04 April 2009

SOMERSET WEST: Happy Days Pre-Primary School, Reservoir Road: AECI #3 Borsig 11796 1924 Fireless Locomotive

There are three Fireless locos plinthed in the Strand / Somerset West areas.

This page refers to AECI #3 0-4-0F Borsig built in 1924.

Blog pages also exist for AECI #1 0-4-0F Borsig 1909 and AECI #2 0-4-0F Borsig 1912.

All of these fireless steam locomotives were used by AECI Ltd (formerly African Explosives & Chemical Industries) at their former Firgrove explosives factory near Somerset West. The factory had exchange sidings at the end of a 3km SAR branch south east of Firgrove on the SAR Cape Town - Somerset West line. Explosives production ceased during 1989 and by 1991 the only traffic then was chemicals and fertilizers from AECI Ltd and Kynoch Fertilizer Ltd whose works were adjacent to AECI.

This type of locomotive was very desirable for service in plants where cleanliness and the elimination of fire hazards and noise were important. They were quite popular in applications where smoke and cinders could ruin the product, as in textile mills or agricultural processing plants. In those applications where this type of locomotive fits, it was a reliable and economical unit of motive power. Fireless steam locomotives could be found working in chemical industries, powder plants, paper mills, food plants and electric power plants, wherever a reliable source of steam was readily available.

More background to the operation of these locomotives can be found with the entry for AECI #1 0-4-0F Borsig 1909

All of these pictures were taken on 15 October 2008.

Number 3 is plinthed in the grounds of the pre-primary school "Happy Days". The school is located at the west end of Reservoir Road in Somerset West. Should you wish to see the locomotive it would be best to visit on a weekday at a time when the school is in session.

AECI #3 0-4-0F Borsig built in 1924, boiler number 42667, Works number 11796.
The locomotive was previously plinthed in a park in Drama Street but removed from there in 1982 to its present location.

Note the cylinders place in the hind position under the cab.

In 2002 all asbestos was removed from the loco and it was also completely refurbished.

Detail of the charging connection at the front of the locomotive

In the cab: The steam pipe splits to feed both driving cylinders

Note the steam exhaust pipe

detail of the driving cylinder below the cab

This plate appears to refer to the Borsig works number when the locomotive was re-boilered in 1932.

Fabrik-nr 14433; Baujahr 1932

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