South African Class 24 2-8-4
No. 3655 City of Cape Town leaving Monument station, 8 August 2010
The South African Railways Class 24 2-8-4 of 1949 was a steam locomotive.
By the late 1940s, the South African Railways (SAR) still had a comparatively large mileage of 45 pounds per yard (22 kilograms per metre) track. In South West Africa, where most of the locomotive fleet consisted of Classes 6, 7, GC and GCA, there were still hundreds of miles of 4 1⁄4 pounds per yard (2.1 kilograms per metre) track. Considering the increasing age of these locomotives, the options were either to relay these tracks with 60 pounds per yard (30 kilograms per metre) rail or to obtain new light branchline locomotives, suitable for use on the existing track.
The Class 24 2-8-4 Berkshire type branchline steam locomotive was designed by Dr. M.M. Loubser, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the SAR from 1939 to 1949. The locomotives were built by North British Locomotive Company (NBL) of Glasgow, who delivered one hundred of them in 1949 and 1950, numbered in the range from 3601 to 3700. The cast engine main frames and the Buckeye bogies for the tenders were supplied by General Steel Castings of Eddystone, Pennsylvania.
One of these locomotives, no. 3675, was the 2,000th locomotive to be built by NBL for the SAR and, to commemorate this milestone, a ceremony was conducted in Cape Town to name the locomotive Bartolomeu Dias, after the famous Portuguese navigator who discovered the Cape of Good Hope in May 1488 and named it the Cape of Storms (Cabo das Tormentas). The ceremony was attended by the South African Minister of Transport and heads of departments of the SAR, as well as by the chairman and managing director of NBL.
The Class 24 had a one-piece cast-steel main frame, which was cast integrally with the cylinders, including the cylinder hind covers, smokebox support frame, stays and various brackets, all of which would normally be separate items, riveted or bolted onto the frames. Advantages of this arrangement are reduced maintenance and less time spent in shops. It was the first South African steam locomotive to be built using this technique.
They were built with Watson Standard no. 1 boilers, while their double hopper type ashpans were specially designed to clear the four-wheeled trailing bogies. Their specially designed Type MY tenders were similar in appearance to the Type MX and the North American Vanderbilt type tenders, with cylindrical water tanks. The tenders rode on three-axle Buckeye bogies to reduce the axle load and, along with the Type MX, became commonly known as Torpedo tenders.
The piston valves were actuated by Walschaerts valve gear and the standard SAR type steam reversing gear was arranged on the right-hand side. The engine and tender were both equipped with vacuum brakes and the engine's two 21 inches (533 millimetres) diameter vacuum cylinders were arranged outside the engine's frame and under the running boards, one on either side. The valve gear, brake gear and coupled wheel hubs were soft grease lubricated, while the bronze axle boxes had hard grease lubrication. The leading and trailing bogies were fitted with roller bearing axle boxes, while the tender's bogies used plain bearings.
The Class 24 was built to replace the old Classes 6, 7 and 8 locomotives in branchline service on light rail. When they were introduced, an elaborate programme was drawn up to show on which systems and on what sections they were to be employed.
- The Cape Western System, on the Saldanha-Kalbaskraal, Porterville-Hermon and Prince Alfred Hamlet-Wolseley sections.
- The Cape Midland System, on the Knysna-George, Alexandra-Barkly Bridge, Kirkwood-Addo and Somerset East-Cookhouse sections.
- The Orange Free State System, on the Dover-Vredefort, Wolwehoek-Arlington-Marquard, Theunissen-Winburg, Westleigh-Orkney and Vierfontein-Bultfontein sections.
- The Eastern Transvaal System, on the Soekmekaar-Komatipoort, Barberton-Kaapmuiden, Middelburg-Stoffberg, Brits-Beestekraal and Zebediela-Naboomspruit sections.
- The South West Africa System, on the De Aar-Karasburg and Keetmanshoop-Windhoek sections.
Most of them went to the South West Africa (SWA) System, where 55 of them would be in operation. From some time between 1955 and 1959, they were also employed on the Keetmanshoop-Walvisbaai section. They remained in that territory until 1961, when strengthening of the track and the complete dieselisation of the SWA System made them available to be employed elsewhere.
Other branchlines to be served by the Class 24 include Breyten to Lothair, Nylstroom to Vaalwater, Port Elizabeth to Alexandra and George to Knysna. As a relatively powerful locomotive, they were also useful as suburban locomotives, a role they served in on the Springs-Nigel commuter line until electrification. Heavy overhauls were done at Bloemfontein. The only province where they were unknown was Natal.
They were withdrawn from service and retired in the mid-1980s. By 2010, preserved Class 24 locomotives included no. 3668, which served on the Outeniqua Choo Tjoe tourist line between Knysna and Mosselbaai until the operation was ceased in 2010, and no. 3655 Jenny (formerly named City of Cape Town) which is still based at Monument station in Cape Town and is being operated by volunteers of the Friends of Atlantic Rail. In Gauteng, no. 3664 Jo-Anna is still being operated around Pretoria by the Friends of the Rail.
The main picture shows no. 3655, the City of Cape Town, leaving Monument station in Cape Town on 8 August 2010. This locomotive was rechristened Jenny in 2011, in honour of the late Jenny Pretorius, a much respected South African steam preservationist.
No. 3654 at Beaconsfield, Kimberley, 17 September 2009
- Holland, D.F. (1972). Steam Locomotives of the South African Railways, Volume 2: 1910-1955 (1st ed.). Newton Abbott, Devon: David & Charles. pp. 105–107. ISBN 978-0-7153-5427-8.
- Espitalier, T.J.; Day, W.A.J. (1947). The Locomotive in South Africa - A Brief History of Railway Development. Chapter VII - South African Railways (Continued). South African Railways and Harbours Magazine, May 1947. pp. 403-404.
- Paxton, Leith; Bourne, David (1985). Locomotives of the South African Railways (1st ed.). Cape Town: Struik. p. 76. ISBN 0869772112.
- North British Locomotive Company works list, compiled by Austrian locomotive historian Bernhard Schmeiser
- Pivnic, Les (1971). S.A.R. Class 24 2-8-4. South African Transport, March 1971. pp. 164-165.
- 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. pp. VIII, 46.
- 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. VIII, 6a-7a, 28A, 46.
- Durrant, A E (1989). Twilight of South African Steam (1st ed.). Newton Abbott, London: David & Charles. p. 106. ISBN 0715386387.
- "Steam Locomotives - Class 24, No 3664". Friends of the Rail. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- "Steam Locomotives - Class 24, No 3664 - FOTR Forum". Friends of the Rail. Retrieved 23 Nov 2011.
|South African Steam: Pretoria area - Rovos Rail, THF Museum and 3664 rollover (16 March 1997) The video features a few trains on the same day in the Pretoria area. First we see Friends of the Rail's Class 24 no. 3664 heading out on the Hercules-Magaliesburg branch on a charter train. Whilst out at Meerhof, word came through that Rovos Rail were triple-heading their Pretoria train behind Class 6 no. 439 and Class 19D nos. 2701 and 2702, so I rushed down to Irene to see that. Later in the afternoon, one of the last THF Museum-run Magaliesburg trains departed with Class 15F no. 3040. Following that, we headed to Magaliesburg to follow the Friends of the Rail train back to Pretoria. Sadly, no. 3664 had not made it to Magaliesburg, having derailed and rolled over at Hekpoort. The remaining scenes feature the recovery crew's efforts to set no. 3664 upright again. (Time 14:51)|
|South African Steam: Class 24 No. 3664 - The Phoenix Rises (16 March to 31 May 1997) After her derailment and rollover at Hekpoort on 16 March 1997, Class 24 no. 3664 was recovered and returned to her home depot at Capital Park. Repairs began in earnest immediately. The tender, cab sides, cab roof, valve gear, wheels, bearings, cowcatcher, cylinder cladding and much more required repair or renewal. In just two months, 3664 was repaired and performed a line trial on a revenue freight train, before returning to the rails on a public train on 31 May 1997. (Time 12:26)|
|South African Steam: 3664 Restoration in the news (1997) SABC News story, covering the fall and rise of Class 24 no. 3664. (Time 1:17)|
|South African Steam: Steam to Cullinan - 24 3664 (28 June 1997) Class 24 no. 3664 on a return trip to Cullinan (Time 9:53)|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to South African Class 24 (2-8-4).|