|Built by||Société Anglo-Franco-Belge|
History in South Africa
The NG15 class of locomotives were developed for use on the 60cm gauge lines of SAR and were a development of previous classes of locomotive.
The origin of the design was the three locomotives of the Hd class built for the Otavi Railway in German South West Africa (now Namibia). Needless to say these locomotives were German built being constructed by Henschel & Sohn in Kassel. The design progressed in 1922 with a further six locomotives, again built by Henschel & Sohn, that became the NG5 class.
After trials of one of the locomotives on the Avontuur line the design was altered again to become what is now known as the NG15 class. The preceding classes made use of flangeless driving wheels on one set of the eight coupled driving wheels, however this still proved unsuitable for the tighter curves on the Avontuur line. Therefore what differentiated the NG15s from their preceding classes was the use of a Krauss-Helmholtz pony truck for the leading wheels. This system allows the front driving axle some sideways movement so that only the rear three axles form a rigid wheelbase. The front axle is guided around curves by the front pony truck to which it is attached via a pivoted linkage.
Preservation in the UK
134 arrived in the UK at the same time as 133 and was initially brought over from South Africa for a railway at Robin Hood's Bay in Yorkshire but this fell through and the locos were purchased for the WHR's future motive power back in 1998. Subsequently two NGG16s (87 and 130) imported for the same project made their way to the WHR.
To the WHR
Commencing in 1999, work has gone on to strip, clean and assess the condition of the locomotive and its components, preparatory to its restoration and return to service. Initially this work was done by volunteers on a no-budget basis. Work continued sporadically for a number of years until 2008 when a new group was formed which aimed to get the loco back into service. The locomotive is being restored to working order at the Welsh Highland Railway's Dinas works. As of 2012, it was expected to be in the order of a 5 year restoration process with much of the work being conducted by volunteers. The Project is under the auspices of the Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri on behalf of the Ffestiniog Railway Company. A number of changes to the locomotive are being considered to make it more suitable for use in Wales.