Old Baldwin engine adds Wild West touch - Adam Brand
Adam Brand's Diary - E.P. Herald - 1970



AN old steam locomotive, which has been chugging through Port Elizabeth's outskirts lately, has added a touch of the Wild West to this Eastern Cape city.

It's the 40-year-old locomotive which used to be in regular service on a cement company's private narrow gauge line between its works near New Brighton and Chelsea siding near Greenbushes.

Its balloon-shaped spark arresting funnel is characteristic of the very old locomotives used in the West  of  America in its early days, a steam locomotive enthusiast told me. He said the unusual funnel had not been seen in many other parts of the world.

Some details about the steam engine are included in "Twentyfour inches apart - the two-foot gauge railways of the Cape of Good Hope" - by Sidney M. Moir.  (published by Oakwood Press).

This engine, the second to run on the cement company's line, was built by the Baldwin locomotive works in America in 1930.

The design was basically identical to that of the S.A.R. class NG 10, first placed in service in 1916. 

The last of these NG 10 locomotives to survive, No. 61, was donated by the South African Railways to the Port Elizabeth Museum. Remember what a great task it was to install it a few weeks ago?

Since being put into semi-retirement five years ago, the Baldwin has been kept in reserve for when a diesel locomotive, which has been used since 1965, is out of action.

At present the diesel locomotive is being overhauled , so the old engine is back on the rails.

The cement company's Baldwin engine did not always have the unusual spark arresting funnel.
The     company's    General

This is the 40-year-old locomotive with its unusual balloon shaped spark-arresting funnel. The driver is Mr J. E. HAGGARD, a retired South African Railways driver.

Manager, Mr G. R. Luyt, told me the funnel was on a Hunslet steam locomotive which was brought out from England in 1938. Till 1965, when the Hunslet was pensioned off and scrapped, two locomotives were used on the private line.  The Hunslet's funnel was bequeathed to the older engine, because of the improved spark arrester, he said.

Mr Luyt told me that the company's private narrow gauge line from Chelsea to New Brighton was 18 kilometres (11½miles) long.   

The raw material was conveyed from Loerie along a nine kilometre (5½ mile) cableway.

  From there the South African Railways transported it to Chelsea, where it was picked up by the company's train.

He said steam locomotive enthusiasts from overseas called at the company from time to time to have a look at the old Baldwin engine.

Incidentally, the enormous silver star on the front of its boiler, my local enthusiast friend told me, is typical of what has always been standard Russian locomotive practice.

I asked Mr Luyt if this had any local significance.
"None whatsoever," he laughed.
"One of the drivers just painted it on for decoration."