21 December 2009

Aliwal North, Station Approach, SAR Class 7 No 982

Aliwal North Station Approach
SAR Class 7 no 982
Neilson 4472/1893

NOTE: This locomotive was first plinthed at Cambridge Station (East London) - images of her at Cambridge Station are here.

photo: Elna Conradie: The plinthed Class 7 no 982 with the old Aliwal North station buildings, made of sandstone, in the background.

We visited the old Station area of Aliwal North late on the afternoon of Friday, 28 August 2009. The buildings appeared to be used by private businesses, and the area had already been locked-up, so that we could only view the locomotive from some distance.

The locomotive is under a roof, and itself has been fenced-in in a kind of chicken coop, however, as usual, this had been long since broken into, and the usual things have been removed to be banked with scrap metal dealers.

A closer view shows the less often seen tender type behind the locomotive.

The Class 7 were the main goods locomotives for the last 20 years of the CGR, the design prepared in 1890 by H.M. Beatty.

The first 38 engines became SAR Class 7; the next batch of 26 engines were built by Sharp, Steward and Co., Neilson, Reid and Co and Dübs and Co between 1896 and 1901. They differed from the earlier order by having a larger boiler and an eight-wheeled tender.

The first Class 7 locomotives were commissioned by the Cape Government Railways and delivered by Dübs & Co of England in 1892. Follow-up batches were built by Sharp, Steward & Co, Neilson, Reid & Co, and North British Locomotive Company. They had a wheel arrangement of 4-8-0, coupled wheels of 3'6 3/4" (1086mm diameter and Stephenson link valve gear. The engines were originally powered by saturated steam, but many were later reboilered and converted to use superheated steam. Modifications such as larger boilers, increases in cylinder diameters and larger cabs resulted in the reclassification of the locomotives as Class 7A, 7B, 7C, 7D, 7E and 7F.

This engine was built in 1893 by Neilson & Co of Glasgow, Scotland, as their works no 4472.

The SAR Class 7 engine number series were 950-987.

The Class 7 in general was withdrawn in 1972.

All the locomotives in this series originally used saturated steam, had plate frames and Stephenson link motion.

Specifications for the SAR Class 7 are here.

Also look-up the entry for Keetmanshoop where Class sister engine SAR Class 7A no 1011 is plinthed.

Note razor-edged wire fence on the left.


exCGR Cape 7th Class.

Builders and Year: Dubs and Co. (1892)
Numbering: 950 - 987
Wheel Arrangement: 4-8-0 ooOOOO
Driving Wheel Diameter: 3 ft. 6¾ in.
Cylinders: 2 x 17 in. x 23 in.
Valve Gear: Stephenson's Link Motion
Boiler Pressure: 160 lbs per square in.
Grate Size: 17.5 square ft.
Tractive Force: 18,660 lbs
Length: 50 ft. 1 in.
Weight: 45 tons 1,000 lbs
Axle Load: 9 tons
Tender Weight: 29 tons
Coal Capacity: 5 tons
Water Capacity: 2,220 gallons
Tender Types: ZA, ZB, ZC & ZE

All these photos were taken on 28 August 2009.

Dusty Durrant, author of at least 11 books, emigrated in 1967 to South Africa, to live and work near working steam locomotives. As a photographer his years in South Africa was the most rewarding. Sadly Dusty passed away in 1999. In 1989 he noted in Twilight of South African Steam of the Cape 7th Class: They were the Southern Afican "pioneer" locomotives, light enough to run anywhere. The Cape 7th series comprised the low-wheel 4-8-0's, with plate frames, possibly conceived as a freight version of the 6th class 4-6-0, but truly taking the rôle of pioneer power, being highly suitable for rough pioneer tracks. In various forms they were supplied to much of Africa, for example Rhodesia, Angola, Congo, in pure form, and developed with superheaters and piston valves, to other countries. Their design stemmed from the successful application of eight-coupled power, in the shape of 4-8-2T, in Natal, and was virtually a 'tenderised' Natal tank design.

Al last view of the engine and tender ....

Click on image for directions to the plinthed locomotive.

  1. Twilight of South African Steam - AE Durrant - 1989
  2. SAR Class 7 specifications on SAR Steam

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