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Eastwards from Germiston Part 2: Brakpan and Modder-B to Springs and Nigel by Les Pivnic and Peter Micenko ©

THE “SPRINGS EASTWARD” RAILWAY

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Part 2: Modder-B to Springs and Nigel

Having approached Springs from the Benoni side as far as Brakpan, we will now move to another line that takes off at Dunswart and proceeds via Northmead, Modder-B, Alliance and Welgedag to Springs. We will pause at Springs to visit the small steam depot at that station and take in a few scenes in the Station Yard before moving down the line to Nigel. We need hardly remind you that in order to make head-or-tail of the maze of tracks in this area you should study Bruno’s maps.


1. The overall map covering "Eastwards from Germiston Parts 1 and 2


2. Enlargement of the part of Bruno's map that deals with Part 2: Brakpan and Modder-B to Springs and Nigel

As previously mentioned, the electrified Reef suburban service terminated at Springs and it was necessary to change to a steam-hauled suburban service to Nigel. This latter used to continue on to Heidelberg but due to lack of support the service south of Nigel was stopped in 1959 about the time when, after more than 50 year’s service on the reef, the superb ex-CSAR class 10 Pacifics were replaced by 16R/CRs. In addition there was a steam-hauled pick-up that ran from Springs to Heidelberg until the early 1980’s when it changed to a shunt engine running from Balfour North.

Alliance was a junction station with a short electrified double track branch continuing a few km into the outskirts of Daveyton. Provision had been made to extend the line further into Daveyton but this never eventuated. A busy suburban service worked from Dunswart to Daveyton.

Dunswart was also interesting in the past for its traffic associated with a nearby racecourse located just to the north of the station. Later, when horse racing declined the area became a ‘hot rod’ track. Associated with the racecourse was a brick-built platform just to the north of the Down main of the Daveyton line. This platform face was visible well into the 1980’s until it was covered over by the expansion of the nearby steel mill activities.

Welgedag was a major junction with the lines from Springs, Apex and Alliance all feeding into the Up side of the yard while the Down side fed into the double track (triple in places) line to Ogies , Witbank and the Coalfields. In latter days the Bapsfontein (Sentrarand) link lines necessitated many extra lines criss-crossing the network but this is outside the scope of this chapter.

Near Modder B, the Dunswart-Alliance railway line crossed the Putfontein Road linking Springs with the Witbank Freeway. Bruno’s map shows a former railway alignment from days of yore following the contours of the land. This was later deviated with large earthworks to provide a more direct alignment. Of interest, was the need much later when road traffic increased for this re-aligned railway to be lifted over 2 m in early 1982 on an already relatively steep gradient to facilitate the crossing of the new double-lane highway. This was done by the local track maintenance gang, under traffic, over a few months, without disturbing train services. This sort of work was well within the calibre of track maintenance personnel in those days.

Briefly recapping on the layout (see the maps): Springs as a junction had the following lines entering from the south: namely the single track electrified line from Rooikop, the double track, electrified line from Johannesburg via Apex, the single track line from Kaydale via Nigel and the Private siding from Sallies and Ergo. The Northern side was simpler but equally busy, with the single-track electrified lines from Welgedag and single-track non electrified line to Bethal. In essence Springs was a through station, a terminal and also a reversing station. Trains working was a mixture. The suburban lines to Johannesburg were automatic electric colour light signals, as was the “suburban “ line from Dunswart to Alliance, the Nigel line was worked by the Van Schoor system with semaphore signals once trains had cleared the electric colour lights in Springs. The Springs-Welgedag line was a form of CTC with colour light signals and track circuits. From memory the Apex-Welgedag double track line was worked by Tyers “Lock and Block” with semaphore signals at Modrea and Geduld.

When the Australian coach-building company “Commonwealth Engineering” won the first of many contracts to build coaches and locomotives for the SAR, they established a large factory and works at Nigel and in time built hundreds of coaches – both suburban and mainline – as well as the new Blue Trains that were placed in service in 1972.

So the Nigel line became busier as a delivery route for new stock although much of this rolling stock took the Heidelberg route via Kaydale. In addition Nigel provided a mix of traffic which varied from quite rural, supplying much maize and agricultural traffic as well as having many industries on route which fed even more traffic into the line via normal station goods shed activities and also numerous industrial private sidings.

When livestock traffic still was conveyed by rail, the abattoir at Springs, like Benoni, necessitated its own daily, including Sundays, shunt locomotive.

Prior to the Bapsfontein link lines from the Vereeniging, a lot of traffic was directed from the Durban main at Kaydale, via Nigel to Springs and then onto Welgedag and Bapsfontein. The old 40 and 48 kg/m rails on steel/timber sleepers were taking a hammering so as a “stop gap”, the Nigel line was re-laid with the heavy FY/PY concrete sleepers. These sleepers are more commonly associated with the heavy haul lines but were the only ones available at this period of high demand for concrete sleepers.

For more than 30 years, until 1959, the Springs-Nigel-Heidelberg passenger service was worked by the graceful ex-CSAR class 10 express-passenger pacifics, later replaced by 16CRs. During this latter period a rather special visitor made a brief appearance on the service - none other than the famous Capetonian – class 5R No 781 of Strand Express fame! More of this with the captions.

Until December 1959 Springs Loco was really a sub-depot of Germiston – the latter being for many years the largest steam shed in South Africa. During the 1960s Springs rostered several classes of engine – e.g. 12R, 12A, 12AR, 15AR, 15F, 16R/CR, S, S1, S2 with the 5R making a brief appearance in 1966 before being transferred to Germiston as station pilot. Many of the shunt turns on the Germiston - Springs line were shared with Germiston depot, and all of the many Welgedag yard shunts were Springs turns.

Much shunting and train marshalling took place in Springs with traffic coming in from the many private sidings in the East Rand as well as the reversal of trains (in essence due to the need to remarshal the 4-wheel wagons and guards vans) dictated by the source and onward directions of various trains. More of this is described elsewhere.

Springs loco, under its Technical Superintendent Fanie Coetzee, should also be noted for its efforts not only in restoring several locomotives for museum duties but more importantly for being the first SAR locomotive depot to achieve a NOSA 5-star safety rating. Not something one normally associates with a steam locomotive depot. In later years, Fanie Coetzee, ably assisted by a dynamic team of boiler makers and fitters, including the redoubtable Pat Richards, restored several prestige engines and museum locomotives. The “Emil Kessler” which stood for many decades as a static National Monument was restored to operating condition for the centenary of the “Rand Tram”. One urban legend was that valve setting was supposed to be only performed in the main workshops but many drivers coerced Pat to reset and adjust their locomotive’s valve gear and it was a feature of Springs to see his chalked measurements and calculations on cylinder covers - literal evidence that he knew what he was doing. The drivers agreed as they experienced improved performance of their engines.

Class 10 No 744 was eventually mounted outside the main station building. This was one of the first engines to be plinthed as part of S A Railway Museum policy. Les's boss and colleague Jan Coffee was very enthusiastic about this development of placing locomotives at local stations around the country. At the time I shared his enthusiasm because it was a way to preserve several classes of locomotive and save them for future generations to admire. When we attended the function in the Mayor’s Parlour the excitement at having No 744 mounted at the station as a monument drew smiles all around! But in time, the euphoria at the Mayor's party would be forgotten and the Station Master would claim that he didn’t have the budget to employ an additional labourer to keep the engine shining. This attitude was debatable but we in the Museum could not argue against it. We even tried asking the nearest loco depot to maintain these relics that were springing up all over the place but that didn’t work either. At that early stage we could not foresee that the policy would in time be abandoned mainly due to the lack of maintenance of the old relics.


3. In case you were wondering why we would pick up our saga at Modder-B, here is the reason: Dave Parsons chased the 1947 Royal Train to Alliance where it was staged overnight while the train was on the Reef. He got a couple of shots of the train at Modder-B en route to Alliance of which this is the first. As can be seen a class 15F is in charge but its number was not recorded. The reason for staging the train at Alliance is a mystery. In my copy of the “Special Instructions in connection with the running of the trains conveying Their Majesties The King and Queen and Their Royal Highnesses – The Princess Elizabeth and Margaret during their tour over the South African Railways”, there is no mention of the train staging at Alliance BUT Dave was there and made the photographs to prove it! It should be noted that the Royal Party was not on board at the time. The “Special Instructions” referred to shows the train arriving on the Reef from Pretoria behind three class 1E locomotives (nos.168, 170 & 172) and then after staging, leaving the Reef behind classes 4AR No 1554 and GM Garratt No 2298 for Zeerust and Mafeking where Rhodesia Railways locomotives took over. The Royal Party had flown direct to Rhodesia from Pretoria whereafter they re-joined the train for their return to the Union and Cape Town from whence they boarded HMS Vanguard for their return to England.


4. Dave’s second shot at Modder-B showing the train heading towards Alliance. When the train left Alliance it was taken via the Rand Mineral Line avoiding Johannesburg. It is presumed that the 15F worked the train probably to Booysens where the class 4AR and GM would have taken over.


5. A class 4AR in beautiful condition with what looks like a livestock working, photographed by Dave on the East Rand. The date and location are unknown but the inclusion of this absolutely splendid shot here is about right.


6. A wonderful SAR photograph made in the evening rush hour at Springs just after the arrival of an EMU from Johannesburg and Randfontein. Closer examination reveals that the train is carrying 2nd class passengers as well as first and third – the latter out of view to the right. As late as the 1950s 2nd-class was still available on SAR suburban trains. Later, 2nd class was abolished leaving only the 1st and 3rd classes on local services. You can almost hear the “thunk!” of those side doors slamming closed!


7. An overview of Springs Station showing three EMUs – a 5M set on the left in red & grey livery at platform 4 with a 2M set alongside on platform 5. The third is in the far background and is still in the original “Smoke Grey” (light blue) livery.

8. Back in September 1959 I photographed a virtually new 5M EMU in “Smoke Grey” livery departing Springs for Johannesburg and Randfontein. Note that the coaches are still in original condition before gutters were fitted to the roof-line. They were fitted at a later date to prevent muck from the roof washing down the sides of the vehicles.


9. On a visit to Springs on 31st July 1960 I found this 12AR No 2109 standing at platform 4 after arrival from Breyten at 2.15pm with a passenger train. On the left a 2M EMU was waiting to depart from platform 5 for Johannesburg and Randfontein.


10. Class 16R No 797 sets off from platform 4 with a local passenger for Nigel in September 1959. Most engines on the Nigel run had regular crews which resulted in nice clean motive power for this service!


11. Two 12Rs pulling into Springs Yard c 1955 with a heavy goods load which would need to be sorted before moving on.


12. Moving on some 30 years from photo 11 above, until just before completion of the first module of the greenfield Sentrarand (Bapsfontein) marshalling yard in the mid 1980s there was a lot of shunting in Springs, as trains from Bethal bound for Welgedag had to be reversed, involving not only the guards van being repositioned at the new rear of the train but also the 4 wheel wagons which had to be moved to their positions behind the bogie stock as decreed by the General Appendix. Here we see a relatively clean 15F placing 4 wheelers at the back of a northbound train. Behind can be glimpsed the “EW” tender of another 15F. This scene was at the southern end of Springs Station, in the vicinity of the Fifth Avenue subway.


13. Springs Yard. In the early 1980’s a clean “austerity 15F” sits coupled to a “short” guards van. Possibly the engine was awaiting a remarshalled train rather than about to depart with a caboose hop. On the adjacent lines are an LA-type refrigerator truck on the left while an electric goods train waits its turn on the right.


14. On 6th May 1961 a small group of RSSA members visited Springs Loco. This was our first view of the depot that day – a relatively small shed but interesting with an allocation of 31 engines in eight different classes.

15. As we walked into the shed, I spotted these two 12Rs simmering quietly waiting to go on duty. Harold Hill was the Loco Foreman at this time. He got used to us popping into his depot to have a look around and would say “You know the drill – watch out for moving engines!”


16. A fitter in the shed kindly agreed to photograph our group which consisted of Pat Cavanagh, Les Pivnic, Dougie Fallwell and a chap by the name of Williams. Dougie Fallwell was a New Zealander who spent a year or two living in Johannesburg to soak up the SAR steam scene. He later moved to England.


17. Boxing Day 1959 at Springs Loco – note the 15F with a little leafy decoration for Christmas! On the left two 12Rs simmer quietly in the shed yard – not much going on during the festive season.


18. In the preamble to this chapter I mentioned that P A Hyde's extremely effective and elegant ex-CSAR class 10s were also used on the Nigel service. Here is engine 740 beautifully maintained by her regular crew and photographed on 25 October 1959 at Springs mpd in between passenger duties. Completion of the electrification projects from the Reef to Kroonstad and Witbank released large numbers of classes 15 and 16 so during December 1959 No 740 along with her eleven surviving sisters at Germiston were transferred to the Cape Midland for the Uitenhage and other local services. On the Cape Midland these purely Transvaal engines did not receive the reverent care that was their due - some years later I saw this same engine in PE on the shunt and at Sydenham Loco looking drab and dirty.


19. On 25 October 1959, a very respectable class 12AR occupied the ash pits to have her fire cleaned.


20. 16CR No 828 at rest in Springs shed on 2nd April 1961. At the time she was carrying the nameplate “Thelma” after the wife of the outstanding senior chargehand fitter at Springs, Pat Richards. In later years Thelma transmogrified into class 7A No 991 (see photos 22 and 24!)


21. On 4th December 1966 I found the well-known Capetonian – the solitary class 5R No 781 – staged out of service in Springs Loco. Only a week earlier, I had photographed her working a local passenger train to Nigel (see photo 36 below) but now she was already looking rather forlorn – a sad end for such a famous engine.

After completion of the Cape Town – Somerset Strand electrification in 1963 No 781 had become something of a nomad, doing stints at Nylstroom, Capital Park and, when the Eastern Transvaal System said they had no more work for her, Springs on the Western Transvaal System. Because of her prestigious career in passenger service she was tried on the Nigel locals but was not popular with the enginemen. 781 was then transferred to Germiston where she was used as station pilot for the rest of her time in active service


22. By November 1964 the “Thelma” nameplate previously on 16CR No 828 had been fitted to smartly bulled up 7A No 991. I must have used half a roll of film on her. Here she is in all her glory with her proud driver on the footplate! I recall that she remained in this beautiful condition for some time while employed as the shed pilot at Springs.


23. Driver Venter and his fireman kept Thelma immaculate!


24. Michael Stephen's classic Cape 7th class lines of No 991


25. Just over a year later on 20 February 1966, Thelma was still the pride and joy of Springs Loco!


26. For the centenary of the Rand Tram (see chapter one of the Western Transvaal System), the NZASM 14 tonner 0-4-0T "Emil Kessler" – a national monument – was removed from its plinth in the Railway Museum in South Station Building in Johannesburg and restored to running order by the late Pat Richards under the direction of Springs loco foreman Fanie Coetzee. Apparently the boiler was in excellent condition as was the locomotive generally. These tiny engines had outside Allan straight-link motion as did the slightly larger NZASM 0-4-2Ts. Later NZASM locomotives had Walschaerts valve gear. After performing several runs between Springs and Johannesburg during the week of festivities, this tiny locomotive was parked off securely at Springs along with several other museum engines that were being worked on by Pat, notably the GL Garratt and the S2 shunter.


27. On an Autumn evening in 1990 blue-liveried museum engine, 16DA No 879, was in Springs loco prior to working the regular Kinross shunt the next day. This train was extended to Bethal to facilitate turning and 879 worked healthy goods loads in both directions. These 16DAs not only embodied some of former C.M.E. A G Watson's thoughts on larger wheel diameters* and wider fireboxes to increase shopping mileages and reduce combustion rates, but an early photo shows this particular locomotive originally carried Lentz valve gear until replaced later with the more normal Walschaerts valve gear as used on her sisters (described by Espitalier and Day in their series “The locomotive in South Africa” in the SAR&H magazine for June 1946, page 455)

* Note that #879 has reverted to a 5'-0" diameter driving wheel after being fitted with 5'-3" wheels for most of her career. Today this fine pacific is employed by Atlantic Rail on their Simonstown excursions out of Cape Town.


28. Glimpsed through a side door of the running shed: the front end of a 12A behind one of her sisters.


29. On the same day in February 1966 this 15F named “Benoni” was ready to go out on duty. This shot brought another pleasant visit to Springs Loco to an end.

30. This view of the northern end of Springs shed shows a regular engine “Die Kavalier” in front of several other 15F’s. The name was based on a popular TV musical personality at the time. On the left is a pile of used brake blocks and the permanent way gang has some rails cascaded from the main line ready to be installed in the loco yard.



31. Another portrait of “Die Kavalier” in the mid 1980s in beautiful external condition. Knowing the excellence of the maintenance personnel at Springs she would most likely have been in good internal shape as well. 


32. In the late 1980s the Springs “prestige” engine was No 3135. Named “Mathilda” after loco foreman Fanie Coetzee’s daughter, and carrying the official “Springs” nameplates on her smoke deflectors, the engine is seen here manoeuvring around the northern end of the depot. 3135 seemed to be painted a non-standard black, this night shot shows her almost invisible blue livery to good effect.


33. This night shot of No 3135 shows its polished pipe work and cab controls, the stoker conveyor and stoker jet controls to effect. The cast-steel casing which houses the stoker worm is clearly visible angling upwards towards the firebox door. Bulled-up brass work was a feature of SAR passenger-link locomotives – demonstrating South African footplate crews’ pride in their work.


34. This 1976 view of Springs Depot taken from over the fence, shows that in addition to a host of 15Fs, Spring’s sole remaining 12R and a visiting 15CA were on shed that weekend. Although this was a compact depot it did have the drawback that this scene was also visible to Springs Municipality’s officials in their new, thoroughly modern Civic Centre across the road. The “Voorkom Swart Rook- Prevent Black Smoke” signs needed strict adherence as a result. Despite this, Springs maintained steam well into the 1990’s, in no small measure due to their Technical Superintendent and team’s standing and five-star NOSA safety rating. This scene shows that the track gangs have been busy with two newly-built turnouts awaiting an opportunity to slew them into the track.


35. In the early 1980's, just after the morning peak, the driver of a nice clean 15F has the regulator in the roof as he lifts a heavy goods for Nigel from a standing start out of Springs yard. The train is about to cross the Fifth Avenue subway and the driver has to contend with dubious adhesion conditions as he snakes through the eight turnouts needed to cross the Rooikop and Springs Platform roads to gain access to the Nigel line. He then still has to contend with the resultant drag on the train as it negotiates these crossovers before running parallel with the Apex and Rooikop lines where he can shut off and begin dropping down into a cutting which takes the Nigel line under the Springs West Road and the "Sallies" private siding. Generally, but not always, the Nigel shunt departed Springs tender first to facilitate shunting the several long sidings out of Nigel plus the almost continuous climb back to Springs at the end of the shift, usually with a full goods load.


36. As mentioned in the caption to photo 21, on 27th November 1966 class 5R No 781 was in action on the Nigel locals in what turned out to be an all too brief return to passenger working for this legendary locomotive.


37. On the same day, another shot of her working the Nigel train near Dunnottar. I was highly pleased to see 781 back on passenger duty but didn’t realise that it would be so short-lived. Not long after these photos and those of her in the shed were taken she was transferred to Germiston where she would spend the last active days of her life.

38. Dave Parsons took this lovely shot of a class 24 working a Nigel local from Springs. Although the 24s were maids-of-all-work it seemed much more appropriate to see a pacific at the head of these trains but by 1973 pooled class 24s had become the stock motive power for the Nigel run.  Australian-born Michael Carter was a fireman on the Nigel turns and he has sent us this first-hand account of the service in those days: "Regarding the Nigel service I was fortunate to fire on the passenger link for two years (1973 - 1975). My regular driver was Piet Grobbelaar. We didn't have regular engines though. I think at the time there were about six class 24's stabled at Springs shed and they were all pooled. The timings to Nigel were quite tight and we only had about 5 - 7 minutes to turn around at Nigel. The Station Foreman would often bring us the tablet before we had coupled up to the other end of the train. In winter we also had to uncouple the steam heating pipes at one end and couple them up at the other end. My driver insisted that we used the steam heating in winter, some of the other drivers couldn't be bothered - it was too much trouble."  

"We had a water column and ash pit at Springs station for the locals. The water column had a Chubb lock so you first had to isolate the electricity before filling the tender. It was possible to do two trips to Nigel before cleaning the fire, although on one occasion (standing in for another fireman) I fired the afternoon shift for Driver Minnie. He worked his engine very lightly and I managed three trips without cleaning the fire. It doesn't get better than that!  In fact it did. I had a good working relationship with Piet Grobbelaar and he would often give me the opportunity to take the regulator on a trip to Nigel and back."


39. Turning the clock back to October 1959, here is 16CR No 837 working a Nigel train near Dunnottar. Her regular driver was obviously keeping her in good shape!


40. From the Heritage Library collection comes this superb image of the Kaydale - Springs train photographed by the late Frank Garrison before the service was cut back to Nigel.

41. From the late 1980s Head Office made arrangements for the Friday afternoon "Trans Karoo" express passenger to be steam hauled from Johannesburg to Klerksdorp. This continued for several years and was highly popular with the travelling public. Some time after these operations began Springs Depot carried out some maintenance work on the normal locomotive for this train, class 25NC No 3476 (named “Griet” after the wife of the General Manager, the late Braam le Roux). The repairs were tested by giving 3476 an opportunity to stretch her legs on a local freight out of Springs. At that stage, one of the last road turns for that depot’s steam locomotives was the daily Nigel shunt which generally had a very heavy load for its afternoon return trip. On this summer afternoon early in 1990 3476 leads Springs prestige engine 3135 upgrade between Servaas and Dunnottar. The first wagon in the train is the Springs caboose in which the fitters were riding. As you can see, by this time the Springs-Heidelberg line had been electrified.


42. On rare occasions, the usual pacific would be replaced by another class of loco. Here is a 12A working the Nigel train near Struisbult on 24th October 1959.



43. With its usual motive power back in charge, a class 16CR brings a Nigel local downgrade just north of Dunottar in June 1968 



44. In June 1962 Les took a trip on the Nigel local from Springs with a 16CR in charge. Here we are approaching Nigel



45. The 16:11 (SuO) Springs-Nigel arriving at Nigel in June 1968. In the background, to the left of the parachute tank is a rake of brand-new stock for 5M sets from the Union Carriage & Wagon factory in Nigel.


46. At Nigel the 16CR ran around for the return working to Springs – running tender first. Although the timetable didn’t require any spirited performances from the 16CR, it was a very pleasant outing (refer Les's photo 43).



47. The 25th of February 1961 was a red-letter day for the Union Carriage & Wagon Co, as well as the SAR. On this day, the first 5M2A EMU set produced in the factory at Nigel was handed over to the SAR. Frank Garrison and I were invited to the function and a few photos were taken.


48. The other end of the new set with a driving trailer bringing up the rear. This set was destined for service in Cape Town replacing the 4M stock there.


49. In the mid 1970's the construction of the new Central Marshalling Yard at Bapsfontein required new link lines to connect it into many of the existing mainlines from De Wildt north west of Pretoria on the Pietersburg main line; to Klipriver on the main line to the south; and Glenroy in the south east on the Natal main line. This particular scene is on the Apex to Welgedag line near Cowles Dam and shows some of the new construction. Circa 1983, the district engineer (Rudi Basson), senior district supervisor ("Fanie" Olivier) and the permanent way inspector ("Stokkies" Greyling), all from Springs maintenance depot, take time from their trolley trip to inspect track support works associated with a new rail underpass which was being "jacked" under the existing line necessitating strapping above the sleepers and a grid of steel beams beneath the track. This new line would turn and link in to the Alliance -Welgedag line. In the medium distance an overpass to connect directly into Bapsfontein is being constructed as part of the same scheme and in the far distance is Welgedag yard.


50. Towards the end of steam at Springs shed, Fanie Coetzee managed to squeeze in an overhaul of former Springs prestige 15F No. 2985 which had languished for a while having been eclipsed by the restorations of 3135 and 3422. As such it was one of the last engines to receive a substantial overhaul and was tested on a run to Heidelberg with a few of the Johannesburg locomotive department officers for the occasion. The photo seems to capture the pride in the job of the shed staff at Springs. Fanie, wearing a pullover, is standing on the track next to Springs locomotive inspector Perry McMahon, on his right.

For the occasion 15F No.2985 was named Alida. The group are shown here at Heidelberg. Later this engine put in many solid runs out of Waterval Boven. It is understood that 2985 was one of the 15F's that worked at Newcastle shed in Natal in the late 1970's and was selected to pull an early RSSA special between Newcastle and Volksrust as part of a "Corridor Dining Car Express". It was claimed that the driver certainly made a fast run up Amajuba and was very quick to hose off the fly ash from the top of the smoke box and boiler as soon as the train came to a stop in Volksrust. Possibly another urban legend.


51. After the engine had been turned and while the Springs drivers greased up the motion and prepared the fire for the return, Peter took the opportunity for a sitting duck shot of No 2985. Later 2985 would meet up with 3422 at Nigel and the two locomotives would doublehead a full load back to Springs


52. Although Les's lists show no class S (0-8-0 shunter) allocated to Springs at the time this photo was made in June 1968, here is photographic proof that it had at least one of the class - perhaps on loan from Germiston. The late Dusty Durrant also reported this combination of classes S2 and S at Springs on several occasions and a very good photo is illustrated in his "Twilight of South African Steam". The daily abattoir shunt was a feature of Springs operations. The trains were invariably heavy (Transvalers eat a lot of meat) and this extremely rare combination of two of SAR's shunting classes was charging the bank in impressive style.



53. For some reason, photos of the S1s at work also seem to be rare. Springs' solitary example of the class was entering the Sallies* exchange yard in July 1972

*The South African Lands and Exploration Co Ltd 

54. As a lead-in to the next chapter – out from Springs to Bethal – here is 15F 2916 departing Springs with the passenger train for Bethal and Breyten on 6th May 1961.

In chapter 15 of the Western Transvaal System story we'll journey from Springs on the line to Bethal and we’ll take a trip down the secondary line from Bethal to Volksrust as well. Thank you for bearing with us and please let us have your feedback.