23 September 2009

Keetmanshoop (Namibia) SAR class 24 no's 3611 & 3612

October 2003: Photo courtesy of Jacque & John Wepener.

October 2003: Photo courtesy of Jacque & John Wepener.

Two SAR class 24 engines, no's 3611 & 3612, are spending their days stored in a railway shed at Keetmanshoop. From the South West African Working Table Book dated Nov. 26, 1956 (please see information at the bottom of this entry), it is clear that both these locomotives were working in SWA in 1956.

The Class 24 locomotives, built in 1948, were specially designed for the light tracks in South West Africa (now Namibia). In 1960/1, when the SWA system was dieselised, the Class 24 locomotives were all transferred back to South Africa and deployed on suitable branch lines.

SAR no's 3611 & 3612, however, were in later years handed over, as a gift, to the National Transport Corporation (in Namibia) [later renamed to Trans Namib Ltd].

These engines being:
SAR Class 24 no 3611 built by North British 26323/1948
SAR Class 24 no 3612 built by North British 26324/1948

On 5 August 1994, the Class 24 appeared as one of a special set of 4 stamps commemorating "TRAINS" in Namibia.

The Class 24 is also depicted on a 25 June 2010 stamp release by the South African Post Office. (SAPO). This image is published here by kind permission of SAPO.

My brother Louis Conradie, who lives in Windhoek, on my request, kindly took these pictures for me on 2 September 2009. His wife Therése had to patiently wait in the car, a gesture which I greatly appreciate!

These pictures report the locomotives' present condition.

It is assumed that one of these locomotives last headed the "Diamond Train", to Lüderitz, in July 1991. See the Afrikaans newspaper report at the bottom of this entry.

This map shows where the two engines are now (2010) stored in a shed. (Click on image to enlarge) On this google earth view the two engines are still positioned outside of the shed - one hidden underneath a large tree near the shed, but the white cab of the 2nd loco to the left is clearly visible from the sky. The October 2003 photos at the top of this blog entry show the engines as per this google earth view..

The locomotives may not always have been stored in the shed. In this Google Earth (2005?) view, a locomotive is visible to the west of the shed, on an uncovered track, ending at the dirt road along the fence. One of the locomotives also has evidence of having stood under a tree shedding leaves on it for many years.

Louis was on site readily granted permission to view the locomotives.

The staff on site said that some items belonging to these locomotives, like the road numbers plates, were stored at the Railway Museum in Windhoek. Apparently there had been a recommendation to the authorities that these two locomotives be scrapped. This has yet to be confirmed.

As is usual elsewhere, these locomotives have also been stripped of many essential parts.

The last boiler certificate expired in July 1992.

This locomotive must have spend quite some time under a tree for many years, and this caused a lot of rust damage, before the locomotive was moved into this shed.

Something big wrong here!

The Class 24 is a branch-line locomotive, designed by by Dr. M.M. Loubscher, former chief engineer of the SAR, introduced in 1948 for operation on track as light as 40 lb, much of which was laid in SWA. They were intended to displace the old Class 6, 7 and 8 locomotives still in service there.

The 100 locomotives of this class were constructed by the North British Locomotive Co. One of these, No 3675, was named 'Bartholomew Diaz' to commemorate the fact that she was the 2 000th locomotive built by the company (and its predecessors) for South Africa.

The locomotives have a one-piece steel main frame cast integrally with the cylinders - the first application of this technique on the SAR. They were fitted with the standard No 1 boiler (similar to those fitted, for example, to classes 5 and 10B) and Walschaert's valve gear. The tender is of the 'Vanderbilt' or 'barrel' type with cylindrical water tank and 'Buckeye' bogies.

Besides SWA, they were also placed in service on various selected branches in South Africa. With the dieselisation of SWA, this class was sent to join those already in service here, particularly in the Cape and Transvaal and a few in the Free State.

It appears they saw very little service in Natal.

By 1985 this class was being withdrawn.


Standard No. 1 boiler.

Builders and Year: North British Loco. Co. (1948)
Numbering: 3601 - 3700
Wheel Arrangement: 2-8-4 oOOOOoo
Driving Wheel Diameter: 4 ft. 3 in.
Cylinders: 2 x 19 in. x 26 in.
Valve Gear: Walschaert's
Boiler Pressure: 200 lbs per square in.
Grate Size: 36 square ft.
Tractive Force: 27,600 lbs
Length: 74 ft. 9¼ in.
Weight: 72 tons 1,800 lbs
Axle Load: 11 tons 900 lbs
Tender Weight: 56 tons 1,100 lbs
Coal Capacity: 9 tons
Water Capacity: 4,500 gallons
Tender Types: Vanderbilt tender

A somewhat artistic rendering by Louis!

The Diamond Train in 1991.

Click on image to read the newspaper article in Afrikaans.

From the South West Africa (SWA) Working Time Book (WTB)
dated Nov. 26, 1956:

Some years ago Stuart Grossert had the good fortune to be given a copy of the SWA WTB of November 26, 1956. Below are some details and numbers of locos listed in this book as working in SWA (presently named Namibia) at that time:

Class 7:

Saturated steam, 170 pound Boiler pressure:
7: 974, 977, 982, 983
7A: 999, 1023
7B: 1049 Total = 7

Saturated steam, 180 pound boiler pressure:
7: 954, 964, 968
7A: 990, 992, 995, 1015, 1016, 1017
7B: 1057
7C: 1065
7D: 1355 Total = 12

Superheated steam, 180 pound pressure:
7: 950, 970, 979, 980, 981, 984
7A: 988, 991, 993, 994, 997, 998, 1000, 1009, 1022, 1028
7B: 1032, 1041, 1042, 1043, 1051, 1053, 1056
7C: 1060, 1062
7D: 1354 Total = 26

Class 8, all engines superheated
8W: 1073
8: 1085
8A: 1121, 1122, 1123, 1129
8BW: 1135
8C: 1184, 1186
8CW: 1183
8D: 1213, 1214, 1217
8DW: 1198, 1208 Total = 1

Class 19D:
2633, 2640, 2647, 2652, 2655, 2656
2659, 2663, 2684, 2685, 2689, 2690
2710, 2715, 2736, 2753
3344, 3345, 3348, 3359, 3366, 3370
Total = 22

Class 24:
3601 - 3605, 3607 - 3623, 3625 - 3646, 3649 - 3651,
3654 - 3663, 3693 Total = 58

Class NG5: 40 - 42, 71 - 76 Total = 9
Class NG10: 63, 64 Total = 2
Class NG15: 17 - 19, 117 - 124, 132 - 136 Total = 16

NOTE: The SWA WTB information was originally posted by J. Stuart Grossert to the sar-L group in Yahoo.

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