Finding the Reid Tenwheeler

Amongst the many locomotives that stood at Sanrasm South Site was the former 4-10-2T North British Loco side-tank No.23722. She is quite a rare bird as 4-10-2 was not a very popular wheel configuration, many being converted to 4-8-2 over the years they were in service. This particular survivor was fortunate enough to escape the scrap metal thieves as well as the cutting torch. She is a member of the South African Railways Class H 4-10-2T of 1899, and they dated from the pre-Union era in the Colony of Natal. 23722 was in industrial use, and her many sisters served very successfully in the services that they were used in 

I have very few images of her, and these that I do have show her front bogie missing and the loco propped up on a dolley.

Bearing the livery of Witbank Colliery Number 1, she did not seem to be worth preserving, although she is somewhat of a unique loco because of her wheel arrangement.

When Sanrasm was being finally wound up she was not amongst the assets that were scrapped, and when the final disastrous bearing theft happened she managed to survive and was earmarked for plinthing at the Rand Society of Model Engineers (RSME) at Len Rutter Park in Florida (27o 54′ 16″ E, 26o 09′ 38″ S),  and was finally unloaded on 29 June 2014 onto a pre-prepared railbed. Because that happened after I had left for the UK in 2013 I never did get to see her until now.

She stands just outside the small engine museum and has been painted in the livery above, the other side being marked “Witbank”. She is superficially in a good condition, and I suspect that some work was put into her to cover the rusted plating and damaged steelwork.

I was able to climb onto her footplate, and while the gauges and other valuable pieces are missing there were still quite a lot of her original bits and bobs in the cab.

Piet Conradie on his old STEAM LOCOMOTIVES page has the following information on her:

The 137th and final “Reid Tenwheeler” was ordered from North British Locomotive Co in Glasgow and It was delivered as North British No. 23722 of 1928. She was painted blue with white lining and lettered “WITBANK COLLIERY LTD No. 1” on the side tanks. In July 1938 she was reboilered and continued in service hauling coal for another 25 years until last steamed in March 1963.

She remained stored for over 20 years at the South Section loco shed until donated to the Railway Society of South Africa (RSSA) in a ceremony on 1 December 1985. However she remained at Witbank for another nine years until moved to the SANRASM Preservation Site at Randfontein in 1994. She was the only surviving H class in its original condition with the exception of the front bogie that was missing, fortunately it turned up under a heap of “scrap” on site. This was subsequently re-installed on the loco. There is a small chance that she is the only 10 wheeler complete in South Africa.

At this point she is safe, although I would have preferred to see her on the inside of the fence. Long may she be with us, and thanks to RSME who have given this old girl a new lease on life. 

A number of people must be thanked for their work in keeping this loco from scrap, and all credit must go to them. Thanks guys.

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 26/03/2017

They have gone and destroyed it

Regulars to my webpage and blog may remember the SANRASM debacle, and how a collection of valuable railwayana was reduced to so much scrap metal. It was a messy escapade, and the final outcome saw a new team placed in charge and some sort of rationality happening that seemed to signify that parts of the collection would survive. 
The last time I visited there was in June 2012, although I really posted that information backdated to the blog in December 2011. Like so many others I hoped that things would now progress from wreckage to preservation and finally to a fully fledged museum. 
That never happened.
The reality is that somewhere along the line (April 2014?), the scrap vultures entered the premises and cut the frames of some of the locos to get at the bearings, rendering the locos irreparable, and only fit for the scrap. Once that damage has been done the loco will never move again. I saw it happen at Chamdor, and it happened at Sanrasm, and has now finally killed Class 19D-2644, aka “Whardale”. This historically valuable loco was the only one of its kind, and was historically a very significant machine. 

I hope that one day these vultures will become victims of their own greed. When there is nothing left to steal then what will they do? Our steam locomotives, like our Rhino, will be extinct very soon.

What was saved? It is hard to know because I do not have all the information. But I know that both Class 6 loco’s were saved, although Class 6A No.454 has had her frames cut to steal the bearings off it. Fortunately the decision was made to rescue the loco and she is now privately owned and may end up on the rails again one day


The tender from Wardale was also saved and  I do know that one diesel was also saved. but do not know what happened to the other two.

Various parts from other loco’s were saved to keep the pool of steamers running. I do not know which coaches were saved.  

The former 4-10-2T North British Loco No.23722 was saved and is now plinthed at the Rand Society of Model Engineers site in Len Rutter Park, Florida. (2014)

More images from the disaster that was Sanrasm may be found at my allatsea blog

© DRW 2014-2018. Image recreated 17/04/2016. Updated 12/03/2017, added 10 wheeler 26/03/2017

SANRASM. 1 Year later.

When I first moved out to the West Rand my latent interest in trains became much greater because of the ease with which I could theoretically see them. There were also places to see that had them, and as such I was determined to catch up after so many years in the doldrums.  One of the places I really wanted to see was known as the “South African National Rail and Steam Museum” (aka SANRASM) out near Randfontein.
Sadly, I caught that organisation at the downturn, when it was being run into the ground through neglect by its moribund committee.
What followed was at least 3 years of frustration as the collection became more derelict and nothing was done. Everything came to a head with the death of the Chamdor Locomotive Site , it took a lot to retrieve the collection from the committee and the funds from the scrapping of Chamdor helped save what there is to see today.  It has been a year since work started on rationalising the collection and I have been monitoring work as it has gone forward.
This blog is about “Then and Now”.  I am fortunate that I do have reasonably good access to the site and am glad to see that things are being done, I deplore the loss of many of the artefacts that were originally in the collection, but I do understand “why we are where we are today”.  Kudos to the team that have been steadily working away at the equipment,  its a mammoth task to reverse 10 years of neglect and an exceptionally wet rainy season. However, I am confident that one day I will see this collection become the start of something greater. 
Class 14R-1704 in September 2010
Class 14R 1704 in December 2011
Class 14R 1704 in December 2011

Unfortunately, a lot of restoration is cosmetic in nature. These locos have been stolen dry, they will never be able to run again, but that doesn’t mean that they must look bad. Historically Class 19D-2644 is an important loco, and she languished for years, her smokebox obscured by trees. I saw her in June this year and already she was looking better. 

Class 19D-2644 Wardale (aka Spooky). before painting
Class 19D-2644 after cosmetic restoration commenced,
Sanrasm had a unique collection of coaches, amongst them were a half balcony diner called “Phantom Pass” which was left to rot, and a much “newer” diner called “Shashi” which was also left to rot. Phantom is in a poor condition but they are working towards stabilising her until it can be decided what to do.
Phantom Pass. September 2010. No work has been done on her in years
Phantom Pass. Cosmetically restored. June 2012
The years of neglect have taken their toll on her and it will be difficult to restore her to her former glory. Restoration would have been so much easier if only somebody had done something years ago! Shashi suffered from severe water damage and her interior is in a very poor condition. However, compared to what she looked like in May 2009. 
May 2009. She looked much worse by September 2010
Dec 2011, partly stripped of fittings and undergoing restoration.
It will take a lot of time, but eventually she will be restored. Fortunately she even has her kitchen coach on the site and it is hoped to mate them up together again one day. The kitchen coach suffered water damage and neglect like everything else on the site, but now her roof has been replaced and she is already looking better.
Kitchen Coach. Roof restored.
Amongst the other work that has been done is cosmetic restoration and repainting of 16DA-844.
Class 16DA-844. September 2011
December 2011.

Cosmetic restoration and painting of the Davenport Diesel formerly from North Site.

The Davenport Diesel from North Site. May 2009
The Davenport Diesel from North Site. Dec 2011

Painting of Class 6A-454 as well as Class 6A-473. Not too long ago 454 was still in steam, but she has lost so many fittings over the years that she may never move under her own steam again. 473 has lost her boiler cladding and smokebox front. Nobody could ever explain how that occurred.

Class 6A-454. December 2011.
Class 6A-473. August 2011.

The sad part is, how much was lost. The coaches at North Site that had not been scrapped were all burnt out, and many of the subs from South Site have been donating their wood to preserve what is left behind. I have reams of photographs of what never got this far, and those photographs all point to the person who thought that people would be interested in seeing a lot of rotten and derelict equipment. I am glad to see that the attitude has changed.
May 2009.
The same coach. December 2011.
There is still so much to be done, and with the rainy season upon us there will be even more difficulties, but I live in hope and will return next year to see  how things are looking. Hopefully I will see progress again, just as I have seen since last year.
Keep it up Geoff and his team.
Sanrasm exists no longer. The reality is that somewhere along the line (April 2014?), the scrap vultures entered the premises and cut the frames of some of the locos to get at the bearings, rendering the locos irreparable, and only fit for the scrap. Please refer to my post from 10/06/2014
DRW. © 2011-2019. Images recreated 20/03/2016