Sandstone Steam Railroad - Workshop

NGG11 Garrat locomotive No: 55 returns to the rails

The ex SAR NGG11 Garratt locomotive no: 55 has been returned to working order by the Sandstone Heritage Trust team under the supervision of Lukas Nel after an extensive restoration at their Bloemfontein workshops.


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About the class NGG11 Garratt Locomotives

Ordered from Messrs. Beyer, Peacock & Co., Ltd., during 1914 and delivered after the Great War in 1919, were three 2' gauge articulated Garratt steam locomotives, numbered 51, 52 and 53 respectively, classified NGG11. They were erected at the Uitenhage workshops of the SAR and, after trials in May 1920 on the Avontuur line, two were placed in service on the Stuartstown (Ixopo) branch line in Natal.
Sir William Hoy, General Manager, South African Railways & Harbours, in his report for 1921-22, recorded: " The narrow gauge Garratt engines, placed in service on the Stuartstown branch, are most economical and have reduced train mileage and trainsmen's hours. Their introduction has also effected a saving of one engine and train crew."

A further order was placed for two similar locomotives, No's 54 and 55, which were supplied by Messrs. Beyer, Peacock & Co. These engines differed from the first three ordered by being fitted with superheated boilers and piston valves. They were erected in the SAR Durban workshops during April, 1925. The total weight of the engine in full working order was 48 tons 4 ¾ cwts."

The locomotives were used mostly in Natal on the various branch lines but also in the Port Elizabeth area..
No 55 was withdrawn from Humewood Road depot in October 1974 after being displaced by dieselisation on the Avontuur line. It was plinthed at Weenen, after the Estcourt to Weenen line's closure in the mid 80s until removal for restoration in 2003.
The locomotive has been fully restored from a scrap condition by the Sandstone Heritage Trust. The bulk of the work was done at the Bloemfontein workshops under the personal supervision of Lukas Nel. The locomotive is fully restored and its specifications are as new.
Due to the fact that the locomotive arrived without brass, the Sandstone Heritage Trust has made available a full complement of brass which is fitted to the locomotive. The brass is on loan pending the Paton Country Railway's replacement of the brass from their own sources.
Class NGG 13, No. 49, one of the oldest Garratts in South Africa, has also been completed by Lukas Nel but the brass allocated for that locomotive has been used on the NGG 11 and so the early return of our brass or replacements is necessary for No. 49 to be steamed.

No: 55 will be placed in service on the preserved Ixopo to Madonela branch line being operated by Paton's Country Narrow Gauge Railway after commissioning trials at the Sandstone Steam Railroad near Ficksburg in the Eastern Free State of South Africa.