28 May 2009

Pretoria, Station Platform 4, SAR Class B No 47 (NZASM No 236)

October 2003: Photo kindly provided by Jacque & John Wepener.

This October 2008 photo kind courtesy (c) Kevin Kwiat .

Photo courtesy Hennie Heymans

Photo courtesy Hennie Heymans

Photo courtesy Hennie Heymans

A SAR Class B No 47 NZASM No 236 (incorrectly restored as "No 242") locomotive is plinthed on platform 4 at Pretoria station.

The engine was built in 1897 by Nederlands fabriek for the NZASM. It was put into service in the same year, and was withdrew for service in 1913 and then started industrial service.

Tractive power was 16580 lb at 75% boiler pressure
Water capacity 1503 gallons
Coal capacity 4 tons

This SASSAR Magazine photo shows what the NZASM locomotive no 236, restored as "No 242", and the coach in tow, looked like around 1970.

Photo courtesy Hennie Heymans

The locomotive was donated, to the South African Railways, by Consolidated Main Reef Mines and Estate Ltd, on 17th November 1965. The coach, behind her, was the personal carriage of Mr G.A.A. Middelberg, who was director of the Nederlandsche Zuid-Afrikaansche Spoorwegmaatschappij (NZASM), from 1890 to 1899.

This October 2008 photo kind courtesy (c) Kevin Kwiat .

In 2009, the Pretoria station engine, which is a NZASM 46-Tonner locomotive, restored incorrectly, as "No 242" - the correct number is believed to be NZASM no 236, (SAR Class B No 47 [0-6-4T], is still there, under the cover of the main station roof, alongside platform 4. The locomotive has been declared a national monument.

This October 2008 photo kind courtesy (c) Kevin Kwiat .

According to Industrial Locomotives of SA - 1991 - by Middleton & Williams - The Pretoria station locomotive was restored as NZASM N0 242, after being in service at Cons. Main Reef Mines & Estate Co Ltd as No. 3. Originally the locomotive was SAR Class B No 47 (ex NZASM N0 236).

This October 2008 photo kind courtesy (c) Kevin Kwiat .

The locomotive was built by Ned. Fab. van Werktuigen & Spoormaterieel (Werkspoor), Utrecht, Holland, and is believed to be Werkspoor works no 1 built in 1899.

The last 0-6-4 type NZASM locomotive (Class "B" at Union), in use by the SAR, was scrapped during 1919, but previously, several had been sold to gold mining companies, where even after a life of 50 years, they still remained in service. The 46-Tonners constitute a historical link in the locomotive history of South Africa, and considering the times and difficulties, they gave good service.

However, the other national monument, the "Director's Coach" (railway carriage No 18 - it was the personal coach of Mr Middelberg, director of the NZASM company), that was parked there with this locomotive, was "un-plinthed", and restored to working order. This coach was then used in Transnet Heritage Foundation (THF) museum activities during the "Rand Tram" centenary celebrations in March 1990, and subsequently after the closing of Millsite Depot to steam operations, and museum developments at George, this coach is now said to be in the OTM museum complex at George.

This a photo of a SAR Class B locomotive (46-tonner NZASM No 185). #185 originally carried the name "BOERHAARE" while in NZASM service.

This historical picture shows the 46 Tonner NZASM engine N0 108. The number plate can be seen on the side tank. This locomotive operated with the name "PETERSEN".

The NZASM's locomotives were classed by their weight, e.g. 10 tonners and 19 tonners. The largest engines were a further development of the 40 tonners, with a four-wheeled bogie added at the rear. This was a more flexible arrangement. In April 1893 the first 20 of the new engines were ordered from Emil Kessler. Because of the increase in weight caused by the replacing the two trailing wheels of the 40 tonner by a four-wheeled bogie, these locomotives were known as 46 Tonners. they were destined to become the renowned standard mainline engine of the NZASM. Between 1893 and 1898 Emil Kessler supplied no fewer than 175, which were numbered 61-235. In May 1897 a further 40 were ordered from the Nederlandsche Fabriek van Werktuigen and Spoorwegmaterieel (Werkspoor) in Amsterdam. However delivery started just before the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War, and only two (no's 236 [= the one now on the platform at Pretoria station], and 237) actually entered service with the NZASM. The remainder were assembled at East London, and used by the Imperial Military Railways.

The 'President Steyn' was a '46 Tonner' locomotive built by Emil Kessler of Esslingen, Germany, in 1897 for the NZASM, (Engine No. 215, Works No. 2873). A special feature of the NZASM's 40 and 46 Tonners was that they bore names, besides the usual numbers. They 40 Tonners bore the names of Voortrekker leaders, presidents and Volksraad members, while the 46 Tonners were named after Volksraad members, countries, Cape governors during the Dutch period, Dutch royalty, mythological characters, Dutch naval heroes, explorers and artists, aspects of the economy, and, finally, the first Cape freeburghers. A large part of NZASM's rolling stock was damaged or lost in the South African war. The remainder was taken over by the Imperial Military Railways, and, from 1902, the Central South African Railways.

This photo, which is said to date from around 1951, shows this 46 Tonner with the number "Z.A.S.M. No 5". Obviously this is a restored engine - it does not carry the original number plate on the side tank. The engine in the photo is a 46 Tonner, as these were the only 0-6-4 engines used by NZASM. The number "5" is incorrect, as the 46 Tonners were delivered with the number series 61-235, followed by 236-275.

The 46 Tonner was the NZASM's most common locomotive. It was an 0-6-4 engine with side tanks, outside frames and Walschaert's valve gear. It was on the 46 Tonners that this type of valve gear was first introduced in South Africa on a large scale for steam railway engines. None of the NZASM locomotives had leading carrying wheels, and were found to provide a rough riding as a result. This was particularly noticeable on the 46 Tonners, and it became practice whenever possible to run them bunker first because of the steadying effect of the bogie. However, another problem was experienced when it was found that the bogie wheels fouled the firebox.The fitting of stops to the engine frames reduced these defects, but on the other hand the movement or play of the bogie wheels was restricted, and derailments resulted. To prevent these derailments it became practice not to exceed a speed of 45km/h.

Pretoria NZASM station loco roundhouse and turntable around 1895/6. [Click on image to enlarge] This rare photo, provided in Jan 2011, comes kind courtesy of Greg Schmidt, Ottawa, Canada. Greg's grandfather Martin William Julius Schmidt (born April 1875 in Pirpotow, Pomerania [now in Germany]) happens to be the man standing on top of the front side of the locomotive. The latter's US Naturalization documents (dated 7 Nov 1904) state he arrived in USA as an alien UNDER THE age of 21 yrs. This puts his time of arrival in US around 1895-96. The 46-tonner locomotive "BRUTUS" no 132 in the photo, was put into service by the NZASM towards the end of 1895 - from the preceding information we may conclude that the photo can be dated as either late 1895 or early 1896. However, it may have been winter time, as three of the men appear to be quite warmly dressed, all wearing undercoats - though this might have been the dress code at the time? Greg's 4 1/2 in by 6 1/4 in professionally made copy of the original photo was scanned to create the digital image shown here. The photo, taken by an unknown photographer, beautifully shows the mechanism, worked by a handle, to move the turntable. Except for Martin W J Schmidt, the other people in the photo are unknown. Anyone with information, please contact me. One may speculate: (a) The man holding the oilcan was the likely driver of the locomotive. He also wore a chain - probably connected to a watch - a tool a locomotive driver would put to good use. (b) Schmidt appears to be dressed as Brutus' fireman (stoker). (c) Hanging from the side of the loco is a youngish man with a round straw hat with a flat brim and cap ("boater" - very popular hat wear around the 1900 turn-of-the-century) - he has a rolled paper in the hand, and on his side hangs a (leather?) pouch - could he be the messenger boy running between the station master's office and various points in the railway yard, including the loco shed? (d) The man leaning on the turntable mechanism might have been in charge of the loco shed. (e) A fun element in the picture is the 3 pineapples posed on the loco's windowsill. Could it be that these were destined to be sliced up, put into a cleaned-up shovel, and held in the engine's hot firebox for a few moments to present an instant delicacy served with tea or coffee to the crew and photographer?

Pretoria - Railway Station - 1894-1897. This photo is kind courtesy of John Bradshaw, who sent it to me in December 2009. The photo was taken by John's grandfather William James Bradshaw, who worked in Pretoria as a photographer for the firm Plumbe & Bradshaw located in Koch Street in Pretoria. The locomotive in the photo is a 46-Tonner no "71", built in 1894 by Emil Kessler, which had the name "MEYER" (a surname of one of the Volksraad members), and was the 11th engine in the series of 175 46-Tonners delivered until 1898. John wrote: "My grandfather was back in the UK by 1897, which with your date of the first appearance of the loco puts a maximum 3-year window on the photo. My brother Jeremy has the original prints, but I don't think there are any more of the station. William James died in 1922, and all we have are some albums he made for my father and aunt - no negatives unfortunately."

This is a historical photo of the Johannesburg station, with a NZASM train, shortly after opening in 1892. The Emil Kessler locomotive in the picture is a 0-6-4T "46 Tonner" N0 200 named "Wetenschap". Source: Ted Polet's personal collection. Ted who lives in the Netherlands, wrote in Dec 2009: "The NZASM scene at Johannesburg comes from a print once sent to me by the S.A.Embassy, 30 years ago, when my late father had friends there. I think it may be an original SAR library print, but it's very long ago to check on that now!"

By mid-1980's only 5 NZASM 46 Tonners were still in existence:
  • N0 203 (named "Telegrafie"), which is a national monument, and is displayed on the main platform of Pretoria Station. (the No 203 is in conflict with the No 242 given elsewhere). 2009 status: still at Pretoria Station.
  • One at the James Hall Transport Museum (JHTM) in Johannesburg. This was CMRM & E (Consolidated Main Reef Mines & Estates) Ltd No 4. Formerly it was SAR Class B No 19. 2009 status = still at JHTM.
  • One at Dunn's Locomotive and Boiler Works, Witbank - but by 1995 this loco was scrapped.
  • No 61 (named "Roos") at Germiston sheds, she was still in commission and operation at the time. N0 61 was the number of the first 46 Tonner delivered to NZASM. It is not sure whether this engine's number was actually 61, as all NZASM locomotives were renumbered during the CSAR days, ensuing in much confusion as regards the locomotives' original numbering. 2009 status: This locomotive is currently on display in the Outeniqua Transport Museum at George.
  • No 197 (named "Kracht") at Waterval-Boven - It was a riddle as to what happened to this locomotive, as there were later reports of a no 230 at Waterval-Boven. The two locomotives are indeed the same specimen! Read the story of N0 197 turned into No 230 just below the JAN WINTERVOLGEL picture following.
  • In June 2002 the Oosterlijn Steam Company at Waterval-Boven had the last in-steam NZASM 46 Tonner in operation - No 230 - named "JAN WINTERVOGEL" after an early explorer at the Cape in Van Riebeeck’s time.

Unknown Photographer; source: defunct Oosterlijn web page.

How NZASM No 197 (named "KRACHT")
was turned into
No 230 (named "JAN WINTERVOGEL")

On December 10, 2009, W.J. (Foxy) Foxcroft wrote:

"I have just visited the website and I picked up something interesting in which I was involved.

In the late 80's I was promoted to Technical Manager of the then Northern Transvaal diesel electric locomotive maintenance organization and during my first visit I found the locomotive, you call "Kracht", plinthed at Waterval Boven locomotive depot.

I then decided to try to have this locomotive restored, and I went to see Mr Rolen von Gericke, at that time he was in charge of diesel and steam locomotive maintenance, and was also involved with the traction section of the museum, and obtained permission to restore "Kracht".

I arranged with Witbank depot to remove it from its plinth, and moved it to Witbank, where Louw Botha, Production Manager locomotive maintenance, took charge of the restoration. The boiler was done at Germiston, the side water tanks at Koedoespoort Diesel depot, and the mechanicals were done in Witbank. All the repaired components were returned to Witbank where Louw oversaw the final restoration.

We steam tested the locomotive from Witbank on the main line to Crocodile river and back and everything went well, the only problem encountered was the left rear bogie axle box running slightly hot because the weight distribution was not correctly set; this was never corrected.

I wanted to have the name "KRACHT" x 2 and the numbers 197 cast in brass, but I could not get money to do it, so we approached the museum, through Mr Von Gericke, and it was OK'd.

The late Alan Clarke payed Witbank a visit, and found the number 230 on the frame, so he insisted it was not "Kracht" but "Jan Wintervogel", but from all data I had available it was "Kracht". We needed that money, so we decided that "Jan Wintervogel" was better than no money or name!!

I was on pension already when they invited me down to Waterval Boven for the inaugural run down to Waterval Onder and also a cab ride. You can imagine how I felt. This locomotive was later used by the Oosterlijn express but I think it is rusting up again.

P.S. When we started removing the locomotive from its plinth, the whole town was up in arms, with threats of going to the Minister of Transport to stop me. A meeting was convened and the chairman, a Mr Geyser the school principle, demanded that I stop forthwith, but I convinced him it was the right thing to do, with the proviso that it be returned to Waterval Boven in steam, to which I agreed!

Just thought I would tell you.


  • NZASM 100 - the Buildings, Steam Engines and Structures of the Netherlands South African Railway Company - De Jong, Van der Waal & Heydenrych. 1988
  • Industrial Locomotives of SA - 1991 - Middleton & Williams
  • The Locomotives of the SAR - 1970 - Bernard Zurnamer
  • The Locomotive in South Africa - Nov 1944 - article by T.J. Espitalier.
  • Railways of SOUTHERN AFRICA Locomotive Guide - 2002 - John Middleton.

Unknown Photographer. This aerial Photo dates from many years back.

Herbert Baker built the Pretoria Station in 1908. Paul Kruger Street forms an axis between the station and Church Square, the axis continues visually behind the station to Salvo Kop.

Unknown Photographer

The entrance to the main hall is through a series of arches which open up into the domed main hall. The entrance arches jut out from the rest of the building and are finished in rough granite, quarried in the south of Pretoria. The ground floor consists of public spaces such as tickets sales, waiting area and refreshment stations. Some of the interior walls are faced with various marbles. Baker has included a number of roof lights allowing light to penetrate into the ground floor space.

Unknown Photographer

The two floors above the ground floor are used as official accommodation. These two floors are faced with smooth stone. In the centre of the north elevation is a deep leaved loggia, fronted with four pairs of ionic columns. The ends of the north elevation is emphasised with balconied windows on the first floor level. The ends jut out slightly from the rest of the facade, further emphasising them.

Unknown Photographer

Baker was experimenting in the design of the station with building methods and materials, which he was preparing to use in the Union Building. Baker’s undemonstrative central entrance and his use of indigenous materials can be seen in this design, as in the Union Building.


HARTDEGEN, P. 1988. Our Building Heritage: An Illustrated Guide. Halfway House: Ryll’s Publishing Company.

KEATH, M. Herbert Baker: Architecture and Idealism 1892-1913 The South African Years. Gibraltar: Ashanti Publishers.

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