17 May 2009

Johannesburg, Gold Reef City, part 5, Manning, Wardle & Co Ltd. 0-4-0T works # 1583 built 1902

Gold Reef City Theme Park is a recreation of turn of the century Johannesburg on the site of the former Crown Mines 14 shaft. The shaft is still operational for underground visits to 5 level (220 metres).

The 5th locomotive, plinthed at Gold Reef City, is a Manning, Wardle & Co Ltd. 0-4-0T engine works # 1583, built 1902, for use by the Cape Government Railways on the 2-feet narrow gauge line from Port Elizabeth to the west to Avontuur in the Langkloof. The earliest image of this locomotive at the Museum comes courtesy of Roger Griffiths, and was taken on 12 July 1981.

photo: Kevin Wilson-Smith 16 July 2008

photo: Kevin Wilson-Smith 16 July 2008

The type "C", a side-tank locomotive, weighs approximately 15 tons. The cylinders are 9 in. diameter by 14 in. stroke. The coupled wheels are 2 ft 2 in in diameter.

photo: Kevin Wilson-Smith 16 July 2008

The engine was designated NG41 by the Cape Government Railways (CGR) in 1902, but became NG20 at Union in 1910. This engine was specially designed to haul light load and it was claimed that the cost of working was half that of the class "A" and "B" types of engines. It was therefore possible to cater for traffic which with a larger engine would have been non-remunerative.

photo: Kevin Wilson-Smith 16 July 2008

Though no record appears to have survived regarding the painting scheme of the narrow gauge locomotives of the CGR, it seems to have been green. This is the only assumption, based on the words "the graceful little green engines" that appeared in an article written by someone who hid under the pen-name "Utopia" when he forwarded his article on the Avontuur to the editor of the CGR Magazine in 1907.

photo: Kevin Wilson-Smith 16 July 2008

The small Manning Wardle 0-4-0 tank ("Midget") and the Krauss 0-4-0 tank were normally used on shunting work at Humewood Road depot in Port Elizabeth, but were frequently sent out on the mainline during the weekends, each handling a single coach with excursionists bound for Greenbushes or Van Staden's Gorge. The fact that water tanks, drawing their supplies from wells, either by means of windmills or hand-operated pumps, had been erected every five miles or so, made these ventures possible.

2009 photo: unknown photographer

"Midget", as she is currently (2009) known, is plinthed at Gold Reef City. When she was restored in the 1980's, and put into service at the Crown Mine Museum, she was given the name "TAFFY". This gives a clue as to the meaning of the letters "AFF" in the above picture.

Manning, Wardle concentrated on specialised locomotives for contractor’s use, building up a range of locomotives suitable for all types of contracting work. Many Manning Wardle locomotives were exported to Europe, Africa, the Indian sub- continent, and Central and South America.

The company employed traditional construction throughout its existence, and failed to take advantage of the more efficient mass production techniques becoming available. As a result, Manning Wardle became more and more uncompetitive.The old Manning Wardle locomotive company, based in Leeds, England, closed down in 1927 after having produced over 2,000 steam locomotives for the UK and overseas markets.

This locomotive was supplied by Manning Wardle in 1902 for use on the Avontuur branch, and classified "Type C" by the Cape Government Railways (CGR). Besides a number 1583 she also bore the name "Midget" on a brass plate fixed to her tanks.

source: Sydney Moir's 1960 drawing as published in "24 Inches Apart".

The locomotive was not only supplied for shunting, but in keeping with the theory propagated for light railways, it was hoped that this engine, coupled with two coaches, would reduce running costs of the larger locomotives by 50 per cent.

source: Sydney Moir's 1960 drawing as published in "24 Inches Apart".

Remarkably she survived in running order until mid-1980's.

Initially she was sold to West Rand Consolidated Mines in 1921, where she was used for a variety of purposes, before being withdrawn and stored.

With the establishment of the Crown Mine Museum, she was restored and placed in service there as "Taffy". Eventually the Crown Mine Museum became part of Gold Reef City, and Midget was by then only used for special runs on the operating 2 feet gauge railway around the site perimeter - the normal runs were diesel operated.

By 1995 "Midget" had became part of the of static locomotive displays.

On to the Garden Railways (Models) to get better views of "Midget" !!!

NG 20 "Midget" This is a 7mm Scale Model of Manning-Wardle Works No 1583 of 1902 - she was ordered by the Agent General for the Cape of Good Hope -- the locomotive was destined for the Avontuur Branch. The engine was appropriately named "Midget". Note the jack mounted on the front in case of a derailment! [Photo sourced here]

The model above shows "Midget" as she now appears at Gold Reef City - the cab which is more enclosed that when the engine was delivered in 1902 - see black&white photo above.

photo: Dudley J. Hubbard

Dudley's fired 'Midget' class loco. Completely handbuilt by Cliff Taylor in 2005

photo: Dudley J. Hubbard

This little model is based on "Midget" as she appeared when brand new in 1902 - see the black&white picture above. Note the more open cab.

Regarding Midget, Dudley notes: "The prototype Manning Wardle left works 7th Nov 1902. Only two were made..."

photo: Dudley J. Hubbard

photo: Dudley J. Hubbard

  1. Locomotives of the SAR - Paxton & Bourne - 1985
  2. 24 Inches Apart - Sydney Moir - 1981
  3. Early Railways at the Cape - Jose Burman - 1984
  4. Industrial Locomotives of SA 1991 - John Middleton & Huw Williams
  5. The Locomotive in SA - Espitalier & Day - reprints from SAR Magazine 1943-48

Other Gold Reef City Locomotives:
part 1, SAR Class 19D No 3345
part 2, SAR Class NG/G16 No NG111 (Garratt)
part 3, WG Bagnall 0-4-2T works # 2870 built 1948
part 4, Hudswell, Clarke Co Ltd. 0-6-0T works # 1578 built 1926

Back to Main INDEX


  1. Hi There,
    Glad to see my model of Midget on your site, I have serveral other SAR models I can share with you, please let me know how.
    Bruce Green

  2. hi Bruce,
    You may email me here: