This class 7 locomotive SAR #970 was photographed on 20 October 2007 in the business centre of Riversdale.
The locomotive is in a surprisingly good condition and well cared for compared to some others we have seen.
The class 7 locomotive dates from pre-SAR days, 38 of these were put into service during the years 1892-1893.
These were the main goods locomotives for the last 20 years of the Cape Government Railways, the design prepared in 1890 by H.M.Beatty.
All the locomotives in this series originally used saturated steam, had plate frames and Stephenson's link motion.
The first six were delivered by Dübs and Co in 1892. This was followed by an order for 32 from Neilson and Co, which were delivered in 1892 and 1893, and placed into service in the Cape Midlands and eastern sections and classified Class 7 by the SAR.
Source: Locomotives of the South African Railways (1985) Leith Paxton - David Bourne
This SAR Class 7 no 970 is plinthed in the business center of Riversdale.
It was built by Neilson & Co as works no 4450 in 1892.
This old steam locomotive is an example of a class 7 loco - members of this class used to be regular visitors to the Riversdale station.
The branch line from Worcester was opened up to Riversdale on February 19, 1904, and on July 25, 1907 the line was joined at Voorbaai (Hartenbos) with the George - Mossel Bay line (still under construction at the time).
Between 1899 and 1904 the NCCR acquired seven class 7 locomotives - their NCCR numbers running from 1 to 7. When taken over by the SAR these locomotives were re-numbered to class 7E no's 1344-1350.
During 1907 the NCCR started a daily train service between Worcester and Mossel Bay, using their fleet of class 7's.
The NCCR locomotives were well maintained, and under the SAR these locomotives kept working on the branch line - and would be a familiar sight in the Riversdale station - at least until 1931, when the line was upgraded to employ heavier locomotives in the form of the class 14CR, of which a fine example is plinthed next to Ashton's main street.
The class 7's were used on every system of the SAR - examples are plinthed at Matjiesfontein, George Outeniequa Museum, the Boer War Museum in Bloemfontein, and at stations at Klerksdorp, Prieska, Upington and Keetmanshoop.
At least 134 class 7 loco's were built between 1892 and 1913. When the South African troops invaded German South West Africa (SWA, now Namibia) in 1914 during WW I, 29 class 7's were dispatched to do duty in SWA - they were so successful that by 1948 53 members of this class were active in the territory.
The last members of the class 7's did service on the Ladismith & Tarkastad branch lines. During 1972 the last of these fine engines were retired.
Sadly not a single NCCR loco's survived the march of time - therefore another class 7 locomotive in the form of SAR no 970 had to stand in when a locomotive to remember Riversdale's former history was donated to the town.
This locomotive was built in 1892 as no 703 for the Cape Government Railways (CGR) and first put in to service on the CGR's eastern system at East London. After Union in the engine was renumbered to SAR no 970.
Specification details for Class 7 may be found here.
UPDATE 23 February 2011.
The locomotive is now begging for a complete repaint job. Also the cab's roof is a sorry sight! Big repairs are needed.
The last boiler certificate expired on 4th May 1971.
The following Afrikaans language article has been published here first.
Op Makadas se spoor
ARTIKEL: EMSIE MARTIN
07:00 (GMT+2), Thu, 28 June 2012 in the SOUTH CAPE FORUM.
Sover bekend is Makadas deur die Suid-Afrikaanse Spoorweë aan die munisipaliteit van Riversdal geskenk om as monument opgerig te word. Hy het wel tussen Touwsrivier en Ladismith geloop, maar wat die rede vir die besluit was is ongelukkig onbekend."
Mnr. J L Steyn, 'n masjinis van Riversdal, het die lokomotief daarheen gesleep en op Woensdag, 21 Januarie 1977 het dit veilig op Riversdal aangekom en is gedurende Junie 1977, 35 jaar gelede van die stasie na die plein verskuif. Dit het 'n wielsamestelling van 4-8-0 tipe en was nog in 'n puik toestand.
Daar word gereed gemaak van die lokomotief op die plein te vestig. (Foto: Julius Gordon Africana Sentrum)
Die lokomotief word per vragmotor vervoer. (Foto: Julius Gordon Africana Sentrum)
Die lokomotief is tot voor sy skenking op die Touwrivier-Ladismith sylyn gebruik waar dit die naam Makadas gehad het. Sy werksvervaldatum was 1971. Die koms van die naam het twee oorspronge een word vertel dat 'n haastige Engelse passasier vir die masjinis gegil het "Make a dash". Andere het te vertel dat 'n omgekrapte passasier van die lokomotief gesê het, "It is all muck and dust."
Vandag dink ons terug aan die dae toe dit 20 sjielings gekos het om met Makadas te ry. Hierdie ou strydos is steeds nie vergete nie.