watson Standard boiler
Steel firebox - Copper firebox
Power type Steam
Designer South African Railways
(D.A. Hendrie)
Builder North British Locomotive Company
Serial number 21492-21501
Model Class 16B
Build date 1917-1918
Total produced 10
Configuration 4-6-2 (Pacific)
Driver 2nd coupled axle
Gauge 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) Cape gauge
Leading dia. 30 in (762 mm)
Coupled dia. ♠ 60 in (1,524 mm)
63 in (1,600 mm)
Trailing dia. 33 in (838 mm)
Tender wheels 34 in (864 mm)
Wheelbase 55 ft 11 34 in (17,062 mm)
 • Engine 29 ft 5 12 in (8,979 mm)
 • Leading 6 ft 2 in (1,880 mm)
 • Coupled 10 ft 9 in (3,277 mm)
 • Tender 16 ft 9 in (5,105 mm)
 • Tender bogie 4 ft 7 in (1,397 mm)
 • Over couplers 64 ft 4 18 in (19,612 mm)
Height ♠ 12 ft 10 in (3,912 mm)
12 ft 11 14 in (3,943 mm)
Frame type Plate
Axle load ♠ 18 LT (18,290 kg)
17 LT 14 cwt (17,980 kg)
 • Leading ♠ 16 LT 3 cwt (16,410 kg)
16 LT 12 cwt (16,870 kg)
 • 1st coupled ♠ 18 LT (18,290 kg)
17 LT 11 cwt (17,830 kg)
 • 2nd coupled ♠ 18 LT (18,290 kg)
17 LT 14 cwt (17,980 kg)
 • 3rd coupled ♠ 17 LT 18 cwt (18,190 kg)
17 LT 11 cwt (17,830 kg)
 • Trailing ♠ 13 LT 12 cwt (13,820 kg)
13 LT 7 cwt (13,560 kg)
 • Tender bogie Bogie 1: 27 LT 10 cwt (27,940 kg)
Bogie 2: 23 LT 11 cwt (23,930 kg)
 • Tender axle 13 LT 15 cwt (13,970 kg)
Adhesive weight ♠ 53 LT 18 cwt (54,760 kg)
52 LT 16 cwt (53,650 kg)
Loco weight ♠ 83 LT 13 cwt (84,990 kg)
82 LT 15 cwt (84,080 kg)
Tender weight 51 LT 1 cwt (51,870 kg)
Total weight ♠ 134 LT 14 cwt (136,900 kg)
133 LT 16 cwt (135,900 kg)
Tender type MP1 (2-axle bogies)
MP, MP1, MR, MS, MT, MT1, MT2, MX, MY, MY1 permitted
Fuel type Coal
Fuel capacity 10 LT (10.2 t)
Water cap 4,250 imp gal (19,300 l)
Firebox type Belpaire
 • Firegrate area 37 sq ft (3.4 m2)
 • Model Watson Standard no. 2B
 • Pitch ♠ 7 ft 9 in (2,362 mm)
8 ft (2,438 mm)
 • Diameter ♠ 5 ft 4 58 in (1,641 mm)
5 ft 7 12 in (1,714 mm)
 • Tube plates ♠ 18 ft 3 in (5,563 mm)
18 ft 4 in (5,588 mm)
18 ft 3 58 in (5,578 mm)
 • Small tubes 131: 2 14 in (57 mm)
87: 2 12 in (64 mm)
 • Large tubes 24: 5 12 in (140 mm)
30: 5 12 in (140 mm)
Boiler pressure ♠ 190 psi (1,310 kPa)
200 psi (1,379 kPa)
Safety valve Ramsbottom
Heating surface ♠ 2,186 sq ft (203.1 m2)
1,978 sq ft (183.8 m2)
 • Tubes ♠ 2,040 sq ft (190 m2)
1,836 sq ft (170.6 m2)
 • Firebox ♠ 146 sq ft (13.6 m2)
142 sq ft (13.2 m2)
 • Heating area ♠ 515 sq ft (47.8 m2)
472 sq ft (43.9 m2)
Cylinders Two
Cylinder size 22 in (559 mm) bore
26 in (660 mm) stroke
Valve gear Walschaerts
Valve type Piston
Couplers Johnston link-and-pin
AAR knuckle (1930s)
Performance figures
Tractive effort ♠ 29,890 lbf (133.0 kN) @ 75%
29,960 lbf (133.3 kN) @ 75%
Operators South African Railways
Class Class 16B & 16CR
Number in class 10
Numbers 802-811
Delivered 1917-1918
First run 1917
Withdrawn 1976
The 2nd coupled axle had flangeless wheels

The South African Railways Class 16B 4-6-2 of 1917 was a steam locomotive.

In November 1917, the South African Railways placed ten Class 16B steam locomotives with a 4-6-2 Pacific type wheel arrangement in passenger train service.[1][2]


The Class 16B 4-6-2 Pacific type locomotive was designed by D.A. Hendrie, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the South African Railways (SAR), and built in 1917 by the North British Locomotive Company (NBL) in Glasgow, Scotland. Ten locomotives were delivered and placed in service in November 1917, numbered in the range from 802 to 811.[2][3][4]


D.A. Hendrie

They were identical to the predecessor Class 16 and successor Class 16C in most respects, except that they had wider cabs than the Class 16, while the Class 16C was equipped with a combustion chamber in the firebox. Other minor alterations from the Class 16's characteristics were the injector and some cab and footplate arrangements.[2][3]

During 1936, the coupled wheels were enlarged from 60 to 63 inches (1,524 to 1,600 millimetres) diameter and the boiler pressure setting accordingly adjusted from 190 to 200 pounds per square inch (1,310 to 1,379 kilopascals), which raised their tractive effort slightly from 29,890 to 29,960 pounds-force (133.0 to 133.3 kilonewtons) at 75% of boiler pressure.[2][5][6]

Watson Standard boilers[edit]

During the 1930s, many serving locomotives were reboilered with a standard boiler type designed by A.G. Watson, CME of the SAR at the time, as part of his standardisation policy. Such Watson Standard reboilered locomotives were reclassified by adding an "R" suffix to their classification.[3][5][6]

Eventually all ten Class 16B locomotives as well as all thirty Class 16C locomotives were reboilered with Watson Standard no 2B boilers. In the process of reboilering, the main difference between the Class 16B and Class 16C, Hendrie's combustion chamber behind the Class 16C boiler, disappeared and the reboilered Class 16B locomotives were also reclassified to Class 16CR. Early conversions were equipped with copper and later conversions with steel fireboxes. In the process, they were also equipped with Watson cabs with their distinctive slanted fronts, compared to the conventional vertical fronts of their original cabs.[3]

Some ex Class 16B locomotives erroneously received new number plates after reboilering which identified them as Class 16BR, even though such an SAR Class never officially existed.[7]

Their original Belpaire boilers were fitted with Ramsbottom safety valves, while the Watson Standard boiler was fitted with Pop safety valves. An obvious visual difference between an original and a Watson Standard reboilered locomotive is usually a rectangular regulator cover, just to the rear of the chimney on the reboilered locomotive. In the case of the Class 16B and Class 16CR, two even more obvious differences are the Watson cab and the absence of the Belpaire firebox hump between the cab and boiler on the reboilered locomotives.[5][6]


Class 16B 805 (4-6-2) IDL.JPG

The Class 16B Pacifics were placed in express passenger service, working fast passenger services between Pretoria and Johannesburg and hauling all the important passenger trains of the time, such as the Natal mail train on the section between Johannesburg and Volksrust and the Cape mail train on the section between Johannesburg and Klerksdorp. When they were replaced by newer locomotives like the Class 16D, they were relegated to less glamorous passenger duties until, by the 1940s, they were in suburban and transfer service.[1][2][3]

During the 1950s, some were relocated to Durban to assist the Class 14R on the South Coast line. When this line was electrified in 1967, they were again relocated, this time to Port Elizabeth, where they worked suburban trains to Uitenhage. Others remained on the Witwatersrand, working the suburban to Springs and Nigel, double-heading with Class 15ARs on Pietersburg-bound trains out of Pretoria, as well as shunting and local pickup service. They were withdrawn from service between 1975 and 1976.[3]

Two of these locomotives have some claim to fame. In its original form as a class 16B, no. 809 was painted in royal blue livery and worked the 1934 Royal Train from Johannesburg to Klerksdorp.[8]

Ben Schoeman as fireman, standing below the number plate, c. 1935

Long-time South African Minister of Transport Ben Schoeman started his Railway career at Braam­fontein during the 1930s as a stoker on no. 805. When no. 805 was withdrawn from service, by then reboilered and reclassified to Class 16CR, this locomotive was actually de-reboilered to its original Class 16B condition. A dummy boiler which looked like the original boiler with its Belpaire firebox was fabricated and installed and it was refitted with an original wide Hendrie cab which was found dumped at the old Pretoria Mechanical Workshops.[1][7][9]

It was then plinthed outside the new Johannesburg station on 18 and 19 March 1974, with the work taking two days to complete. The Minister of Transport, the Hon. B.J. Schoeman, unveiled the commemorative plaque during a ceremony on 1 July 1974.[7][9]

In the early 1990s, the locomotive was removed from Johannesburg station to be exhibited in the Outeniqua Transport Museum at George.[7]



  1. ^ a b c Holland, D.F. (1972). Steam Locomotives of the South African Railways, Volume 2: 1910-1955 (1st ed.). Newton Abbott, Devon: David & Charles. p. 34. ISBN 978-0-7153-5427-8. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Espitalier, T.J.; Day, W.A.J. (1945). The Locomotive in South Africa - A Brief History of Railway Development. Chapter VII - South African Railways (Continued). South African Railways and Harbours Magazine, September 1945. pp. 673-674.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Paxton, Leith; Bourne, David (1985). Locomotives of the South African Railways (1st ed.). Cape Town: Struik. pp. 10–11, 65. ISBN 0869772112. 
  4. ^ North British Locomotive Company works list, compiled by Austrian locomotive historian Bernhard Schmeiser
  5. ^ a b c South African Railways & Harbours/Suid Afrikaanse Spoorweë en Hawens (15 Aug 1941). Locomotive Diagram Book/Lokomotiefdiagramboek, 3'6" Gauge/Spoorwydte. SAR/SAS Mechanical Department/Werktuigkundige Dept. Drawing Office/Tekenkantoor, Pretoria. p. 43.
  6. ^ a b c South African Railways & Harbours/Suid Afrikaanse Spoorweë en Hawens (15 Aug 1941). Locomotive Diagram Book/Lokomotiefdiagramboek, 2'0" & 3'6" Gauge/Spoorwydte, Steam Locomotives/Stoomlokomotiewe. SAR/SAS Mechanical Department/Werktuigkundige Dept. Drawing Office/Tekenkantoor, Pretoria. pp. 6a-7a, 41, 43.
  7. ^ a b c d Durrant, A E (1989). Twilight of South African Steam (1st ed.). Newton Abbott, London: David & Charles. p. 92-93. ISBN 0715386387. 
  8. ^ Soul of A Railway, System 6, Part 1: Durban Old Station. Caption 56. (Accessed on 8 March 2017)
  9. ^ a b SAR-L YahooGroup Message 35393 (Talk:South African Class 16B 4-6-2#Class 16B 805)