PPR 35 Tonner 4-6-0T Portuguese

The Pretoria-Pietersburg Railway 35 Tonner 4-6-0T of 1887 was a South African steam locomotive from the pre-Union era in Transvaal.

Delagoa Bay Railway 4-6-0T
PPR 35 Tonner 4-6-0T Portuguese
NZASM 35 Tonner 4-6-0T
IMR 4-6-0T 1887
CSAR 4-6-0T 1887
PPR 35 Tonner 4-6-0T Portuguese.jpg
35 Tonner Portuguese, c. 1898
Type and origin
Power typeSteam
DesignerNasmyth, Wilson & Company
BuilderNasmyth, Wilson & Company
Serial number324-325
Build date1887
Total produced2
 • Whyte4-6-0T (Tenwheeler)
 • UIC2'Cn2t
Driver2nd coupled axle
Gauge3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) Cape gauge
Leading dia.25+12 in (648 mm)
Coupled dia.44 in (1,118 mm)
Wheelbase19 ft 10+14 in (6,052 mm)
 • Coupled11 ft 3 in (3,429 mm)
Wheel spacing
1-2: 3 ft 11 in (1,194 mm)
2-3: 7 ft 4 in (2,235 mm)
 • Over couplers28 ft 8 in (8,738 mm)
Height11 ft 8+12 in (3,569 mm)
Loco weight35 LT (35,560 kg)
Fuel typeCoal
Fuel capacity1 LT 10 cwt (1.5 t)
Water cap840 imp gal (3,820 l)
Firebox typeRound-top
 • Firegrate area11.5 sq ft (1.07 m2)
 • Pitch5 ft 8 in (1,727 mm)
 • Small tubes151: 1+12 in (38 mm)
Boiler pressure140 psi (965 kPa)
Safety valveRamsbottom
Cylinder size14 in (356 mm) bore
20 in (508 mm) stroke
Valve gearStephenson
CouplersJohnston link-and-pin
Performance figures
Tractive effort9,354 lbf (41.61 kN) @ 75%
OperatorsDelagoa Bay Railway
Pretoria-Pietersburg Railway
Imperial Military Railways
Central South African Railways
Olifantsfontein Brick & Tile
ClassPPR 35 Tonner
Number in class1
NumbersDelagoa Bay no. 3
Official namePortuguese
First run1887
For lack of a classification, the locomotive is referred to as a 35 Tonner since the NZASM, who took possession of the PPR, classified its own locomotives according to their weight

The Lourenco Marques, Delagoa Bay and East Africa Railway in Mozambique placed two tank locomotives with a 4-6-0 Tenwheeler type wheel arrangement in service in 1887. One of them was sold to the Pretoria-Pietersburg Railway in the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek in 1897. The 35 Tonner locomotive was not classified, but named Portuguese and referred to by name.[1]

The Pretoria-Pietersburg RailwayEdit

The Pretoria-Pietersburg Railway Company (PPR), incorporated in London on 13 May 1896 with a capital of £500,000, constructed a railway which operated northwards from Pretoria West via Warmbad and Nylstroom to Pietersburg. The 176-mile long (283-kilometre) railway was constructed under a concession granted by the government of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR) to Hendrik Jacobus Schoeman on 30 October 1895. Construction commenced in 1897 and the first 80 miles (130 kilometres) to Nylstroom was opened to traffic by 1 July 1898. Pietersburg was reached on 31 May 1899.[1]

Origin and manufacturerEdit

The Lourenco Marques, Delagoa Bay and East Africa Railway (the Delagoa Bay Railway) in Mozambique placed two tank locomotives with a 4-6-0 Tenwheeler type wheel arrangement in service in 1887, built by Nasmyth, Wilson and Company and numbered 3 and 4.[1]


Pretoria-Pietersburg RailwayEdit

Ten years later, in 1897, the Delagoa Bay's engine no. 3 was sold to the PPR. The locomotive was not classified or numbered by the PPR, but named Portuguese. It became commonly known as the Portuguese Tank.[1]

Since the first part of their railway to Nylstroom was still being built, the PPR employed the Portuguese on construction work and general service. The locomotive had the honour to haul the first revenue-earning train between Pretoria and Nylstroom in July 1898.[1]


As a result of the outbreak of the Second Boer War and since the PPR was owned by a British registered company, the railway and its rolling stock were seized by the ZAR government in October 1899, only five months after the line to Pietersburg was completed. The railway was then briefly worked by the Nederlandsche-Zuid-Afrikaansche Spoorweg-Maatschappij (NZASM).[1][2]

Imperial Military RailwaysEdit

All railway operations in the two Boer Republics, the ZAR and the Orange Free State, were taken over by the Imperial Military Railways (IMR) in late 1899 and were operated as a single railway system for the duration of the war.[2]

Central South African RailwaysEdit

The engine Portuguese survived the war. At the end of the war in 1902, the IMR was transformed into the Central South African Railways (CSAR).[1]


In 1908, the CSAR sold the Portuguese to the Olifantsfontein Brick and Tile Company for £750. It was used there as a yard shunting locomotive for the remainder of its working years.[1]


The pictures illustrate the Portuguese at work during construction of the railway to Pietersburg.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Holland, D.F. (1971). Steam Locomotives of the South African Railways. 1: 1859–1910 (1st ed.). Newton Abbott, England: David & Charles. pp. 118–119. ISBN 978-0-7153-5382-0.
  2. ^ a b The South African Railways - Historical Survey. Editor George Hart, Publisher Bill Hart, Sponsored by Dorbyl Ltd., Published c. 1978, p. 20, 22-23.