|19 September 2011
|arrangement. ("Mountain") It is based on the Class 15E ‘Bongol,’ but with Walshearts
Valve gear instead of the 15E’s rotary cam gear. The class was very successful and
locomotive class in Africa. The 15Fs were initially used in the Free State and Western
Transvaal but were eventually found in service all over South Africa.
They are conventional locomotives by SAR standards, but advanced in Glasgow, where
the later batches were built. They feature full vacuum braking, powered grate shakers,
powered reversers, self-cleaning smoke boxes, hydrostatic lubrication and mechanical
stokers. A distinguishing feature on the "F’s" are the prominent, wide Wootten type
fireboxes and the long, high pitched boiler which allowed room underneath for 5 ft. dia.
driving wheels. (Large wheeled locomotives are difficult to design on the Cape Gauge.)
They were also noted as being built with a standardized boiler (The Watson 3B)
whereas many other locomotive designs were re-boilered in CME A.G. Watson’s
standardization policy. The 15Fs were amongst the last steam locomotives to remain
active in SAR service.
No.3046 is famed for having pulled the royal train in 1947, with the then-princess
Elizabeth on board. Built in 1945, this locomotive was retired from service in 1988. No.
3046 was kept intact by then-Spoornet as a reserve and underwent steam testing for 4
consecutive years, until use of steam traction officially ended in 1992. No. 3046 is also
one of the 44 SAR locomotives named in 1945 by the minister of Transport, the Hon.
FC Sturrock and originally bore the name "City of Bloemfontein". Naming of
locomotives on the SAR was not the usual official practice. Unusually for an SAR
locomotive, No. 3046 was painted dun green instead of black.
Numerous examples of 15Fs still exist. Reefsteamers has 6 Class 15Fs on the
premises, four of which are intact and 3046 is the one currently operating. As of May
2011, No. 3046 "Janine" is the only operating Class 15F locomotive in South Africa.
Copy: Complements Reefsteamers