South African Class C2 4-6-4T

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NGR Class H 4-6-4T
South African Class C2 4-6-4T
NGR Class H 4-6-4T no. 39 (SAR C2 no. 86).jpg
NGR Class H 4-6-4T no. 39 arriving at Port Shepstone with the afternoon train from Durban, c. 1905
Type and origin
Power type Steam
Designer Kitson and Company
Builder Robert Stephenson and Company
Natal Government Railways
Serial number 2487
Model NGR Class H
Build date 1896
Total produced 1
 • Whyte 4-6-4T (Baltic)
Driver 2nd coupled axle
Gauge 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) Cape gauge
Leading dia. 25 34 in (654 mm)
Coupled dia. 39 in (991 mm)
Trailing dia. 25 34 in (654 mm)
Wheelbase 25 ft 7 14 in (7,804 mm)
 • Leading 5 ft (1,524 mm)
 • Coupled 7 ft 9 in (2,362 mm)
 • Trailing 5 ft (1,524 mm)
Wheel spacing
1-2: 3 ft 7 12 in (1,105 mm)
2-3: 4 ft 1 12 in (1,257 mm)
 • Over couplers 31 ft 5 14 in (9,582 mm)
Height 11 ft 7 12 in (3,543 mm)
Frame type Plate
Axle load 7 LT 18 cwt (8,027 kg)
 • Leading 5 LT 10 cwt (5,588 kg)
 • 1st coupled 7 LT (7,112 kg)
 • 2nd coupled 7 LT 18 cwt (8,027 kg)
 • 3rd coupled 7 LT 4 cwt (7,316 kg)
 • Trailing 5 LT 10 cwt (5,588 kg)
Adhesive weight 22 LT 2 cwt (22,450 kg)
Loco weight 33 LT 2 cwt (33,630 kg)
Fuel type Coal
Fuel capacity 2 LT (2.0 t)
Water cap 1,130 imp gal (5,140 l)
Firebox type Round-top
 • Firegrate area 11 sq ft (1.0 m2)
 • Pitch 5 ft 7 in (1,702 mm)
 • Diameter 3 ft 2 78 in (987 mm)
 • Tube plates 10 ft 3 12 in (3,137 mm)
 • Small tubes 130: 1 34 in (44 mm)
Boiler pressure 145 psi (1,000 kPa)
Safety valve Ramsbottom
Heating surface 669 sq ft (62.2 m2)
 • Tubes 611 sq ft (56.8 m2)
 • Firebox 58 sq ft (5.4 m2)
Cylinders Two
Cylinder size 14 in (356 mm) bore
21 in (533 mm) stroke
Valve gear Stephenson
Couplers Johnston link-and-pin
Performance figures
Tractive effort 11,480 lbf (51.1 kN) @ 75%
Operators Natal Government Railways
South African Railways
Class NGR Class H, SAR Class C2
Number in class 1
Numbers NGR 21, renumbered 39
SAR 86
Delivered 1896
First run 1896
Withdrawn 1931

The South African Railways Class C2 4-6-4T of 1896 was a steam locomotive from the pre-Union era in the Colony of Natal.

Between 1879 and 1885, the Natal Government Railways placed 37 4-6-0 tank steam locomotives in service, which were later designated Class G. In 1896, one of them was rebuilt to the first known 4-6-4T Baltic type locomotive, later designated Class H. In 1912, when this rebuilt engine was assimilated into the South African Railways, it was renumbered and became its only Class C2 locomotive.[1][2][3][4]


The Natal Government Railways (NGR) Class G 4-6-0 tank locomotives, sometimes known as the K&S Class after their builders, Kitson and Stephenson, were delivered between 1879 and 1884. They had plate frames and used Stephenson valve gear.[2][4]


On 1 July 1896, George William Reid succeeded William Milne as Locomotive Superintendent of the NGR. Later in that year, he rebuilt one of the Stephenson-built batch of locomotives of 1882, no. 21, to a 4-6-4T wheel arrangement. In the process, the frame had to be extended to accommodate the trailing bogie and the coal bunker could be enlarged.[2][3][4]

G.W. Reid

The locomotive was rebuilt for use in shuttle service on the South Coast line where, at the time, no turntable or triangle was available at the terminus. The modification was done to enable the locomotive to run equally well chimney or bunker forward.[2][3][4][5][6]

As rebuilt, the locomotive was still equipped with both Salter and Ramsbottom safety valves. Contemporary photographs show that the Salter safety valves were later removed.

This locomotive was the first known in the world to have a 4-6-4 Baltic type wheel arrangement. Photographs show the rebuilt locomotive bearing NGR no. 1. The NGR later renumbered it to no. 39, but it remained known as a K&S type in NGR service until a classification system was introduced at some stage between 1904 and 1908, when it was designated Class H.[2][4][5]

The rebuilding resulted in a heavier locomotive, with its weight increased from 29 long tons 2 hundredweight (29,567 kilograms) to 33 long tons 2 hundredweight (33,631 kilograms). It had an 8 feet 11 inches (2,718 millimetres) longer wheelbase and was 5 feet 4 12 inches (1,638 millimetres) longer over the couplers. A larger coal bunker increased its fuel carrying capacity from 1 long ton (1.0 tonne) to 2 long tons (2.0 tonnes), while larger water tanks increased its capacity from 700 to 1,130 imperial gallons (3,180 to 5,140 litres). The operating pressure of its boiler was reduced from 175 to 145 pounds per square inch (1,207 to 1,000 kilopascals).[2]

South African Railways[edit]

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.[1][7]

In 1912, this locomotive became the sole Class C2 engine on the South African Railways and was renumbered 86.[1][2][3][4]


The Class C2 remained in use on branch line work on the South Coast line and was later relegated to shunting work. It was withdrawn from service in 1931.[4]



  1. ^ a b c Classification of S.A.R. Engines with Renumbering Lists, issued by the Chief Mechanical Engineer's Office, Pretoria, January 1912, pp. 7, 11, 13, 20 (Reprinted in April 1987 by SATS Museum, R.3125-6/9/11-1000)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Holland, D.F. (1971). Steam Locomotives of the South African Railways, Volume 1: 1859-1910 (1st ed.). Newton Abbott, Devon: David & Charles. pp. 87–89. ISBN 978-0-7153-5382-0. 
  3. ^ a b c d Espitalier, T.J.; Day, W.A.J. (1944). The Locomotive in South Africa - A Brief History of Railway Development. Chapter III - Natal Government Railways. South African Railways and Harbours Magazine, May 1944. pp. 339-340.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Paxton, Leith; Bourne, David (1985). Locomotives of the South African Railways (1st ed.). Cape Town: Struik. pp. 10–11, 28–29. ISBN 0869772112. 
  5. ^ a b The Railway Report for year ending 31 Dec. 1908, Natal Government Railways, p. 39, par 14.
  6. ^ NGR appointment dates - W. Milne & G.W. Reid
  7. ^ The South African Railways - Historical Survey. Editor George Hart, Publisher Bill Hart, Sponsored by Dorbyl Ltd., Published c. 1978, p. 25.