14 December 2014

MIZENS RAILWAY Dubs No 3819 (SAR A Class 4-8-2T No 196)

Woking celebrates Dubs tank repatriation

Published: 10:10AM Aug 5th, 2011, By: Robin Jones (this Heritage Railway article originates from here)

Around 50 Mizens Railway members and friends attended an informal ‘steam locomotive rededication ceremony’ at Barrs Lane, Knaphill in Woking on Saturday, July 23, 2011.

Dubs A 4-8-2T SAR no. 196 (ex NGR no. 133) unveiled at the Mizens Railway. Unknown Photographer.

The event was held to welcome the repatriation of 112-year-old Dubs ‘A’ 4-8-2T No. 196 that was built in Glasgow in 1899 and spent its working life in South Africa.

From Railtalk Magazine June 2011

Mizens chairman Mike Smith and Ken Livermore from the North British Locomotive Preservation Group addressed the visitors before unveiling new numberplates that had been specially cast and fitted to the locomotive for the occasion.

Mike said that he was delighted that the locomotive had returned to the UK after a four year joint fund raising initiative between the Mizens railway and the NBLPG and that its presence dominating the entrance would provide an excellent landmark for future visitors to the site.

The guests included many of the fundraising team who had raised £25,000 to save the engine and representatives from Gearbulk Shipping who provided a safe passage back from South Africa to Bristol.

The 7.25in gauge Mizens Railway is open every Sunday afternoon until the end of October.

Further information can be found at www.mizensrailway.co.uk

Photographer Unknown

The Dubs arrive at Mizens on 12 May 2011 - Photographer Unknown

Photographer Unknown

Photographer Unknown

Photographer Unknown

Photographer Unknown

NBLPG Dubs Tank No. 196 at Masons Mill shed in January 2009 (Photo by Andy Anderson) (sourced from NBLPG newsletter)

After cosmetic restoration at the Umgeni Steam Railway in South Africa, our Dubs ‘A’ Class 4-8-2 Tank No 196 was ready to return to the UK.  Just £15,000 was needed to cover final repainting and shipping costs to bring this historic, 109 years old, Glasgow built steam locomotive from Durban to a new home that is currently (in 2011) being prepared for her at the Mizens Railway near Woking.

On 10 Dec 2010 Charles Baker made this image of No 196 at Mason's Mill in Pietermaritzburg (South Africa). This image stems from here on Wikipedia.

Class A 196 (4-8-2T) ex NGR 133  photo Charles Baker 10 Dec 2010 Masons Mill  Pietermaritzburg.

100 of the ‘A’ Class Tanks were built at Dubs’ Glasgow Locomotive Works for the Natal Government Railways between 1888 and 1900 and they were the first engines in the World to
utilise the 4-8-2T wheel arrangement. Their great success paved the way for many larger and much more powerful locomotives using the ‘Mountain’ configuration.

Built in 1899 (according to new research by Reg Carter - previously it was thought the locomotive dates from 1900) by Dübs works no 3819 she started life as NGR No. 133; after 1910 she became No. 196 on the SAR and spent many years slogging it out on the 1 in 30 gradients through the mountains of Natal.

Over time many of the "A" Class tanks were fitted with Belpaire fireboxes by the NGR and the SAR - at the same time the open cab was also improved to give better protection for the engine crew. These "Improved Dübs A", of which SAR no 196 was a member, proved to be very successful in operation.

By 1962 the SAR had withdrawn the last of the Class A locomotives from service. 

No. 196 spent far longer in industrial service than she did working on the main line as a change in SAR locomotive policy saw her sold to Daggafontein Mines as early as 1933.
Pressed into industrial service, No 196 found new life as No 1 at the Springs Daggafontein Gold Mines near the town of Springs. 

Daggafontein Mines 4-8-2t No. 1, ex SAR A Class No. 196. 1967 (C) Allen A Jorgensen. This image sourced here. This was also published in the THE GREAT STEAM TREK (1978 - Lewis & Jorgensen)

By the end of the 60's the Daggafontein Mine ran out of gold ore. A move to Amcoal’s Springfield Colliery (some 85 km east of Johannesburg) took place in 1967 where she was also No 1 end was partnered by another Glasgow veteran, NBL ‘G’ Class 4-8-2 tank works no. 16069 of 1904. 

On 4 Oct 1980 photographer TrainsandTravel found No 1 dumped at Springfield Collieries. She was the very last engine built in the SAR Class "A".

When the Eskom power station at Grootvlei near the Springfield Colliery was closed the Dubs’ fire was dropped for the last time in 1980, having spent more than 47 of her 81 years in industrial ownership. The locomotive remained at the Springfield Colliery until around 1990, when it was moved to the Grootvlei power station site and stored there for another decade. Her work done, the Dübs locomotive was then donated by AMCOAL to NBLPG. Cosmetic restoration was done at Umgeni Steam Railway to prepare the locomotive for her sea trip to the UK.

In a May 2007 NBLPG Ken Livermore wrote:


I have received a confirmation e:mail from Andy Anderson, Commercial Manager of the Umgeni Steam Railway, that No. 196 is safely on site and stored undercover at Masons Mill Loco Shed. In return for the Umgeni’s assistance, we have agreed to make a token donation of £5 per week (R300 per month) towards the restoration of their own NBL (and Dubs) steam locomotives. All movement costs and the first 6 month’s donations have now been paid and we are putting some cash together towards preliminary restoration work and the casting of new numberplates etc.

We fully appreciate that the progress with this loco to date has only been made possible by our NBLPG membership so we would like all those who have who have kindly donated to the Dubs Tank Fund to take part in a vote to decide which livery the loco will initially carry. Mr. Reg Carter, the Librarian of the Stephenson Locomotive Society has kindly supplied a great deal of information about the early days of the Dubs Tanks on the Natal Government Railways and, coupled with what we already knew from later years, we have a choice of at least 4 authentic liveries that the loco has carried during her 107 years of existence !

Separate from this Newsletter, all ‘A’ Class Fund donors will receive a voting slip illustrating the various livery options we are considering and we would like this completed and returned by the end of May so a decision can be made in time for the next newsletter. I’m sure there will be much debate to follow and one of the main decisions will be whether to cast the new plates as South African Railways No. 196 or as Natal Government Railways No. 133. If you have not already contributed towards the Dubs Tank Fund and would like to vote, it’s not too late – please forward a donation and you will receive a voting slip by return of post ! 

Two of the most interesting facts turned up by Reg Carter include the original Dubs works builders date of 1899 (we have always thought that the engine was built in 1900) and comprehensive notes regarding the NGR dark green livery and lining details. Our loco emerged from Glasgow Works at the same time as Dubs were constructing large batches standard British 0-6-0’s for the Highland, Caledonian and Midland Railways – what an amazing design contrast it must have provided at the time !
Image: Edwin (Andy) Anderson (via fb)

Dübs builder's image - actual engine numbers delivered to the NGR ran from 49-148. Note the somewhat open cab!

NGR No 72 as used by the NGR (Pietermaritzburg Archives)

No 105 as used by the NGR (Pietermaritzburg Archives) had dark green livery at the turn of the last century. Note the round top firebox, open cab and stovepipe chimney.

This 1975 photograph by Allen Jorgensen shows an ex-SAR Dübs A in a typical industrial setting at Grootvlei Proprietary Gold Mines. Image sourced here.

1975: Ex-SAR Dübs A at Grootvlei Proprietary Gold Mines with train to collect gold reef ore. Image sourced here.

More information about the Class "A" locomotives on Wikipedia: South African Class A 4-8-2T

  • NBLPG newsletters
  • Industrial Locomotives of South Africa 1991 (John Middleton)
  • Locomotives of the South African Railways (Paxton & Bourne)
  • Railways of Southern Africa 2002 (John Middleton)

No comments:

Post a Comment