The year 1948 saw the introduction of the 2-8-4 or 'Berkshire' wheel arrangement on the SAR with the placing in service of one hundred Class 24 branch line locomotives. These engines were designed by CME M.M. Loubser (father of the former General Manager, Dr Kobus Loubser) and were intended specifically to replace the 6th, 7th and 8th class locomotives and were designed to operate on 45 lb rail.
Most of the class were initially allocated to the South West Africa system. However the dieselisation of South West Africa in 1961 saw the class widely distributed throughout South Africa where they operated many lightly laid branch lines.
The first withdrawals only occurred in the late 1970's but the 24's sphere of operation continued to steadily shrink and in early 1989 there were only 12 examples remaining in service. These few engines were used on the George to Knysna branch with a few other examples being retained for special duties. The engines are of modern design, having among other features, cast steel bed frames with integral cylinders, cylinder hind covers, smokebox support frame, stays and various brackets.
The locomotive in use at Atlantic Rail is No. 3655 (Builder's Number: NBL 26367) and was originally used in the then South West Africa (now Namibia). After being withdrawn from service there, she was used at the Paarden Eiland / Belville. Later, 3655 was moved to Touws River in the Karoo for use on the Ladismith branch line until that was shut down. 3655 was then left idle and unused in Touws River until she was donated to Cape Western Vintage Railways who restored her. FoAR member Kenny Campbell was on the footplate when 3655 was fetched from Touws River. He took the picture on the right.
3655 has now been leased by Atlantic Rail from Cape Western Vintage Railways and Atlantic Rail has taken over responsibility for maintaining her.
The tender is of the 'Vanderbilt' type, carried on two six wheel 'Buckeye' bogies.
|Tractive Effort (75%)||:||123 kN (27600 lb)|
|Weight in Working Order||:||73 t (Loco) 56 t (Tender)|
|Cylinders||:||(2) 483 X 660 mm (19" X 26")|
|Tender Capacity||:||Coal 9 t Water 20500 l (4500 gal)|
|Coupled Wheels||:||1290 mm (4'3")|
|Boiler Pressure||:||1379 kPa (200 psi)|
In compiling this page, liberal use was made of the following source:
HOLLAND, D.F. - Steam Locomotives of the South African Railways Volume 2: 1910-1955