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Natal Government Railways class B (1906)
South African class 1B
South Africa | 1906 | 12 produced

In 1904, the Natal Government Railways procured a total of 50 class B locomotives for the main line, which has a gradient of up to 1 in 30. These had the wheel arrangement 4-8-0 and delivered sufficient power for the required tasks. For faster passenger trains, however, the locomotives were not smooth running due to the overhang behind the last coupled axle

For this reason, the chief engineer D.A. Hendrie fitted six pieces of the class with an additional trailing axle, which was in a Bissel frame. This was the world's first tender locomotive with a 4-8-2 wheel arrangement. In contrast, the American 4-8-2 “Mountain” had evolved from the 4-6-2 “Pacific” around 1910, but too served the purpose of hauling heavy passenger trains on mountain routes.

With the formation of the South African Railways, the converted locos became class 1B while the originals were classified as class 1. After new locomotives took over the tasks of class 1B in the second half of the 1920s, the trailing axles were removed again and the locomotives were thus restored to their original condition. They were now used together with the other class 1 locomotives in shunting service and were only completely retired until 1975. One example, which was in use at a sugar mill until 1984, still exists today.

ManufacturerNorth British, NGR
Axle config4-8-2 (Mountain) 
Gauge3 ft 6 in (Cape gauge)
Dimensions and Weights
Length56 ft 4 7/8 in
Wheelbase27 ft 6 in
Fixed wheelbase12 ft 9 in
Total wheelbase49 ft 0 5/8 in
Service weight158,032 lbs
Adhesive weight125,328 lbs
Total weight243,040 lbs
Axle load33,263 lbs
Water capacity3,225 us gal
Fuel capacity13,440 lbs (coal)
Power sourcesteam
Estimated power950 hp (708 kW)
Optimal speed17 mph
Starting effort35,800 lbf
Power Plant
Driver diameter45.5 in
Boiler pressure190 psi
Expansion typesimple
Cylinderstwo, 20 1/2 x 24 in
Grate area34 sq ft
Firebox area128.6 sq ft
Tube heating area2,094.2 sq ft
Evaporative heating area2,222.8 sq ft
Total heating area2,222.8 sq ft
Calculated Values
steam locomotive
David Anderson Hendrie
last changed: 05/2022

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