13 February 2010

Pietermaritzburg - KZN Railway Museum (at Hilton) defunct in 2010; reviving in 2011?

Exciting development!!! Hilton Steam Train Museum Project- April 2011:

Just to keep you posted: We have had a resounding go ahead from the local community to save the trains at Hilton. A commitee has been formed and I guess we have long road ahead of us. Check out and follow our facebook site.
Grant Fryer

By Sept. 2011, both the NBL Tank loco 25901/1946, and the Sheldon & Cowan 36-ton steam crane No. 184, had acquired boiler certificates.


2011 year end: the Project had acquired a pretty logo.


Also on 17 December 2011, an Open Day was held to rev interest, and locomotive NBL 25901/1946 was steamed. Image kindly provided by Peter H Rigg.


What a lovely sight!!!! North British 4-8-4T Industrial Tank Locomotive, NBL 25901/1946, acquired new by East Rand Proprietary Mines Ltd as ERPM No. 6 at Boksburg. Standard NBL 4-8-4T (20" x 24") design. 17 December 2011 image kindly provided by Peter H Rigg.


NOTE: The information below is relative to the status in 2010
++++++++

The (Kwazulu-)Natal Railway Museum, located at Hilton, in Pietermaritzburg, was little known during all the years of its existence. Now, in 2010, this blog entry is likely to be in memory of another defunct railway museum.

In February 2010, I am not sure if it is still operating, and accessible to the public. As I live in Cape Town, it is not easy to verify the facts. In June 2009 , in "Keeping Tracks " - Edition 19, there were reports that there were plans to move some (if not all) of the items at Hilton to the Masons Hill site, which falls under the Umgeni Steam Railway.


The old Hilton Station - 8 June 2007 photo taken by Tim Makins.

A brief summary of the history of the Hilton Railway Museum may also be found in this Steam-in-Action newsletter "Keeping Tracks" - Edition 18.

In 2009 the museum had quite a collection of steam locomotives (7 engines) on display, and also various other rolling stock items:
  • Class H2 No. 314 which belongs to THF
  • Class H2 No. 329 which belongs to RSSA Trust
  • Class 1 No. 1276 belongs to RSSA Trust
  • Class 19AR No. 696 belongs to THF
  • Class 19B No. 1402 belongs to Umgeni Steam Railway
  • Class 15AR No. 1963 belongs to Umgeni Steam Railway
  • North British 4-8-4T Industrial Tank Locomotive, NBL 25901/1946, acquired new by East Rand Proprietary Mines Ltd as ERPM No. 6 at Boksburg. Standard NBL 4-8-4T (20" x 24") design.
  • Sheldon & Cowan 36-ton crane, No. 184
  • Assortment of wagons DZ's and shorts
I would appreciate feedback from anyone who can confirm that the museum is still operational - I would also like to receive images of the present scenes at the museum.


An interesting vehicle for inspecting the rails - 8 June 2007 photo taken by Tim Makins.

A number of pictures of the Natal Railway Museum at Hilton, taken on 4 January 2005 by John Young, were posted here in the Photo Galleries of SAR STEAM.

On June 8, 2007, Tim Makins (see "South African Rail") took some photos at the Natal Railway Museum, in the small town of Hilton, which is just a few kilometres away from Pietermaritzburg.

Tim noted at the time: "The museum was based at the old railway station at Hilton, which has not been connected to the main line since 1960, when the twin-bore Cedara tunnels were completed. They are a massive 6.023 km in length, and completely bypass the station in Hilton. The museum was founded in the same year that the tunnels were completed and is today an interesting collection of steam locomotives, running stock, and a small indoor display of memorabilia, run by the local garden-centre. There is also a fine display of model railways housed in an adjacent building. Work on the models is undertaken by a small but dedicated band of enthusiasts, who meet on Friday mornings. The outdoor exhibits are open for viewing at normal office hours - if you are in the area, please go along and give them your support. They would also welcome an influx of volunteers and funds, as there is still a lot of work to do to maintain the locos and bring them up to working condition. Unfortunately the area along the tracks is not adequately fenced, and so the locos have suffered from some vandalism, and these days need access to the footplates protected with razor-wire!!"

The photos below show some of the items displayed at the museum during the last decade.

SAR Class 1 No. 1276 which belongs to the RSSA Trust.


5 Feb 2006 photo by Neville Bailey - SAR Class 1 No 1276 on the right. Left most in the picture is a diesel shunter - 12T Funkey ex Aberdare Cables.


04-01-2005 photo by John Young on SARSTEAM


SAR Class 1 No 1276 - 8 June 2007 photo taken by Tim Makins

Designed by Hendrie, these engines were the first class of tender locomotives on the NGR. They were powerful and capable of running longer distances than the tank engines being used at the time.


9 Aug 2007 photo: unknown photographer.

Although not the first eight-coupled type, they were the prototype design from which later eight-coupled designs evolved, through Classes 3, 12, 14, and 15 and finally the 15F, 23 and 25 classes.


8 June 2007 photo taken by Tim Makins. The Class 1 was on the right, NBL 25901/1946 left.

The Class 1 locomotive (on the right above) was NGR 306 and SAR 1276. She was in service for just over 70 years. In her final years she was used for shunting at Glencoe, Vryheid and Empangeni.

4-8-4T Industrial Tank Locomotive, NBL 25901/1946
(ex ERPM No.6)

North British 4-8-4T Industrial Tank Locomotive, NBL 25901/1946, acquired new by East Rand Proprietary Mines Ltd as ERPM No. 6 at Boksburg. Standard NBL 4-8-4T (20" x 24") design.


NBL 25901/1946 when she arrived at Hilton. Photo: Miles Parkin

This standard design 4-8-4T (20"x24") industrial tank locomotive was built in 1946 in Glasgow by North British Locomotive Co. as works number 25901. Over 50 of these standard NBL 4-8-4T and 4-8-2T locomotives were delivered for service at South African mines.


NBL 25901/1946: 04-01-2005 photo by John Young on SARSTEAM


NBL 25901/1946 - ex ERPM No 6: 04-01-2005 photo by John Young on SARSTEAM

In 1991 John Middleton reported: At ERPM the steam locomotives were green ,with black and lining, with No 6 kept in immaculate condition. ERPM was an old RAND MINE gold mine at Boksburg dating back to 1894, and had an extensive 15 km railway system. By 1991 only one steam locomotive (No 6) was serviceable, but saw only occasional use due to much of the rail system being in a smokeless zone. [source: Industrial Locomotives of South Africa 1991]


NBL 25901/1946: 04-01-2005 photo by John Young on SARSTEAM


NBL 25901/1946: 8 June 2007 photo taken by Tim Makins


NBL 25901/1946: 14 Sept 2008 photo taken by Antron. By this date the locomotives had been rearranged and the NBL and the Class 1 were facing each other the same track.

Antron noted: "I love to go around and visit these old work horses of a bygone era. My dad worked for the railways (SAR) . I remember the long holiday trips down to Hartenbos every year with the train pulled by one of these steam breathing, fire eating machines. We had a close relationship with these machines. When a train stopped at the station I always had a chat with the driver and his fireman. Sometimes they even allowed me to get into the cabin and look at the furnace and all the shiny controls. These were proud people and they loved what they were doing. Today most of these magnificent machines landed up in scrap yards were they became food for the hungry blast furnaces. Fortunately there are still a couple of them kept at places like this to remind us of a golden era now gone for ever."

SAR Class H2 locomotives nos 314 (THF) & 329 (RSSA Trust).

The Museum had two class H2 locomotives. The following photos show both SAR engines nos 314 & 329. No 314 was formerly plinthed on the platform at Estcourt station.


Feb 1994: Parked near the Hilton station buildings, the brightly painted blue class H2 with large number 1, is SAR engine no 329. This 4-8-2T is ex Natal Government Railways. It was built in 1901 as works no 4047 by Dübs & Co, Glasgow, Scotland (later part of NBL). This photo provided in 2010 by kind courtesy of Ken Livermore, Hon. Secretary of the NBL Preservation Group.


04-01-2005 photo by John Young on SARSTEAM - Class H2 no 329.

4-8-2T
Originally these locos (when still SAR Class H) had 10 driving wheels; when later relegated to shunting work, these "Reid ten-wheelers" were prone to derailment in many goods yards. Accordingly, they were converted between 1910 and 1922, to a 4-8-2T configuration by simply removing the trailing coupled wheel, and closing off the frame opening, to become SAR class H2.


04-01-2005 photo by John Young on SARSTEAM - Class H2 329.

This class was used extensively for shunting in many parts of the country. The last ones to be in service remained on the Bluff (Durban harbour), until 1977, because of their light axle loading.


04-01-2005 photo by John Young on SARSTEAM - Class H2 no 329.


04-01-2005 photo by John Young on SARSTEAM - Class H2 no 329.

Some notes on the history of SAR Class H/H1/H2.
(as published by Paxton & Bourne in 1985)

The problems of designing a tank engine, to haul at least one-and-a-half times that of the 'Dubs A' (SAR Class A), on the Natal main line, led G.W. Reid, locomotive superintendent, to the 4-10-2T wheel arrangement. In order to negotiate sharp curves, both the front and rear driving wheels were flange-less. They used saturated steam, and the 'D' valves were controlled by the Allan link motion. Between 1899 and 1903, 101 engines were built for the NGR (Natal Government Railways) by Dubs and Co, and later the North British Locomotive Co.


04-01-2005 photo by John Young - presumably this is Class H2 no 314 (the engine which was formerly plinthed at Estcourt station).

Known on the NGR (Natal Government Railways) as the 'Reid ten-wheelers' they were employed extensively on the lower section of the Natal main line. Even after more powerful locomotives arrived, they continued to be used on this section, while some were sent to De Doorns, to do banking duties in the Hex River Pass. When acquired by the SAR, they became the Class H, until conversion to 4-8-2T (see Class H2 #330 as shown earlier in this entry).


8 June 2007 photo taken by Tim Makins - presumably Class H2 no 314.

During the South African War in 1902, the Imperial Military Railway ordered 35 locomotives of the NGR 'Reid ten-wheeler' type. To ensure rapid delivery, the order was split between Dubs and Co and Neilson, Reid and Co. Under the CSAR many of the Class Es, as they were known on this railway, were converted to tender engines, becoming SAR Class 13, while the six remaining were converted to 4-8-2T by the removal of the trailing driving wheel and blanking-off of the opening in the frame. In this form, the five engines (one was withdrawn in the interim) were inherited by the SAR to become Class H1. The last of this class was withdrawn from service in 1966.


20 May 2008 - posted by Pieter van Marion to flickr - presumably Class H2 no 314.

This poor engine obviously had been subjected to an extremely hard collision which left it with an ugly bent frame... can anyone remember the details?


20 May 2008 - posted by Pieter van Marion to flickr - presumably Class H2 no 314.

Some other locomotives:


presumably SAR Class 19B no 1402 - 04-01-2005 photo by John Young on SARSTEAM


presumably SAR Class 19B no 1402 - 8 June 2007 photo taken by Tim Makins


presumably SAR Class 19AR no 696 - 8 June 2007 photo taken by Tim Makins


presumably SAR Class 15AR no 1963 - 8 June 2007 photo taken by Tim Makins

Sheldon & Cowan 36-ton crane, No. 184




20 May 2008 - posted by Pieter van Marion to flickr


20 May 2008 - posted by Pieter van Marion to flickr


04-01-2005 photo by John Young on SARSTEAM


04-01-2005 photo by John Young on SARSTEAM

Do visit John Young's set of pictures on SARSTEAM documenting the status of the Natal Railway Museum in January 2005.

In 2005 Trevor Ellis (from Emsworth, England) and his wife Sue visited Hilton on a bright day. In Dec 2010 Trevor recalls their visit: I was on a visit to SA in 2005 and visited the Hilton museum one Saturday morning and took a few photos. They had one engine fired up and my wife and I were invited into the cab and had a short journey in it.

I can send the photos I took around the site of the rusting monsters. They are not inspiring pictures, but may add to the general picture of the museum at that time.

Many thanks to Trevor and Sue for the following photos which indeed nicely caught the atmosphere at the museum.


2005 - Hilton station


class H2 with large number 1, is SAR engine no 329. This 4-8-2T is ex Natal Government Railways. It was built in 1901 as works no 4047 by Dübs & Co, Glasgow, Scotland.






















Sheldon & Cowan 36-ton crane, SAR No. 184


Locomotive in steam on this Saturday. This possibly is NBL 25901/1946 - ex ERPM No 6.


Cab ride





View during the cab ride.








Trevor


Sue


Pickles, their mascot (he has 72000 air miles)

1 comment:

  1. During 1960 - 1964 I served my apprenticeship on the ERPM goldmine and had to spend eight months in the Locoshop as part of my training. They had 9 locos hauling rock between shafts and the reduction works in Boksburg and we had to service them every morning before they rolled out. It is good to see NBL 25901 ex ERPM No6 restored to all her glory and it brings back good memories.

    ReplyDelete