We took the turn-off to VINK siding on the left of the road between Worcester, and just before Robertson, to have a look at the locomotive which recently made its appearance at the station. This locomotive is part of the Transnet Heritage Collection, and was held for years at the Dal Josaphat depot, where it was rusting away under a tree.
Rev Lionel Kuiper (79) - he appears here with 2828, owner of the property, has a long connection with this particular engine and had for a long time tried to have this machine moved to the VINK siding.
Eventually he did get permission to keep it in storage for the Heritage Collection on his property.
The old engine #2828 was brought on tow by a diesel locomotive from Worcester, and from the previous siding Lionel was delighted to ride in #2828's cab again.
Apparently the large connecting rods, at the front of the locomotive, were disconnected to facilitate the transfer by rail, from Dal Josafat via Worcester to Vink, but connecting them up again would certainly be a formidable task for anyone in the circumstances.
When Lionel was only 10 years old, he was allowed, as a birthday present, to take the loco #2828 out of the loco shed all by himself - supervised by the driver from the ground. Lionel could do this because he had watched the diver closely when riding on the foot-plate. This happened way back up north in Pretoria.
As part of it's duties, locomotive #2828 was one of those who hauled the Royal Train during the Royal visit in 1947.
Currently Lionel is planning to repaint the locomotive - a massive task. He has already started with the undercoating - red as can be seen in the pictures. Lionel plans to paint the loco in a dark blue colour - not the original livery, but that is with permission from Transnet Heritage.
After so many years both Lionel and #2828 retired at Vink syding for a well earned rest!
The "Gospel Express" appears to be ready to depart ....
but, laments Lionel sadly: "She will never run again!
SAR Class 15CA locomotive 2828 was built by North British Locomotive Co as works no 23791 in 1929.
NOTE: Locomotive #2828 is a South African Railways class 15CA engine. The 15C's were 10 inches higher than anything in service before, and were nicknamed "Big Bills" by the running staff. The first 15CA's were introduced in 1926 - the "A" indicates the original builders being Alco (American Locomotive Co) - a further batch were ordered from Alco and Baldwin in the USA, Breda of Italy and the North British Locomotive Co. A total of 83 engines were delivered between 1926 and 1930. They started service between Cape Town and Johannesburg, were later relegated to the Free State, and finally worked out of Pretoria to Pietersburg and Witbank. [Source: Locomotives of the South African Railways (Struik 1985) Leith Paxton & David Bourne]
30 October 2008
I had these fascinating comments from Richard Niven - last fireman to work 2828. I have illustrated Richard's comments with his own photo's as published on sa-transport.
"Great to see 2828 has been rescued and is being worked on. This old class 15CA means a lot to me as I fired on her many times out of Kimberley in the early 90s."
"I was also the last fireman to ever work on her on 12-05-1992. On that date 2828 with myself as fireman coupled up with class 25NC 3481 and worked a 2800ton freight train from Kimberley to De Aar."
"Both locos performed fantastically well that day and De Aar was reached in under 4hrs. Once in the loco shed area both fires were dropped and that was to be the last time that either of these locos steamed."
16-12-1997 Dal Josaphat Shed 2828 all forgotten. Unknown photographer.
2004 Photo: Dylan Knott
"Both were taken by electrics to Dal Josafat for preservation but were instead dumped. 3481 was later stripped and cut up for scrap while 2828 was left to rot under the trees for many years until rescued by Mr Caper."
"I have many photos and videos of this wonderful machine at work inc the last working as described above."
"In Aug 08 while touring SA I made sure I visited Robertson simply to visit my old friend 2828. "
"Thank you Rev Kuiper for saving this wonderful beast. Keep up the good work. "
WATCH THE 2828's last FIREMAN (only 26 at the time) IN ACTION !!! YOUTUBE VIDEO CLIP (90 sec duration): South African Railways 15CA 2828 on her last working day - 12-05-1992
[Richard Niven: Here is a short clip taken while we were working a 2400ton freight train from Kimberley to De Aar. Unfortunately this was to be the last and final working for both this class 15CA no 2828 and the 2nd loco class 25NC 3481. On arrival into De Aar both fires were dropped and both locos were sent forward to the railway museum near Cape Town where they were simply left to rot. 2828 was finally rescued by a private buyer in about 2007, and has since been plinthed, but the once famous 3481 was cut up, about 2007.]
26 December 2008
With our next visit about 15 months later we could approve of the progress Lionel had made with the big paint job. We were also surprised to note that the Big Bill had acquired a mate in the form of an old stationary steam engine!!!
23 December 2009
Another year has passed for no 2828,
and mr. Caper has made some more cosmetic changes to no 2828!
This time she proudly displayed her road number
And even has windows fitted to the cab.
Hats off to Rev. Kuiper !!!! Hip Hip Hooray !!!!
In both this HDR photo and the one below the "VINK" siding name board is visible in the distance.
On the left is the line between Worcester and Mossel Bay.
6 April 2015 (late afternoon)
Images kind courtesy of Shane Swartz
Shane commented about theses images: "My buddy Dylan Knot and his friends painted that on Saturday 4 April. I know they have plans to go back and do some more. I'm glad someone is at least doing something regarding these beautiful machines.