Based on Meccano 5 ½” circular girders as main driving wheels, the idea for this model came from a close personal association with this locomotive. I first saw one in 1952 when it was lifted ashore in the Cape Town Sturrock Graving Dock in Table Bay. It had arrived on the Clan Shaw from Glasgow, having been built by North British Locomotive Company and Beyer Peacock. It joined 250 other similar main line locomotives on SAR 3’6” gauge track.
Later it pulled my train from Cape Town to Johannesburg, and I fondly remember it straining to pull 15 carriages up to Touws River over the Hex River Pass.
There is another memory. A Meccano model of an SAR locomotive was exhibited at the Selbourne Hall in Johannesburg in 1974 and it had 5 ½” driving wheels and it made a profound impression on me. Ever since, I have wanted to build such a model and the Class 15F was a natural choice. It is a massive project, and I have decided to try and model the locomotive not by reproducing every detail, but by sculpting and showing its outward appearance as accurately as possible with moving wheels and full valve gear. I thought long and deep about the driving wheels which are such an important part of the model. For the Meccano purist, to use anything but Meccano here is not a good idea, but modern technology has provided an answer and that is 3D drawing, 3D printing, Silicone mold making and resin casting. In this way, extremely realistic wheels have been made. Another non Meccano part is the boiler. It has been made from thin etched aluminium sheet which has been used in a printing machine. The rest is pure Meccano – table top engineering with readily available parts. My thanks to Eric Hales for the 3D drawings.
SAR Class 15F Locomotive
Resin Cast drivng wheels and a Meccano 5.5" wheel