South African Class GMA 4-8-2+2-8-4

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
South African Class GMA & GMAM 4-8-2+2-8-4
Class GMAM 4079 (4-8-2+2-8-4).JPG
Class GMAM no. 4079 Lindie Lou, Capital Park, 30 September 2006
Type and origin
♠ Configured as Class GMA
Configured as Class GMAM
Power type Steam
Designer South African Railways
(L.C. Grubb)
Builder Henschel and Son
Beyer, Peacock and Company
North British Locomotive Company
Serial number Henschel 28680-28704, 29600-29629
BP 7550-7552, 7677-7681, 7750-7776, 7826-7855
NBL 27691-27702, 27769-27778, 27783-27792
Model Class GMA
Build date 1953-1958
Total produced 120
 • Whyte 4-8-2+2-8-4 (Double Mountain)
 • UIC 2'D1'+1'D2'h4t
Driver 3rd & 6th coupled axles
Gauge 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) Cape gauge
Leading dia. 30 in (762 mm)
Coupled dia. 54 in (1,372 mm)
Trailing dia. 30 in (762 mm)
Tender wheels 34 in (864 mm)
Minimum curve 275 ft (84 m)
Wheelbase 86 ft 4 in (26,314 mm)
 • Engine 30 ft 4 in (9,246 mm) each
 • Leading 6 ft 10 in (2,083 mm) each
 • Coupled 14 ft 5 in (4,394 mm) each
 • Tender 35 ft 9 in (10,897 mm)
 • Tender bogie 5 ft 9 in (1,753 mm)
Pivot centres 45 ft (13,716 mm)
Wheel spacing
1-2: 4 ft 10 in (1,473 mm) each
2-3: 4 ft 9 in (1,448 mm) each
3-4: 4 ft 10 in (1,473 mm) each
 • Over couplers 93 ft 10 in (28,600 mm) engine
43 ft 10 45 in (13,381 mm) tender
137 ft 8 45 in (41,981 mm) total
Height 13 ft (3,962 mm)
Frame type Cast
Axle load ♠ 15 LT 7 cwt (15,600 kg)
15 LT 14 cwt (15,950 kg)
 • Leading ♠ 20 LT 16 cwt (21,130 kg) front
20 LT 16 cwt (21,130 kg) rear
21 LT 16 cwt (22,150 kg) front
21 LT 9 cwt (21,790 kg) rear
 • 1st coupled ♠ 14 LT 14 cwt (14,940 kg)
14 LT 18 cwt (15,140 kg)
 • 2nd coupled ♠ 15 LT 5 cwt (15,490 kg)
15 LT 8 cwt (15,650 kg)
 • 3rd coupled ♠ 15 LT 2 cwt (15,340 kg)
15 LT 6 cwt (15,550 kg)
 • 4th coupled ♠ 14 LT 13 cwt (14,890 kg)
14 LT 17 cwt (15,090 kg)
 • 5th coupled ♠ 14 LT 16 cwt (15,040 kg)
15 LT 4 cwt (15,440 kg)
 • 6th coupled ♠ 15 LT 5 cwt (15,490 kg)
15 LT 12 cwt (15,850 kg)
 • 7th coupled ♠ 15 LT 7 cwt (15,600 kg)
15 LT 14 cwt (15,950 kg)
 • 8th coupled ♠ 14 LT 17 cwt (15,090 kg)
15 LT 4 cwt (15,440 kg)
 • Trailing ♠ 12 LT 14 cwt (12,900 kg) front
12 LT 17 cwt (13,060 kg) rear
12 LT 17 cwt (13,060 kg) front
13 LT 3 cwt (13,360 kg) rear
 • Tender bogie 25 LT 4 cwt 2 qtr (25,630 kg)
 • Tender axle 12 LT 12 cwt 1 qtr (12,810 kg)
Adhesive weight ♠ 119 LT 19 cwt (121,900 kg)
122 LT 3 cwt (124,100 kg)
Loco weight ♠ 187 LT 1 cwt (190,100 kg)
191 LT 8 cwt (194,500 kg)
Tender weight 50 LT 9 cwt 1 qtr (51,270 kg)
Total weight ♠ 237 LT 10 cwt 1 qtr (241,300 kg)
241 LT 17 cwt 1 qtr (245,700 kg)
Tender type X-17 (2-axle bogies)
X-20 (2-axle bogies)
X-17, X-20 permitted
Fuel type Coal
Fuel capacity ♠ 11 LT 12 cwt (11.8 t)
14 LT (14.2 t)
Water cap ♠ 1,650 imp gal (7,500 l)
2,100 imp gal (9,500 l)
Tender cap. 6,790 imp gal (30,900 l)
Firebox type Round-top
 • Firegrate area 63.2 sq ft (5.87 m2)
 • Pitch 8 ft 6 in (2,591 mm)
 • Diameter 6 ft 11 12 in (2,121 mm)
 • Tube plates 13 ft 6 12 in (4,128 mm)
 • Small tubes 282: 2 in (51 mm)
 • Large tubes 50: 5 12 in (140 mm)
Boiler pressure 200 psi (1,379 kPa)
Safety valve Ross-pop
Heating surface 3,211.2 sq ft (298.33 m2)
 • Tubes 2,974 sq ft (276.3 m2)
 • Arch tubes 25.2 sq ft (2.34 m2)
 • Firebox 212 sq ft (19.7 m2)
 • Heating area 747 sq ft (69.4 m2)
Cylinders Four
Cylinder size 20 12 in (521 mm) bore
26 in (660 mm) stroke
Valve gear Walschaerts
Valve type Piston
Couplers AAR knuckle
Performance figures
Tractive effort 60,700 lbf (270 kN) @ 75%
Operators South African Railways
Class Class GMA & GMAM
Number in class 120
Numbers 4051-4170
Delivered 1954-1958
First run 1954
Withdrawn 1988

The South African Railways Class GMA 4-8-2+2-8-4 of 1954 was an articulated steam locomotive.

Between 1954 and 1958, the South African Railways placed 120 Class GMA Garratt articulated steam locomotives with a 4-8-2+2-8-4 Double Mountain type wheel arrangement in service. All the locomotives could be configured as either a Class GMA branch line or a Class GMAM mainline engine. This was the most numerous Garratt class in the world.[1][2][3][4][5]


The light rail branch line Class GMA and mainline Class GMAM Garratt locomotive, a single Class which could be configured for either branch line or mainline working, was a development of the large Class GM branch line locomotive which was introduced on the South African Railways (SAR) in 1938. Like the Class GM, the Class GMA was a tank-and-tender Garratt which ran with a semi-permanently coupled auxiliary water tender to augment its meagre water capacity.[1][3][6]

L.C. Grubb

The locomotive was designed in 1952 under the supervision of L.C. Grubb, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the SAR from 1949 to 1954. An order for the first 25 of these locomotives was placed with Henschel and Son in Germany. They were built in 1953 and were delivered and placed in service in 1954, numbered in the range from 4051 to 4075. These first 25 locomotives were equipped with Type X-17 water tenders, built by the SAR in its Pietermaritzburg shops in 1953.[7][8][9][10]

A second batch of 35 locomotives was delivered by Beyer, Peacock and Company (BP) in 1956. Of these, 23 were built by BP and numbered in the range from 4076 to 4098, while the other twelve, numbered in the range from 4099 to 4110, had been subcontracted by BP to the North British Locomotive Company (NBL). These twelve engines therefore bore works plates showing BP as well as NBL as builders.[7][11][12][13]

BP & NBL works plate off no. 4140

This was followed by a third and final batch of sixty locomotives in 1958. Of these, thirty were delivered by BP, of which only ten, numbered in the range from 4121 to 4130, had actually been built by BP. The other twenty, numbered in the ranges from 4111 to 4120 and 4131 to 4140, had once again been subcontracted by BP to NBL. These twenty therefore also bore works plates showing BP as well as NBL as builders. The other thirty locomotives of the third batch, numbered in the range from 4141 to 4170, were again built by Henschel in Germany.[1][7][8][11][12][13]

The locomotives of the second and third batches were equipped with Type X-20 water tenders, built in the Pietermaritzburg shops between 1956 and 1958.[1][9][14]


The light rail branch line Class GMA and the mainline Class GMAM were the same locomotive of which the water and coal capacities could be adjusted to suit by installing or removing plates in the coal and water spaces. As a result, it is virtually impossible to list the GMA and GMAM versions separately since they could easily be converted back and forth between the two versions and often were. Up until about 1962, for example, the division was 20 Class GMA and 100 Class GMAM, but by 1969 there were 69 Class GMA and 39 Class GMAM, two locomotives having by then been scrapped after accident damage. By 1975, on the other hand, there were only 25 Class GMA against 93 Class GMAM.[1][3][4]

The locomotive was thoroughly modern in design, with a one-piece cast steel frame with Franklin spring-loaded wedge horns, manufactured by Commonwealth Steel Castings Corporation in the United States of America. Like the Class 25 locomotive, it had roller bearing axle boxes on all wheels, but not on the crank-pins, with cannon boxes on all axles, except those of the inner Bissel trucks which had outside bearings. It had mechanical lubrication throughout, self-adjusting pivots, a U-shaped foundation ring welded to the inner and outer firebox bottom edges, and an all-welded firebox. The engine units also had Commonwealth cast steel type frames.[1][3][4][5][15]

The boiler's inside diameter was 6 feet 11 12 inches (2,121 millimetres) at the first ring and 7 feet 1 14 inches (2,165 millimetres) at the firebox end. The boiler had an inspection manhole, fitted to the top of the boiler aft of the dome. The locomotive was superheated, with a mechanical stoker and Walschaerts valve gear. It could negotiate curves of 275 feet (84 metres) radius with a gauge widening of not more than 34 inch (19 millimetres) and a superelevation of 4 12 inches (114 millimetres).[1][3]

Some of these locomotives, intended for working in areas where there were tunnels such as on the East London mainline, were initially equipped with steam-operated smoke deflecting cowls over their chimneys. When the smoke cowls were later removed, these specific locomotives could still be identified by their almost non-existent chimneys which had to be shorter in order to enable the cowls to fit within the loading gauge.[1][5]

As was done with the predecessor Class GM, the new locomotive carried water only in its front tank, but with the capacity increased from the Class GM's 1,600 imperial gallons (7,270 litres) to either 1,650 imperial gallons (7,500 litres) for the Class GMA or 2,100 imperial gallons (9,550 litres) for the Class GMAM. Likewise, the rear bunker carried only coal, but with the capacity increased from the Class GM's 10 long tons (10,160 kilograms) to either 11 long tons 12 hundredweight (11,790 kilograms) for the Class GMA or 14 long tons (14,220 kilograms) for the Class GMAM.[1][4]

Type X-17 water tender
Type X-20 water tender no. 4128

As with the Class GM, the Class GMA's water supply was augmented by semi-permanently coupling a purpose-built auxiliary water tender. The first batch of 25 locomotives were tended by the same Type X-17 water tender which was used with the Class GM, with a capacity of between 6,750 and 6,815 imperial gallons (30,700 and 31,000 litres). The rest of the locomotives were tended by Type X-20 water tenders with a capacity of 6,790 imperial gallons (30,900 litres). The tenders were numbered for their engines and were painted black with red buffer beams.[1][5]

The locomotive was designed to operate on 60 pounds per yard (30 kilograms per metre) rail despite the maximum axle loading of 15 long tons 14 hundredweight (15,950 kilograms) of the Class GMAM. This had been accomplished by restricting the weight on the leading and trailing bogies to 22 long tons (22,350 kilograms) and balancing the coupled wheels so that the hammer blow was equal for all wheels and did not exceed one ton on any wheel at 45 miles per hour (72 kilometres per hour).[1]

Although the SAR specifications called for a 15 long tons 14 hundredweight (15,950 kilograms) maximum axle loading, the Class GMAM spent its entire career running on track that could take 18 long tons (18,290 kilograms) or more. Without the restriction of the coal bunker and onboard water tank capacity to 14 long tons (14,220 kilograms) and 2,100 imperial gallons (9,500 litres) respectively and the necessity to haul along a water tender, the class would have been much more useful and their service lives could possibly have been prolonged. Their shortcomings as traffic machines was possibly one of the root causes of the rapid mainline dieselisation of the SAR in the 1960s.[15]


South African Railways[edit]

The 120 locomotives of this class made it the most numerous Garratt class in the world. The Class GMA and Class GMAM saw service on main- and secondary lines in many parts of South Africa. Prior to electrification, a number were employed in Transvaal on the Komatipoort line across the pass between Waterval Onder and Waterval Boven. Along with the Class GM, the Class GMA served on the line from Krugersdorp via Zeerust to Mafeking.[1][3][4][5][16][17]

They also served temporarily on the coal line from Witbank to Germiston until the electrification between Witbank and Welgedag was completed. The second and third batches of locomotives were ordered from 1956 to assist with moving large volumes of traffic, mostly coal, from the Transvaal to destinations in the Free State and Cape Province. Until the Class DE-1, the SAR's first road diesels, took over this task late in 1958, they were employed on block coal workings from Witbank to Kroonstad, a distance of 208 miles (335 kilometres). Since the track en route was built for 21 long tons (21,340 kilograms) axle loads, such a large order for locomotives with a 15 long tons 14 hundredweight (15,950 kilograms) axle loading was unusual.[17][18]

In Natal, the bulk of the Class was based at Pietermaritzburg, from where they worked most trains on the two heavily graded branch lines to Greytown and Franklin. Others worked on the Natal North Coast line between Stanger and Empangeni, while some joined the Class GL on the coal line between Vryheid and Glencoe.[1][3][4][5]

Class GMAM 4079 (4-8-2+2-8-4) ID.JPG

The Cape Western system's locomotives were stationed at Worcester, from where they worked the old New Cape Central Railway (NCCR) line via Riversdale to Mosselbaai until it was dieselised. Between 1981 and 1984, a number were allocated to the Cape Northern system to work the line from Vryburg to Mafeking, where they largely replaced the Class 19D locomotives which had earlier dominated on this line. This turned out to be their last term in mainline service since they were replaced by Class 25NC locomotives in 1984 when the line was relaid with heavier rail.[4][5]

Most of the Class was then allocated to the Cape Midland System in 1984, with most of them initially stationed at Voorbaai where they replaced the Class GEA on trains from Mosselbaai to Riversdale and across the Montagu Pass to Oudtshoorn. Their allocation was later extended to the sheds at Sydenham in Port Elizabeth, Rosmead, Klipplaat and Graaff-Reinet, with the result that they worked most of the trains over the route from Port Elizabeth to Rosmead via Klipplaat and across the Lootsberg Pass from Graaff-Reinet.[4][5]

Towards the end of their service lives, the Eastern Transvaal system still had an allocation of them, where locomotives from the Waterval Boven and Breyten sheds worked the line down to Vryheid in Natal.[4][5]

They were the last class of Garratt to remain in service with the SAR. All but three were withdrawn from service by April 1988 and those three were also retired shortly afterwards.[3][4]

Zimbabwe and Mozambique[edit]

GMAM no. 4065 with raised coal bunker sides at Bulawayo Locoshed, 15 April 1980

During the period from August 1979 to September 1981, altogether 26 locomotives of the Class were hired to Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, but not all at the same time since they were rotated with Capital Park in Pretoria as their nominal home for the occasions when they had to return to South Africa for major repairs. On the Rhodesia Railways (RR), later the National Railways of Zimbabwe, they worked from Bulawayo to Gwelo and to Wankie and beyond to Victoria Falls.[4][5][19][20][21]

Six of these locomotives were loaned by RR to the Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique (CFM) for a short while to work the CFM Centro line from Beira to Umtali in Zimbabwe.[4][5][19][20]

In Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, these locomotives normally worked chimney first with the water tank at the rear. Since the Rhodesian bush war was still ongoing in 1979, the locomotives were equipped with armour plating around the cab. Since this obscured the number plates, the engine numbers were then usually stencilled on the cabsides. The Class GMAM was similar in size with a similar coal capacity to the Rhodesia Railways 20th class 4-8-2+2-8-4 Garratt, but it had a voracious appetite for coal and frequently ran low on fuel with the result that trains often had to be dumped. In an attempt to solve this problem, RR extended the height of the Class GMAM's coal bunker by a foot to increase the capacity.[19][20][21]

Industrial and private[edit]

REGM R12 Number plate, ex SAR no. 4136

Several locomotives of the class were sold into industrial service and some later ended in preservation in private ownership. The majority went to the Randfontein Estates Gold Mining Company (REGM), while two were sold to the Hotham Valley Railway in Western Australia where they were to haul tourists in ex SAR passenger coaches. These two locomotives, however, never left South Africa.[4][22]

  • No. 4059 became REGM's no. R16 Sarah.
  • No. 4060 became REGM's first no. R15 May, later scrapped.
  • No. 4073 became REGM's no. R17 Coria.
  • No. 4079 became REGM's second no. R15 May and was later restored as Lindie Lou by Sandstone Estates.
  • No. 4083 went to New Zealand for preservation, fitted with the front engine unit of no. 4126 and the rear of no. 4088.
  • No. 4084 became REGM's no. R10.
  • No. 4088 went to REGM's Cooke Plant.
  • No. 4090 was to go to the Hotham Valley Railway in Western Australia, but was still on the inventory of the Transnet Heritage Foundation (THF) by 2009 and staged at Bloemfontein Loco.
  • No. 4107 became REGM's first no. R14 Cherrie.
  • No. 4108 went to Tweefontein Colliery.
  • No. 4110 became REGM's no. R15.
  • No. 4112 went to Scotland for preservation at the Summerlee Heritage Park in Coatbridge.
  • No. 4114 became REGM's no. R6.
  • No. 4119 became REGM's second no. R14 Cherrie.
  • No. 4123 became REGM's no. R11 Vivienne.
  • No. 4125 was sold to Dunns, first hired to Durnacol and later to Tweefontein Colliery as their no. 2 Margret.
  • No. 4126 went to Tweefontein Colliery and was later restored by the Umgeni Steam Railway as no. 4074.
  • No. 4128 became REGM's no. R9 Kathy.
  • No. 4129 was to go to the Hothan Valley Railway in Western Australia, but was still on the inventory of the THF by 2009 and staged at Bloemfontein Loco.
  • No. 4130 became REGM's no. R8.
  • No. 4133 became REGM's no. R10.
  • No. 4135 became REGM's third no. R14 Cherrie and, by December 2015, remained stored at Hermanstad, Pretoria.
  • No. 4136 became REGM's no. R12 Barbara.
  • No. 4168 was sold to Dunns, first hired to Durnacol and later to Tweefontein Colliery as their no. 1.

Works numbers[edit]

The builders, works numbers and years built of these locomotives are listed in the table.[7][8][11][12][13]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Holland, D.F. (1972). Steam Locomotives of the South African Railways, Volume 2: 1910-1955 (1st ed.). Newton Abbott, Devon: David & Charles. pp. 110–113. ISBN 978-0-7153-5427-8. 
  2. ^ South African Railways and Harbours Locomotive Diagram Book, 2'0" & 3'6" Gauge Steam Locomotives, 15 August 1941, as amended
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Paxton, Leith; Bourne, David (1985). Locomotives of the South African Railways (1st ed.). Cape Town: Struik. pp. 95–96. ISBN 0869772112. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Durrant, A E (1989). Twilight of South African Steam (1st ed.). Newton Abbott, London: David & Charles. pp. 115–117. ISBN 0715386387. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Durrant, A.E. (1981). Garratt Locomotives of the World. David & Charles. pp. 131-135. ISBN 0-7153-7641-1.
  6. ^ Soul of A Railway, System 7, Western Transvaal, based in Johannesburg, Part 24: Krugersdorp-Zeerust-Mafeking (Home Signal), Part 1 by Les Pivnic. Caption 29. (Accessed on 5 May 2017)
  7. ^ a b c d Hamilton, Gavin N., The Garratt Locomotive - Garratt Locomotives from Other Builders, retrieved 10 November 2012 
  8. ^ a b c Henschel-Lieferliste (Henschel & Son works list), compiled by Dietmar Stresow
  9. ^ a b South African Railways (1985). Rolling Stock Diagrams. Reference CXG 6/4/2/3. Issued 1 April 1985. SAR Head Office, Johannesburg.
  10. ^ Transnet (1991). Transnet Index and Diagrams of Goods Vehicles, Part II, Tank Wagons. Reference S/RM(WV) 15/8/5/5. 30 July 1991. Anker Building, Verwoerdburgstad. p. X-17.
  11. ^ a b c Hamilton, Gavin N., The Garratt Locomotive - Garratt Locomotives produced by Beyer, Peacock, retrieved 10 November 2012 
  12. ^ a b c North British Locomotive Company works list, compiled by Austrian locomotive historian Bernhard Schmeiser
  13. ^ a b c North British Locomotive Co. (from J. Lambert)
  14. ^ Transnet (1991). Transnet Index and Diagrams of Goods Vehicles, Part II, Tank Wagons. Reference S/RM(WV) 15/8/5/5. 30 July 1991. Anker Building, Verwoerdburgstad. p. X-20.
  15. ^ a b Soul of A Railway, System 3, Part 15: Bethesda Road to Rosmead, Lootsberg Pass. Caption 19. (Accessed on 1 March 2017)
  16. ^ Soul of A Railway, System 7, Western Transvaal, based in Johannesburg, Part 6. Germiston, the Steam and Diesel Running Sheds by Les Pivnic. Caption 11. (Accessed on 7 April 2017)
  17. ^ a b Soul of A Railway, System 7, Western Transvaal, based in Johannesburg, Part 21: Witbank Line by Les Pivnic, Eugene Armer, Peter Stow and Peter Micenko. Captions 9, 10. (Accessed on 4 May 2017)
  18. ^ Soul of A Railway, System 7, Western Transvaal, based in Johannesburg, Part 18: Natalspruit to Vereeniging, Part 1 by Les Pivnic. Caption 32. (Accessed on 28 April 2017)
  19. ^ a b c Pattison, R.G. (2005). Thundering Smoke, (1st ed.). Ilminster, Somerset: Sable Publishing House. pp. 127-130. ISBN 0-9549488-1-5.
  20. ^ a b c Durrant, A.E. (1997). The Smoke that Thunders, (1st ed.). Harare: African Publishing Group. ISBN 1-77901-134-2.
  21. ^ a b Hamer, E.D. (2001). Locomotives Zimbabwe and Botswana, (1st ed.). Malmö: Frank Stenvalls Förlag. pp. 60-61. ISBN 91-7266-152-6.
  22. ^ 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. pp. 29–30. 

External links[edit]

External video
South African Steam - Garratts at Randfontein Estates Gold Mine 1994-1995. (30.16 minutes)