08 May 2009

Cape Town, Salt River Railway Workshops, SAR Class 8D No 1200

NOTE: This blog also has an entry about the Paarden Eiland steam running shed which may be read together with this Salt River Railway Workshops entry.

SAR Class 8D 4-8-0 "Cape 8th"

The Cape Government Railways (CGR) 8th class was conceived as a mixed-traffic locomotive equally suitable for goods or passenger work. They were designed by H.M. Beatty and had larger driving wheels than the 7th class. The 4-8-0 examples were actually based on a pair of 2-8-0 engines imported by the CGR in 1901 from the American Locomotive Co, which later became the SAR Class 8X. While they retained the bar frames of these engines, Beatty added a bogie to improve the ride. The first order from the CGR consisted of 23 locomotives delivered by Neilson, Reid and Co in 1902 and 1903 and were placed in service throughout the colony. They became SAR class 8.
The Cape Government Railways (CGR) second order of 8th class was delivered in 1903 by Neilson, Reid & Co, and the North British Locomotive Co. These 38 engines differed only slightly from the original order, and were classified Class 8D on the SAR.

This is what no 1200 looked like way back in October 1973 when she was photographed by Roger Griffiths in Paarden Eiland.

Currently we do not have a picture of this plinthed locomotive. If anyone can help with a picture of this engine, please contact me!

Google Earth March 2008 view -- click on picture to enlarge

From a March 2008 Google Earth view, I assume that the locomotive is still plinthed at the Salt River Railway workshops. To get permission to view the engine, would probably require first passing quite a bit of bureaucracy .

Pictures from the past:when engine no 1200 was still in steam

1968 at Mason's Hill depot, Pietermaritzburg
Photo: nmsi National Railway Collection

No 1200 was built in 1903. South African Railways class 8D locomotive number 1200 at Mason's Mill, South Africa, 1968. This engine was later plinthed at the Salt River Workshops.

9 June 1970 photo: courtesy Leith Paxton - No. 1200 taking a break at Paarden Eiland shed.

20 June 1970 photo: courtesy Leith Paxton - No. 1200 waiting for her next task at Paarden Eiland shed.

August 1974 photo: Courtesy Ted Polet (who took this picture while off-duty as an officer on a cargo ship visiting Cape Town harbour.) A much restored no 1200 is seen here on a truncated piece of track outside the Paarden Eiland steam running shed.

In Dec 2009 Ted wrote as follows: "On your blog I found a query for a photo of no. 1200. I have a very old one, dating back 35 years (August 1974). I photographed no. 1200 which was on a truncated piece of track outside the Paarden Eiland steam running shed, then full of GEAs, 14CRs and 19Cs. The GEAs and 14CRs were used on the Sir Lowry's Pass line, and the 19Cs on the line to Kalbaskraal and Saldanha (I think). These usually had the huge 'torpedo' tenders inherited from the last batch of 19Ds."

"If my memory is right, no. 1200 was on the South side of the western approach tracks to the shed. The repair works used to be further West from the steam shed. I'm not sure whether the building on the satellite view is the running shed or the works, but perhaps you know better as I haven't been back since the 1970s. I don't have any idea of the loco's current state. No. 1200 was in company with Class 7A no. 987 (now at Matjiesfontein Transport Museum - Piet) and Class 8 no. 1132 (apparently scrapped - Piet) but I'm not sure it was in the same place in the yard. I'm not certain whether the other two have survived. If you can use the photo, please do."

"The tale of my two visits to South Africa can be found on my website here. Click on the Africa archive in the index, then open Cape Town (2), to see photos of the preserved engines back in 1974. If you're interested there are a number of film clips on the S.A. pages, showing my 8mm film with dubbed sound, much of it recorded on site. Regards Ted Polet, Leiden, Netherlands."

A Class 8D sister engine

1970 photo: courtesy Leith Paxton - No. 1223 [NR 6300/1902 - ex CGR 788] (8DS External admission p/valves) - at Bloemfontein Loco Depot 22 March 1970.


  1. Piet, I can't find your email address. I have pictures of this engine (from 1985) and many others included in an album by Bernard Horn. I'm going to be listing the photos on eBay and wanted to ask you permission to use your site's informations on the trains that match mine (citing your blog), and to offer to send you any and all jpeg photos that I've got (72 photos, all SAR, mainly steam locomotives). Best, Neal centralcape@yahoo.com

  2. Let's all bring back our old steam train the steam trains children love to see it back permetly running I love to ride on the old steam train

  3. Old salt River where they use to build an repair trains must remain closed permanently .no more it had its days pls don't reopen it close it down we going to
    Wastedomonrnan we can

  4. The imployment at salt River. Works don't employ work There so end IT OVERV

  5. I feel that fix up salt River work shops ok only visit the site not work there put trains there as models an crains models then our grand children can see how trains was build in the old days there could be kids who leave 🏫 can take up the trade build trains railway got lots of opportunities to I'm procer Ur skills If u interested it's pity I left there so meny years ago I was very young at the time now retired at the end of of my working at the hospital now end of September this year

  6. You know this I find out when I work at one of the work ship the artersen told me in work shop 12he told me mark u know there so much the young person can take up A trade hear once u pass Ur we writting test u can make it Ur life time work this teach u to ipe no Ur mind an learn at building trains u can then repair Ur own car an spray paint train then u can lear to do Ur car sssv

  7. I use to work at S.A.R railway we we called those years as south African rail ways .the salt River work shops was that time very busy repair trains spray paint trains our trains at the time was very neat clean tidy now days it look very unsafe our colour of our train where red an gray now not nice it look eye site sore ni CD e

  8. So why must our trains look like our seats get that scolly cut out seat with knive spray paint our trains very bad it's better

  9. I love to see the build houses there now it no use reopen the place all our train go to bellviel to be repaired they lrepair trains there that place closed now leave it closed. To old so repair the place shoe our grand children how our trains us to get repaired an painted

  10. When I was just left school 1973 then 1974 I started to work at salt River work shop 12 that was so bad with noise that u cant take it every thing was so loud u have to shout to to.formam what u.wamt
    To. Say shopf 11 was always busy loug they make train wheels those train wheels are heavy big