South African Railways

From Festipedia, hosted by the FR Heritage Group

South African Railways or Suid Afrikaanse Spoorweë (now known as Transnet) is the nationalised railway company of South Africa.

Whilst the majority of their network was 3 ft 6 in Cape gauge, they also had an extensive network of 2 ft gauge railways, some of which survive today. The narrow gauge railways began to decline in the 1980s and most ceased commercial operations in the 1990s. The timing of this decline coincided with the beginning of the project to rebuild the Welsh Highland Railway and the availability of a large amount of redundant equipment of suitable gauge was something extensively made use of.

For more information see Two-foot-gauge railways in South Africa at Wikipedia.

SAR equipment on the F&WHR[edit]

Equipment from South Africa now at the F&WHR includes:

  • Rails and sleepers on the first three phases of the rebuilt WHR
  • NGG16 locomotives
  • 87 (in use)
  • 138 (in use)
  • 143 (in use)
  • 130 (in use)
  • 140 (under long term restoration, parts used in rebuilds of 138 and 143)
  • 109 (stored away from the railway)
  • 133 (stored for the future)
  • 134 (undergoing rebuild)
  • Various wagons
  • Bogies used under modern WHR Carriages and other vehicles
  • Vacuum braking equipment

Other railways using former SAR equipment[edit]

The F&WHR is not the only international railway to use former SAR equipment. Of note in the UK the Vale of Rheidol and Lynton and Barnstaple Railways both have ex-SAR wagons whilst the VoR museum collection also includes a number of locomotives. A number of SAR locomotives were present at Exmoor, some of which were imported for an aborted scheme at Robin Hoods Bay in Yorkshire. Several of these locos have since found their way to the WHR. Overseas the Sandstone Railway in South Africa has a large collection of preserved equipment and has helped the F&WHR in the past. The Puffing Billy Railway in Australia also has two NGG16 locomotives (127 and 129), some redundant parts from which were donated to the F&WHR.

See also[edit]