CGR 1st Class 4-4-0

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CGR 1st Class 4-4-0
South African Class 01 4-4-0
Cape 1st Class (4-4-0) 1879.jpg
Works picture of CGR 1st Class 4-4-0, c. 1879
Type and origin
Power type Steam
Designer Avonside Engine Company
Builder Avonside Engine Company
Neilson and Company
Serial number Avonside 1215-1216, 1235-1236
Neilson 2547-2552, 2557-2560, 2582
Build date 1879-1880
Total produced 15
 • Whyte 4-4-0 (American)
 • UIC 2′Bn2
Driver 1st coupled axle
Gauge 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) Cape gauge
Leading dia. 27 in (686 mm)
Coupled dia. 48 in (1,219 mm)
Tender wheels 36 in (914 mm)
Wheelbase 33 ft 4 in (10,160 mm)
 • Engine 17 ft 4 in (5,283 mm)
 • Leading 4 ft 8 in (1,422 mm)
 • Coupled 6 ft 6 in (1,981 mm)
 • Tender 8 ft (2,438 mm)
 • Over couplers 41 ft 4 in (12,598 mm)
Height 12 ft (3,658 mm)
Axle load 8 LT 1 cwt (8,179 kg)
 • Leading 7 LT 3 cwt (7,265 kg)
 • 1st coupled 7 LT 19 cwt 1 qtr (8,090 kg)
 • 2nd coupled 8 LT 1 cwt (8,179 kg)
Adhesive weight 16 LT 0 cwt 1 qtr (16,270 kg)
Loco weight 23 LT 3 cwt 1 qtr (23,530 kg)
Tender weight 16 LT 19 cwt 1 qtr (17,230 kg)
Total weight 40 LT 2 cwt 2 qtr (40,770 kg)
Tender type 3-axle
Fuel type Coal
Fuel capacity 2 LT 10 cwt (2.5 t)
Water cap 1,700 imp gal (7,730 l)
Firebox type Round-top
 • Firegrate area 10 sq ft (0.93 m2)
 • Pitch 5 ft 9 in (1,753 mm)
 • Tube plates 9 ft 5 12 in (2,883 mm)
 • Small tubes 120: 1 34 in (44 mm)
Boiler pressure 130 psi (896 kPa)
Safety valve Salter
Heating surface 565 sq ft (52.5 m2)
 • Tubes 513 sq ft (47.7 m2)
 • Firebox 52 sq ft (4.8 m2)
Cylinders Two
Cylinder size 14 in (356 mm) bore
18 in (457 mm) stroke
Valve gear Stephenson
Valve type Slide
Couplers Johnston link-and-pin
Performance figures
Tractive effort 7,166 lbf (32 kN) @ 75%
Operators Cape Government Railways
South African Railways
Class CGR 1st Class, SAR Class 01
Number in class 15
Numbers E8-E14, W25-W26, W33-W38
Delivered 1879
First run 1879

The Cape Government Railways 1st Class 4-4-0 of 1879 was a South African steam locomotive from the pre-Union era in the Cape of Good Hope.

In 1878, the Cape Government Railways placed orders with the Avonside Engine Company for four more 1st Class tender locomotives with a 4-4-0 American type wheel arrangement. They were intended for fast passenger service on the Western and Eastern Systems and were delivered in 1879. In 1880, eleven more of these locomotives followed from Neilson and Company.[1][2]

Traffic growth[edit]

By 1878, increased traffic on the Western System of the Cape Government Railways (CGR) had given rise to a requirement for higher train speeds, which subjected most of the existing mainline locomotives with their small 39 inches (991 millimetres) diameter coupled wheels to rapid wear and resulted in the need for frequent heavy repairs. To meet the rising traffic requirements, orders were placed with Avonside Engine Company for more locomotives with larger diameter coupled wheels, in addition to the existing fleet of 1st Class 4-4-0 tank-and-optional-tender locomotives of 1875.[1][3]


In 1879, four 4-4-0 American type tender passenger locomotives were delivered to the CGR from Avonside Engine Company for fast passenger service out of Cape Town and East London respectively. They were equipped with 48 inches (1,219 millimetres) coupled wheels and six-wheeled tenders, numbered W25 and W26 for the Western System and E8 and E9 for the Eastern System. Their slide valves were actuated by Stephenson Link motion, while their boiler barrels were constructed in three sections, arranged telescopically.[1][2][3][4]

1st Class 4-4-0 no. W35

In 1880, they were followed by another eleven locomotives. These were built by Neilson and Company and numbered in the ranges from W33 to W38 for the Western System and E10 to E14 for the Eastern System. This was the first CGR locomotive contract to be awarded to Neilson's.[2][3]

Depicted is engine no. W35, when new, with the Western System officials who were responsible for the locomotive fleet on board, from left Workshop Foreman E.A. Goodwin, Locomotive Superintendent Michael Stephens and Steamshed Foreman McNamara.


When a locomotive classification system was later introduced by the CGR, all these locomotives were designated 1st Class. Although Espitalier and Day described them in 1943 as 2nd Class, the Classification of S.A.R. Engines with Renumbering Lists, a booklet which was issued by the Chief Mechanical Engineer's Office in January 1912, lists them as "4-4-0 1st class Avonside & Neilson".[1][3][5]


Cape Government Railways[edit]

As a result of the distances involved on the new mainlines which were being built into the arid Karoo, the CGR favoured tender locomotives over tank locomotives for mainline work from the outset, given the limited onboard coal and water capacities of tank engines. At the time these locomotives entered service in 1879, the two Eastern System lines from East London were open as far as King William's Town and approaching Queenstown respectively, while the Western System line from Montagu Road was approaching Beaufort West.[6]

The Western line was officially opened to Beaufort West on 5 February 1880. In 1882, one of these new locomotives made a through trip on a special train between Cape Town and Beaufort West and covered the 339 miles (546 kilometres) in ten hours, stops excluded, maintaining an average speed of 34 miles per hour (55 kilometres per hour). At the time, it was the fastest long journey on record in South Africa.[1][3]

South African Railways[edit]

When the Union of South Africa was established on 31 May 1910, the three Colonial government railways (CGR, Natal Government Railways and Central South African Railways) were united under a single administration to control and administer the railways, ports and harbours of the Union. Although the South African Railways and Harbours came into existence in 1910, the actual classification and renumbering of all the rolling stock of the three constituent railways was only implemented with effect from 1 January 1912.[5][6]

In 1912, the nine surviving locomotives were considered obsolete by the SAR, designated Class 01 and renumbered by having the numeral 0 prefixed to their existing numbers. They were all withdrawn from service by 1915, after having completed a considerable mileage while serving on branchlines after being withdrawn from mainline work.[1][2][3][5][7]


All these locomotives were renumbered at times during the CGR era. By 1886, all the system prefixes had been done away with and, of the Eastern System's locomotives, three were no longer on the books, while the remaining four had been renumbered in the range from 606 to 609. By 1890, the two Avonside locomotives of the Western System had also been renumbered. By 1910, three more locomotives were no longer on the books and in 1912 the nine remaining locomotives were renumbered with an 0 prefix by the SAR. The builders, works numbers, years in service, original numbers and renumbering of the Cape 1st Class of 1879 are listed in the table.[2][5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Holland, D.F. (1971). Steam Locomotives of the South African Railways. 1: 1859–1910 (1st ed.). Newton Abbott, Devon: David & Charles. pp. 30–31. ISBN 978-0-7153-5382-0. 
  2. ^ a b c d e C.G.R. Numbering Revised, Article by Dave Littley, SA Rail May–June 1993, pp. 94-95.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Espitalier, T.J.; Day, W.A.J. (1943). The Locomotive in South Africa - A Brief History of Railway Development. Chapter II - The Cape Government Railways (Continued). South African Railways and Harbours Magazine, September 1943. pp. 658-659.
  4. ^ Dulez, Jean A. (2012). Railways of Southern Africa 150 Years (Commemorating One Hundred and Fifty Years of Railways on the Sub-Continent – Complete Motive Power Classifications and Famous Trains – 1860–2011) (1st ed.). Garden View, Johannesburg, South Africa: Vidrail Productions. pp. 37–38. ISBN 9 780620 512282. 
  5. ^ a b c d Classification of S.A.R. Engines with Renumbering Lists, issued by the Chief Mechanical Engineer's Office, Pretoria, January 1912, p. 25. (Reprinted in April 1987 by SATS Museum, R.3125-6/9/11-1000)
  6. ^ a b The South African Railways - Historical Survey. Editor George Hart, Publisher Bill Hart, Sponsored by Dorbyl Ltd., Published c. 1978, pp. 12-13, 25.
  7. ^ Paxton, Leith; Bourne, David (1985). Locomotives of the South African Railways (1st ed.). Cape Town: Struik. p. 15. ISBN 0869772112.