South African Class 1A 4-8-0

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This article is about one of several different Natal Government Railways locomotive types to be designated "Class B". For the others, see Natal Government Railways Class B locomotives.
NGR Class B 4-8-0 1910
South African Class 1A 4-8-0
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
(D.A. Hendrie)
Builder North British Locomotive Company
Serial number 19051-19071
Model NGR Hendrie B
Build date 1910
Total produced 21
Configuration 4-8-0 (Mastodon)
Driver 2nd coupled axle
Gauge 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) Cape gauge
Leading dia. 28 12 in (724 mm)
Coupled dia. 46 in (1,168 mm)
Tender wheels 30 in (762 mm)
Wheelbase 50 ft 3 14 in (15,323 mm)
 • Engine 22 ft 6 in (6,858 mm)
 • Leading 6 ft (1,829 mm)
 • Coupled 12 ft 9 in (3,886 mm)
 • Tender 16 ft 6 in (5,029 mm)
 • Tender bogie 4 ft 6 in (1,372 mm)
 • Over couplers 57 ft 10 in (17,628 mm)
Height 12 ft 7 14 in (3,842 mm)
Frame type Plate
Axle load 14 LT 11 cwt (14,780 kg)
 • Leading 13 LT 12 cwt (13,820 kg)
 • 1st coupled 14 LT 7 cwt (14,580 kg)
 • 2nd coupled 14 LT 11 cwt (14,780 kg)
 • 3rd coupled 13 LT 17 cwt (14,070 kg)
 • 4th coupled 14 LT 6 cwt (14,530 kg)
 • Tender bogie Bogie 1: 20 LT 1 cwt (20,370 kg)
Bogie 2: 20 LT 10 cwt (20,830 kg)
 • Tender axle 10 LT 5 cwt (10,410 kg)
Adhesive weight 57 LT 1 cwt (57,970 kg)
Loco weight 70 LT 13 cwt (71,780 kg)
Tender weight 40 LT 11 cwt (41,200 kg)
Total weight 111 LT 4 cwt (113,000 kg)
Tender type TJ (2-axle bogies)
TJ, TL, TM permitted
Fuel type Coal
Fuel capacity 6 LT (6.1 t)
Water cap 3,500 imp gal (15,900 l)
Firebox type Belpaire & combustion chamber
 • Firegrate area 34 sq ft (3.2 m2)
 • Pitch 7 ft 4 14 in (2,242 mm)
 • Diameter 5 ft 4 12 in (1,638 mm)
 • Tube plates 12 ft 1 in (3,683 mm)
 • Small tubes 325: 2 in (51 mm)
Boiler pressure 190 psi (1,310 kPa)
Safety valve Ramsbottom
Heating surface 2,188 sq ft (203.3 m2)
 • Tubes 2,056 sq ft (191.0 m2)
 • Firebox 132 sq ft (12.3 m2)
Cylinders Two
Cylinder size 20 12 in (521 mm) bore
24 in (610 mm) stroke
Valve gear Walschaerts
Valve type Murdoch's D slide
Piston on no. 33
Couplers Johnston link-and-pin
AAR knuckle (1930s)
Performance figures
Tractive effort 31,240 lbf (139.0 kN) @ 75%
Operators Natal Government Railways
South African Railways
Class NGR Class B
SAR Class 1A
Number in class 21
Numbers NGR 13-33
SAR 1289-1309
Delivered 1910
First run 1910
Withdrawn 1974
The leading coupled axle had flangeless wheels

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

In 1910, the Natal Government Railways placed 21 improved Class B 4-8-0 Mastodon type tender locomotives in service. In 1912, when these locomotives were assimilated into the South African Railways, they were renumbered and designated Class 1A.[1][2][3][4]


D.A. Hendrie

By 1909, more locomotives were required for goods operation on the lower sections of the Natal mainline and a further 21 locomotives of the Class B 4-8-0 Mastodon design were ordered by the Natal Government Railways (NGR). They were delivered and placed in service in 1910, built by the North British Locomotive Company with Type TJ tenders and numbered in the range from 13 to 33. These locomotives were also officially designated Class B and, since they incorporated various improvements on the locomotives of 1904, they became commonly known as the Class Improved Hendrie B.[2][4][5][6]


Like their predecessors, they had Belpaire fireboxes with combustion chambers and Walschaerts valve gear. While they were practically identical to the 1904 lcomotives in most respects, their boilers had been raised by 1 14 inches (32 millimetres), which raised the boiler pitch by 1 inch (25 millimetres) to 7 feet 4 14 inches (2,242 millimetres) and gave a better rake on the sides of the ash pan.[2]

With one exception, they used Murdoch's D slide valves like the 1904 locomotives. The last locomotive, no. 33, was an experimental locomotive equipped with piston valves.[1][2]

Hendrie's steam reverser[edit]

Hendrie's steam reverser

They were built with Hendrie’s steam reversers. The Hendrie steam reversing gear consisted of a 5 12 inches (140 millimetres) diameter steam cylinder and a 5 inches (127 millimetres) diameter oil cylinder, arranged in line on a bracket which was fixed to the main engine frame on the driver's side. The cylinders had a common piston rod which had a slot in the centre, between the cylinders. This slot accommodated a sliding crosshead which engaged with an arm fixed to the reversing shaft.[2]

By means of a small lever, the driver could admit steam to either end of the steam cylinder, which would open a cataract valve arranged on top of the oil cylinder to allow oil to flow from either end of the oil cylinder to the other. A pointer in the cab would indicate the exact position of the reversing gear and, when the desired position was reached, bringing the hand lever to the central position would close the cataract valve and fix the gear in the forward or reverse position.[2]

South African Railways[edit]

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

When the Union of South Africa was established on 31 May 1910, the three Colonial government railways (Cape Government Railways, NGR and Central South African Railways) were united under a single administration to control and administer the railways, ports and harbours of the Union. Although the South African Railways and Harbours came into existence in 1910, the actual classification and renumbering of all the rolling stock of the three constituent railways were only implemented with effect from 1 January 1912.[3][7]

In 1912, these locomotives were renumbered in the range from 1289 to 1309 and designated Class 1A on the South African Railways (SAR).[1][3][4]


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 Transvaal. None of them was reboilered with a Watson Standard boiler with a round-topped firebox.[4][8]

In their last years, 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 locomotive was retired by the SAR in November 1974.[8]

In industrial service, no. 1301 survived longer and was still in service as Apex Mines no. 3 at Greenside in 1984.[8]

Works numbers and renumbering[edit]

Their works numbers, numbering and SAR renumbering are listed in the table.[1][3][5][9]


The main picture shows a Class 1A locomotive with a modified Type TJ tender, while the following picture shows one with a Type TL tender which was rebuilt from a Type TJ tender c. 1930.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d 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. ^ a b c d e f Espitalier, T.J.; Day, W.A.J. (1944). The Locomotive in South Africa - A Brief History of Railway Development. Chapter III - Natal Government Railways (Continued). South African Railways and Harbours Magazine, July 1944. p. 505.
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ a b North British Locomotive Company works list, compiled by Austrian locomotive historian Bernhard Schmeiser
  6. ^ a b South African Railways and Harbours Locomotive Diagram Book, 2’0” & 3’6” Gauge Steam Locomotives, 15 August 1941, as amended
  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. 
  9. ^ 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.