From Festipedia, hosted by the FR Heritage Group
2013, photo: Alan Wilson
Type NGG16
Home Railway WHR
Original Railway SAR
Number 143
Status In service
Built by Beyer Peacock, Manchester
Built 1958
1997 Acquired for WHR
2011 Overhauled (converted to coal)
Wheel Arrangement 2-6-2+2-6-2T
Length 49 ft 2 in
Fuel Coal
Whistle(s) SAR Chime

143 is an NGG16 Garratt locomotive that that is currently in use on the Welsh Highland Railway.

History in South Africa[edit]

143 was built by Beyer Peacock of Manchester for South African Railways to their 2-6-2+2-6-2T NGG16 Garratt design. This loco was one of the fourth batch of seven NGG16s (no.s 137 - 143) built in 1958. These were the last steam locos built by Beyer Peacock, which were originally ordered by the Tsumeb Copper Corp of South West Africa in 1958 but when its line was altered to Cape Gauge, South African Railways took over the order. It carries the works number 7868.

Together with Garratts 141 and 142, 143 was delivered to Port Elizabeth in 1959 and entered service on the Avontuur branch. Following the arrival of the NG15s in 1961 a number of Garratts, including 143, were moved to the Natal. 143 became a regular performer on the 93 mile long Ixopo branch (from Umzinto to Ixopo / Donnybrook), according to the November 1965 Natal System locomotive returns, 140 and 143 were in service on the branch at that time (together with No.s 85, 86, 112, 113, 114, 115, 126, 129, 131 and 139).

In the mid '80s 143 was transferred to Port Shepstone where it worked the timber traffic. The boiler ticket expired in 1986 so the locomotive was out of traffic when the line was taken over by the Alfred County Railway in 1987.

Preservation on the WHR[edit]

143 was obtained from the Alfred County Railway who overhauled the loco before shipping it to the UK. It was chosen, despite its relatively poor condition, because of its historical significance as the last Beyer-Garratt. It arrived at the FR in January 1997. It entered service on the WHR(C) in September 1998, after receiving boiler attention at Ian Rileys's works. Its first livery on the WHR was SAR black. As the last Garratt built by Beyer Peacock, it makes an interesting stablemate of the pioneer of the type, K1.

Problems with a crack in a fly crank stopped the engine just before peak season in 2008. As an emergency measure the hind bogie from 138 was substituted.

143 entered its 10 year overhaul at the end of 2009 at Dinas, with parts being moved to Boston Lodge. The boiler from 140, and the hind bogie were used in the overhaul. Converted back to coal firing, with a number of improvements after experience with No. 87, including a larger ashpan, and in-cab ashpan drench control, 143 was finished in July 2011, entering service with a new mid Brunswick green livery.

At the end of the 2014 Season, 143 was stripped down for a major overhaul of the power bogies. When the locomotive was stripped and assessed, it was found that it needed much more work to get to our current standard than what was first anticipated.

As a result, 143's year and a half overhaul resulted in it having the most comprehensive overhaul that a NGG16 has had at the WHR. Many components were replaced with new, these included the suspension links, springs, horn cheeks, horn keeps, rod end bushes, all of the bushes in the valvegear and pony trucks. There was much more work done to renew worn components. An issue that we did not anticipate was that the rear frame stretcher on the front unit had worked itself loose. This was a critical component as it held the frame plates in place and also held the pony truck in place.

Following the completion of these heavy repairs, 143 returned to service in May 2016.

143's boiler certificate expires in spring 2021. It was planned to fit 143 with the boiler it arrived with, which was removed in 2011. In preparation for this, in 2018 the boiler was sent away to Israel Newtons for an extensive overhaul, including a new inner firebox and front barrel. This will then allow the loco to be reassembled as quickly as possible.[1]

However, due to Covid-19, plans were changed and 143 was returned to traffic using the ex-Puffing Billy Railway boiler previously earmarked for 138.[2] The boiler removed from 143 in 2011 will now go to 138 when time allows for that loco to be overhauled. The locomotive returned to traffic in September 2022 but not long after was involved in a collision with a car at Cwm Cloch crossing which required some minor repairs to be undertaken over the winter.[3]


See also[edit]


  • Payling, David (2012). Garratts and Kalaharis of the Welsh Highland Railway. Harbour Station, Porthmadog: Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways. ISBN 978-0-901848-10-9. OCLC 871303225.
  • Fisher, Ben. "NGG16 no. 143". The Welsh Highland Railway Project. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  1. ^ F&WHR Loco Round UP, Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways YouTube channel 23 May 2020
  2. ^ Moving Pictures, Forty Five - 23/12/20
  3. ^ Loco Round-Up - Winter 2022, F&WHR Youtube channel, 16 Dec 2022