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South African Railways Narrow Gauge Rolling Stock


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The forthcoming release of SAR wagons kits by EDM Models prompts me to mention that in 1973 I photographed these wagons in their "natural habitat", little realising that years later some of them would only be a few miles from my home !


If anyone is interested I can post some of these photos together with other examples of SAR narrow gauge rolling stock.

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Didn't we have these a few days ago but then they disappeared ?


I told Paul about them as you had mentioned a third type of bogie that his kit designer hadn't included and the variations with higher sides and the tank car conversions. When Paul went looking for your photos they weren't there.


So in answer to your question - Yes Please !!



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Oops ! I thought maybe I had started this in the wrong place, so decided a new topic might be more appropriate.


In addition to the open wagons I can continue this into other goods stock, brakevans, passenger coaches and (if anyone is still with it) general views of track and stations, etc. Perhaps some photos of the locos would be of interest, especially those now on the WHR.


The photos were scanned before I had a negative scanner from postcard prints, so are not of the best quality, and some of the negatives were commercially developed and are a bit grainy. Also the lettering on the bottom is rather larger than I would do now, and perhaps a little obtrusive.


The photos were taken on a three week visit to South Africa in September 1973, which included train travel, visits to main line sheds and industrial railways as well as four of the five 2ft. gauge lines, so the time spent on each was necessarily brief.

I explored the Avontuur line as far as the Van Stadens Viaduct (went part way across until I could see the bottom approx 250 ft below then quickly retraced my steps !); Port Shepstone; Umzinto and Esperanza on the Donnybrook line; and visted most of the stations on the Umlaas Road to Mid Illovo line. Any comments are therefore made only on what I saw at those locations.


First the DZ class wagons. These were mainly used on the Avontuur line for transport of limestone from Loerie to the EPCC cement plant. I did a complete inventory of the rolling stock at Humewood Road (sort of train spotting gone to the extreme !), and neither there or in any of the trains did I see any B class wagons. Many of the DZ wagons had sides extended above the doors with one or two additional fixed "boards" (actually steel strips). Of the 19 wagons noted at Humewood Road, 15 had extended sides and 5 (of the 15) had plate frame bogies and doors of flat steel plate instead of pressed steel.

On the Natal lines the traffic in open wagons was mostly timber and sugar cane, using mainly B class wagons. A small number of DZ class wagons were seen, and some of these had extended sides and ends of three steel strips and a top strip or steel angle with gaps in between.




NG13 #81 at Van Stadens with 8 DZ wagons + brakevan. Note that 6 of the wagons have extended sides.




DZ without side extensions, wagon to right has rectangular ends and single "board" side extension.










Detail from corner of a photo showing two "board" side extension




Second wagon is DZ with "fishbelly" frame and slatted side and end extensions




In sidings left to right: DZ with slatted extensions; B class; DZ without extensions behind tank wagon; DZ with extensions in front of B class.




DZ converted to tank wagon, note holes in corner angles where side extension slats removed.


to be continued......

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Photos of B class wagons, first 4 of newly painted B1645 at Port Shepstone (first photo is a little blurry I'm afraid):

















NG.G13 #58 arriving at Umlaas Road from Mid Illovo.

Train comprises 8 B class wagons loaded with sugar cane + 3 B class and 1 DZ with slatted extensions loaded with timber + 4 compt. and brake coach + van



to be continued......

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  • 2 months later...

It is some time since I added to this topic, as I got the impression that there is not much interest in the subject - it still gets views but few "likes".


I have included all the photos I have of 'B' and 'DZ' wagons and their variations, which was the original intention, and a few other types.

I do have further photos of brakevans and coaches which I could post if there is sufficient interest.


I received a PM from a kit designer regarding the photos, and replied to his Email address but it was returned undelivered. I then replied with a PM but received no reply so could take the matter no further. I can only assume that he got the information he required from the posted photos.

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Please do not assume that this topic is not interesting, just because everyone doesn't record a "Like". Personally, I think it is invaluable for people to put up photos of rare and unusual subjects - far better than keeping them to yourself. There must be many thousands of photos in private collections that may never see the light of day - and even run the risk of being destroyed without anyone else being able to see them at all.


The more posts you add, the more likely it is to grab people's attention - it is all to easy to miss something really interesting when there is so much to filter through on RMWeb. I really do find this particular topic very interesting, but only noticed it for the first time today.

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Something weird is going on here.........


The pictures are very much appreciated and have been looked at a lot and will probably get looked at a lot more as the new kits make it out to the market and people actually start building them. They are only getting out to the market slowly because the bottle neck in the production are the castings for the bogies which aren't arriving fast enough for us to complete all the advance orders at the moment. The trouble is that this caster is the only one producing the casting of the quality we want.



Now to the weird stuff: -

  1. Likes - don't put much faith or value in them. Its Facebook type BS that most on here will have little to do with, they'll look but not necessarily react. I just posted news of narrow gauge happenings at the NRM and whilst its been viewed 80 odd times its not had a single comment.
  2. PM - I haven't received any PM's from you. I have just checked and can see the one I sent you and I can see the date you read it, about three weeks after it was sent, but there is no reply.
  3. E-mail - none received. What did you use for an e-mail address? Paul or Info (@) ngtrains.com should work


Paul Martin

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£1.38 + ngtrains.com - Thanks for your replies, I appreciate the comments and will resume posting on this topic.


Paul, it was your kit designer (without naming names) who requested copies of the pics for future reference, after your enquiry. I assumed he was acting on your behalf as he mentioned the possibility of doing further SAR kits.

I replied saying that I would be quite happy to supply the original bmps on a CD if he so wished, and also mentioned that I had approx 5 more photos of wagons, 13 of brakevans and 9 of coaches which I could post, also 4 sketches giving overall dimensions of brakevans and coaches.


If he (or you) still require the originals I would be happy to oblige.



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Please send me copies on a CD. I would like them for my own info as I also work on designing our kits and an tempted to do some of the other vehicles. The outside framed vans would work quite well with the frame kit and a laser cut body I think.

I can pass a copy along to Peter. Please send to the EDM Models address at 19 Briar Avenue, Acomb, York YO26 5BX

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Brakevans - the ones photographed were in three different categories, first full brakes:







Measurements taken of V979:







Second, brakes with two passenger compartments:












Measurements taken of V1432:









Thirdly, brakes converted from passenger coaches:










BDV888 - plated "Sachsische Waggonfabrik, Werdau 29584 1926"

This had brake compartment at LH end (in photo); compartment with two transverse seats; saloon compartment

with longitudinal seats along sides; lavatory at RH end. Measurements taken as follows:







V976 - plated "Sachsische Waggonfabrik, Werdau 29589 1926"







Next - coaches

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These are the last of the rolling stock photos, covering coaches:









The van to the right of NG 27 is one of the ex US Army Transportation Corps box cars originally built for the Vicicongo Railway (although possibly never used on that railway).

Many of these had the roof raised to increase capacity and the resulting gap at the top of the sides and ends made them suitable for livestock transport.

When used for general goods traffic the gaps were closed by a tarpaulin over the top half of the van as shown here.

















The window band was actually light grey, not white as it appears here.












plated: "Sachsische Waggonfabrik, Werdau 29591 1926"






plated: "Sachsische Waggonfabrik, Werdau 29594 1926"








As this concludes the rolling stock photos I will start a new topic covering track layouts and general views,

which might be a bit more interesting !

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  • 2 months later...
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Superb stuff, and seemingly unavailable elsewhere.


Leith Paxton produced a book of Cape Gauge drawings a year or two ago; there is supposed to be one for 2ft gauge stock in preparation, which will complement these photographs.


I'm sure we'd all be very interested in seeing more!



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  • 1 year later...

Hello all,


Keeping this topic going, working in 7/8" scale 1:13.7, I have completed the body work for one of a pair of B6 wagons.  I am greatly appreciative of PGHindley's photos as they answered a lot of questions I had with various details.  The wagons are made of laser cut 22 ga steel, cut from my own drawings.  Rivets are 1/16" aluminum, mostly installed with the large head inside the wagon more or less out of sight, so the tail is formed to a smaller round head on the outside.  I have a 12 inch brake that is used for bending angles and so forth. The doors are layered steel parts riveted together. Some of the smaller angles are K&S brass with rivets formed with a simple die. Bogies were cast in white metal from my own pattern.  I am currently working on designing the brake gear and I have a friend who will cast the vacuum pot and tank in resin.  I am still working on mounting the little swinging gates.



Steve King




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  • 5 months later...

Hello all,


I am finding great use of all the SAR NG pics posted on this forum, and genuinely appreciate those who are sharing photos.  I contunue on my SAR project in 7/8" (1:13.7) scale and am currently in fits and starts on a DZ wagon.  Photos show my doors which I stamped from .010" sheet steel with a home made die.  The chassis is a mixture of steel and brass components.  Excuse the extra holes here and there but those were small screw-ups.  I see than many of the SAR wagons had holes all over the place on them also. Eventually I will get to the undercarriage brake details on these, but that will require more study on my part.  I plan on several of the DZ's and we will have a gravel pit on my outdoor railway so they have something the haul.



Steve King

Virginia US



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  • 3 months later...

I too find this topic extremeley interesting. I model in 16mm to the foot ,(Yes I know that its a mismatch of units,) ::))


I have CNC laser cut the ,"B," class wagon in both SAR and WHR variants and one of the guards' vans. If anybody has any more source material, please, please post it. It is neither wasted nor un-appreciated.




Mike Ousby 

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