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NBL Locomotive, South Africa

Mitchell Library, Glasgow Collection

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NBL Locomotive, South Africa

The Blue Train passing Table Mountain in South Africa, hauled by a Class 15F Locomotive built by the North British Locomotive Co, c 1952. The Blue Train is one of the great train journeys of the world, connecting Pretoria with Cape Town. The distinctive blue livery dates from 1923.

The 4-8-2 Class 15F engine was one of an order for sixty such locomotives placed by South African Railways with the North British Locomotive Co in 1944. They were built at the firm's Hyde Park Works in Springburn. Orders for South Africa were shipped to Durban, where there was no crane big enough to lift a complete engine and so boilers, frames, sidetanks and wheels were sent separately.

NBL also supplied locomotives to Egypt, Kenya, Sudan, Uganda, Nigeria, Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Between 1903 and 1953, the firm built a total of 1,603 locomotives for export to the continent of Africa, 856 of which were for South Africa. It is a tribute to the solidity of these machines that some of them are still in working order in the 21st century.

Reference: NBL 131

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning

Blue Trains, Class 15F, engines, Hyde Park Works, locomotive builders, NBL, North British Locomotive Co, South African Railways, steam locomotives, Table Mountain, trains

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