‘Red Devil’ back in steam

AFTER 14 years out of service the unique South African Railways (SAR) Class 26 4-8-4 No. 3450 – named the ‘Red Devil’ – returned to main line service.

This followed a overhaul at Worcester (180km north-east of Cape Town) on July 3.

Overnight steam tests were carried out on July 2, followed by yard tests in the morning, and after a few adjustments the locomotive ran on the main line to Cape Town in the afternoon.

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Newly restored Class 26 No. 3450 ‘Red Devil’ climbing Goree Heights, near Robertson, in the Western Cape, on July 14, with its first public trip in 14 years. Inset below: The loco now has new cast number plates showing it is part of the Transnet Heritage Foundation fleet. BOTH: PETER ROGERS

The locomotive had last been used in 2004, being stored out of use, but cared for by private enthusiasts on behalf of the Transnet Heritage Foundation (THF) at Monument Station, in Cape Town, until this year.

Its four-month long restoration to working order this year was funded by Ceres Rail, a Cape Town-based steam tourist train operator. The restoration included boiler and ashpan repairs and the replacement of boiler lagging and other fixtures.

The tender was refurbished at Voorbaai Depot, in Mossel Bay, east of Cape Town. When the overhaul work was completed, the ‘Red Devil’ underwent a total repaint into the signature vermillion livery that gives it its nickname.

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