|South African Class NG G16 2-6-2+2-6-2|
The South African Railways Class NG G16 2-6-2+2-6-2 was a narrow gauge steam locomotive.
Between 1937 and 1968, the South African Railways placed 34 Class NG G16 Garratt articulated 2-6-2+2-6-2 steam locomotives in service on the Avontuur Railway and on the Natal narrow gauge lines.
The success of the Class NG G13 narrow gauge Garratts that were introduced by the South African Railways (SAR) in 1927 led to a decision that any additional narrow gauge articulated locomotives would be of the same design. Altogether 34 more 2-6-2+2-6-2 Double Prairie type narrow gauge locomotives were built, spread over five orders from three manufacturers over a span of 32 years.
In 1937, Société Anonyme John Cockerill of Seraing in Belgium delivered four new 2-6-2+2-6-2 locomotives, numbered in the range from NG85 to NG88, which were so similar to the older locomotives that they were initially designated Class NG G13 as well. However, in view of the fact that all the carrying wheels were fitted with roller bearing axle boxes and arranged as swiveling pony trucks, compared to the Class NG G13 of which the inner carrying wheels were built to the Gölsdorf system which allowed the axle some lateral movement, it was soon decided to reclassify them to Class NG G16.
These pre-war locomotives, like the earlier Class NG G13 locomotives, were built with riveted coal and water bunkers and with elliptical tops on the water tanks.
The third order was for a further seven locomotives in 1951, numbered in the range from NG125 to NG131, once again from Beyer, Peacock. They still had elliptical tops on the water tanks and both tank and bunker were riveted as per the pre-war machines, however on the boiler the location of the safety valves, clack valves and main manifold (amongst other details) changed to what would become the standard for all remaining builds.
The fourth batch of seven locomotives, numbered in the range from NG137 to NG143, were the last steam locomotives to be built by Beyer, Peacock and were built to the specifications of the Tsumeb Copper Corporation in South West Africa (SWA). They were mechanically similar to the earlier and subsequent Class NG G16 locomotives, but with a revised coal and water carrying arrangement. These locomotives had an enlarged front water tank capacity, but carried no water in their rear bunkers which consequently had a larger coal capacity. They had flat-topped water tanks with rounded top side edges, and were the first NGG16s to have welded tanks. It was planned to use them as tank-and-tender Garratts, semi-permanently attached to a water tender for use across the Namib desert in SWA, as was the practice with the Cape gauge Classes GM, GMA and GO tank-and-tender Garratts in South Africa.
However, while the locomotives were being built, the decision was made to convert all the SWA narrow gauge lines to Cape gauge. In terms of a prior agreement between the SAR and the Tsumeb Copper Corporation, the SAR would purchase any narrow gauge locomotives that would become redundant should the re-gauging of the SWA system take place. The new locomotives were therefore delivered directly to the SAR in 1958.
On the Avontuur Railway, these locomotives were used as tank-and-tender Garratts, but when the Langkloof members of the class were transferred to Natal in 1964, the water tenders were dispensed with since watering points were much closer together in Natal as a consequence of the early use of tank engines on those narrow-gauge branches.
The final order for eight locomotives in 1967, numbered in the range from NG149 to NG156, turned out to be the last new steam locomotives to be ordered by the SAR. Beyer-Peacock had stopped building steam locomotives after the last batch of Class NG G16 in 1958 and by 1968 they were in the process of closing the business altogether. Since no other overseas manufacturers were available to supply them, they were built by Hunslet-Taylor in Germiston using boilers supplied by their overseas principals, the Hunslet Engine Company in England. Built in 1967 and 1968, these locomotives had the same enlarged capacity front water tanks as those of the Tsumeb group, but their rear bunkers were identical to those of the 1951 batch of locomotives and carried both coal and water.
Cabside number plates
After the Official Languages of the Union Act No 8 of 1925 was passed on 8 May 1925, bilingual English and Afrikaans cabside number plates began to appear on SAR locomotives, initially inscribed "SOUTH AFRICAN RAILWAYS" at the top and "SUID AFRIKANSE SPOORWEË" at the bottom. The Afrikaans spelling conventions were changed from time to time in the early years. On postage stamps, for example, it was "Zuid Afrika" from 1913, "Suidafrika" from the airmail stamps of 1925 and hyphenated "Suid-Afrika" from 1933. On cabside number plates, the spelling of the Afrikaans inscription was later altered with "AFRIKANSE" changed to "AFRIKAANSE" and with "SUID AFRIKAANSE SPOORWEË" unhyphenated, and stil later to "SUID-AFRIKAANSE SPOORWEË" hyphenated.
The Cockerill-built locomotives were delivered with bilingual cabside number plates inscribed "NG/G13" and with the older style Afrikaans "SUID AFRIKANSE SPOORWEË" at the bottom. When they were designated Class NG G16, the "NG/G13" was altered to "NG/G16" by milling out the 3 and riveting on a 6, as shown.
The seven Beyer, Peacock locomotives ordered by the Tsumeb Copper Corporation, numbers NG137 to NG143, were initially distributed between the Umzinto, Port Shepstone and Avontuur lines, but in 1964 the three that went to the Langkloof were also transferred to Natal.
When the lower section of the Avontuur line was dieselised upon the arrival of the Class 91-000 diesel-electric locomotives in 1973, all the Class NG G16 locomotives still in service were transferred to various branches in Natal, where they remained until they were withdrawn from service.
Class NG G16A
When the four Natal narrow gauge systems were closed down by the SAR, the Weenen and Mid-Illovo lines were lifted, but the Harding line was privatised as the Alfred County Railway (ACR), operating out of Port Shepstone.
As part of their strategy to keep the railway competitive, two of the ACR's Class NG G16 locomotives were rebuilt using technology similar to that used in the Cape gauge Class 26 Red Devil. The rebuilding incorporated a gas producing combustion system (GPCS), Lempor exhausts, an improved spark arrester, lightweight multi-ring articulated piston valves, improved valve events and improved mechanical lubrication. The two locomotives which received this treatment, no. NG141 in 1989 and no. NG155 in 1990, were reclassified to Class NG G16A.
In comparative testing, no. NG141 achieved a fuel saving of 25% compared to a standard Class NG G16 Garratt, a performance which was easily maintained in regular service. The cost of the work paid off financially within twelve months and led to a proposal to develop a Class NG G17, but that never materialised since the line's farming produce traffic was gradually lost to road transport on the improving road network.
Since withdrawal from SAR service, some locomotives were sold to foreign railways and into private hands and restored to operational condition, while others ended up in various degrees of preservation ranging across the spectrum from running order to staging to total abandonment. In 2017, at least four establishments still operated or were restoring ex-SAR Class NG G16 Garratts. Several however, have now been cut up for scrap (see table below).
Welsh Highland Railway
The Welsh Highland Railway in Wales has five Class NG G16 locomotives. One, no. NG140, is used as a source of spare parts while four locomotives, Cockerill-built no. NG87 and Beyer, Peacock-built numbers NG130, NG138 and NG143, are used for operational purposes.
The Sandstone Estates near Ficksburg in the Free State is home to a large number of Class NG G16 locomotives, either as the owners or as the custodian for locomotives belonging to individuals or other establishments. Three of their Class NG G16 locomotives are homed here, and are regularly run during the Estate's annual events like the Cosmos Festival, Cherry Festival, Stars of Sandstone and others. These are Cockerill-built no. NG88, Beyer, Peacock-built no. NG113 and Hunslet-Taylor-built no. NG153.
Puffing Billy Railway
The Puffing Billy Railway, located in the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne, Australia, purchased NG129 in August 1996 from ACR shareholder Peter Newton. From 2008 they have completely rebuilt it, including re-gauging it to 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) as additional capacity at a time of increasing passenger loadings. Completion of no. NG129's restoration was planned to coincide with the next time that no. G42 was to be withdrawn for major maintenance. The Puffing Billy Railway also purchased no. NG127 from Peter Newton in November 2011. This gave them a second almost-complete Class NG G16 which will possibly also be totally rebuilt in the future. After first being steamed in September 2019 129, in November 2019 it underwent light engine and load testing.
The last known fate of all the Class NG G16 locomotives, as of October 25th 2022, are shown in Table I.
South African Class NG G16 2-6-2+2-6-2 locations
|NG85||Cockerill||South Africa||Sandstone Estates||Unrestored, scrap condition.|
|NG86||Cockerill||South Africa||Sandstone Estates||Unrestored, scrap condition.|
|NG87||Cockerill||Wales||Welsh Highland Railway||Received a new 10 year boiler ticket, some mechanical work and a full repaint into SAR / SAS colors during the year 2019. Back in operation as of February 2020.|
|NG88||Cockerill||South Africa||Sandstone Estates||Operational.|
|NG109||Beyer, Peacock & Company||England||Peak Rail||Purchased by Waterman Heritage Railway Trust in scrap condition during 2009 from the Exmoor Steam Railway for future use on the Welsh Highland Railway. After failure to gain UK Government backing for his apprenticeship restoration program, the overhaul was stopped. All parts were moved to Dinas where they remained in open storage until August 2018. After failure to reach a sale agreement with the FR/WHR the locomotive, still in scrap component form was moved to Peak Rail in Derbyshire, England.|
|NG110||Beyer, Peacock & Company||South Africa||Sandstone Estates||Unrestored, scrap condition.|
|NG111||Beyer, Peacock & Company||South Africa||Gold Reef City, Johannesburg||On display in excellent cosmetic condition.|
|NG112||Beyer, Peacock & Company||South Africa||Century City, Cape Town||On display in good cosmetic condition, on loan from Sandstone Estates.|
|NG113||Beyer, Peacock & Company||South Africa||Sandstone Estates||Back in operation by April 2019 after a boiler retube.|
|NG114||Beyer, Peacock & Company||South Africa||Paddock, KwaZulu-Natal||Scrapped at Paddock, South Africa October 2017|
|NG115||Beyer, Peacock & Company||England||Exmoor Steam Railway||Stored in unrestored, scrap condition.|
|NG116||Beyer, Peacock & Company||South Africa||Paton's Country Railway, Ixopo, KwaZulu-Natal||Steamed once in April 2017 but as of October 2022 has not made any further progress to regular operation.|
|NG125||Beyer, Peacock & Company||South Africa||Paddock, KwaZulu-Natal||Scrapped at Paddock, South Africa October 2017|
|NG126||Beyer, Peacock & Company||South Africa||Paddock, KwaZulu-Natal||Scrapped at Paddock, South Africa September 2017|
|NG127||Beyer, Peacock & Company||Australia||Puffing Billy Railway||Sold to and overhauled for the Exmoor Steam Railway, England around 1996 by the ACR on behalf of Peter Newton but not delivered. Returned to service on the ACR until April 2006. Stored at Port Shepstone 2006 to 2011, then sold to the Puffing Billy Railway, Melbourne, Australia arriving in March 2012. Currently on display as delivered in unrestored condition in the Museum at Menzies Creek station.|
|NG128||Beyer, Peacock & Company||South Africa||Sandstone Estates||Unrestored, scrap condition.|
|NG129||Beyer, Peacock & Company||Australia||Puffing Billy Railway||Sold to the Puffing Billy Railway by ACR shareholder Peter Newton in 1996. Total rebuild carried out including a new all-welded steel boiler and conversion to 2'6" gauge. Commenced service on the Puffing Billy Railway in December 2019 before being withdrawn again for further work. Operational again from October 2021.|
|NG130||Beyer, Peacock & Company||Wales||For Welsh Highland Railway||Purchased from the Exmoor Steam Railway by Steam Powered Services (Peter Best) in scrap condition. Rebuilt at the Dinas works of the Welsh Highland Railway complete with a new boiler. Entered service from early 2021.|
|NG131||Beyer, Peacock & Company||South Africa||Apple Express, Port Elizabeth||Owned by Transnet Heritage Trust. Lease lend to the Apple Express Organization. Located in the former Humewood Road (Port Elizabeth) Narrow Gauge diesel depot in good external condition. Overhaul to operating condition stopped due to several factors.|
|NG137||Beyer, Peacock & Company||South Africa||Sandstone Estates||Unrestored, scrap condition.|
|NG138||Beyer, Peacock & Company||Wales||Welsh Highland Railway||Out of service waiting for a general overhaul and replacement boiler (September 2022)|
|NG139||Beyer, Peacock & Company||South Africa||Paddock, KwaZulu-Natal||Unrestored. Ownership transferred to Paddock Motors (Derick Classen) after a court case to resolve unpaid storage fees. Locomotive is for sale.|
|NG140||Beyer, Peacock & Company||Wales||Welsh Highland Railway||Disassembled 2005 for parts|
|NG141||Beyer, Peacock & Company||South Africa||Sandstone Estates||Rebuilt in 1989 to Class NGG16A, Privately owned by the Mortimer family, in very poor condition. In February 2020 it was announced that 141 would give up its 16A power units to make 155 whole with 141 being cosmetically restored at some point in time using available standard NG16 parts at Sandstone.|
|NG142||Beyer, Peacock & Company||South Africa||Paddock, KwaZulu-Natal||Scrapped at Paddock, South Africa September 2017|
|NG143||Beyer, Peacock & Company||Wales||Welsh Highland Railway||Re-entered service in October 2022 after overhaul and the fitting of a Hunslet built boiler shipped from Australia ex 129. The last Garratt built by Beyer, Peacock & Company.|
|NG149||Hunslet-Taylor||South Africa||Paddock, KwaZulu-Natal||Scrapped at Paddock, South Africa August 2017. Engine units sent with 156 to Ixopo.|
|NG150||Hunslet-Taylor||South Africa||Sandstone Estates||Unrestored, scrap condition.|
|NG151||Hunslet-Taylor||South Africa||Paddock, KwaZulu-Natal||Unrestored, scrap condition. Ownership transferred to Paddock Motors (Derick Classen) after a court case to resolve unpaid storage fees. Locomotive is for sale.|
|NG152||Hunslet-Taylor||South Africa||Sandstone Estates||Unrestored, scrap condition.|
|NG153||Hunslet-Taylor||South Africa||Sandstone Estates||Operational.|
|NG154||Hunslet-Taylor||South Africa||Humewood Station, Port Elizabeth||Scrapped by the THF at Humewood Road, Port Elizabeth, South Africa August 2011.|
|NG155||Hunslet-Taylor||South Africa||Sandstone Estates||Sold to Sandstone in 2002. Locomotive has the NGG16A boiler unit but carried the standard British built unmodified power units off 142. The South African built 16A power units were cut up at Paddock October 2017 On 31 January 2020, the Sandstone Estate announced that it would overhaul the remains of 155 to operating condition and later announced that the NG/G16A power units off 141 would be fitted after an agreement with the 141 owners the Mortimer family. Operational from November 2021.|
|NG156||Hunslet-Taylor||South Africa||Paton's Country Railway, Ixopo, KwaZulu-Natal||Scrap condition. The last steam locomotive built for the South African Railways. Moved from Paddock to Ixopo by December 2015 with the power units off 149. 156 power units were cut up at Paddock in October 2017. Some parts including the British built Hunslet boiler used to make 116 whole. Remaining large components re-assembled using 116 boiler for static display at Ixopo by January 2019. Only the boiler cradle and cab are today genuine 156.|
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- Paxton, Leith; Bourne, David (1985). Locomotives of the South African Railways (1st ed.). Cape Town: Struik. pp. 10–11, 107, 109–110. ISBN 0869772112.
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- 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. 32–33.
- Here & There Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin issue 711 January 1997 page 30
- Puffing Billy Railway Light Railways issue 224 April 2012 page 35
- Another articulated NGG16 Garratt steams Heritage Railway issue 260 25 October 2019 page 23
- Rebuilt Garratt undertakes its first Australian run Track & Signal issue 23/4 November 2019 page 86
- Welsh Highland Railway news Welsh Highland Railway
- Equipment & Trains Exmoor Steam Railway
- SATS / Transnet NG/G16 Garratt Fleet Disposal Locomotives International issue 126 August 2020 page 4-13
- Stars of Sandstone, Official Operating Programme for 12th - 21st April 2014 (stars 2014 - official operating programme-7.pdf)
Media related to South African Class NG G16 (2-6-2+2-6-2) at Wikimedia Commons