Andrew Giffen's 15F
Written by Andrew Giffen

A live steam model in 1" scale of the South African Railways Class 15F 4-8-2 locomotive "City of Cape Town".

It is finished in late-1960s SAR black livery, typical of a top passenger-link supershine locomotive with numerous steel washout plug casings, stainless steel boiler bands, and cosmetic detail including cab, builders and smoke deflector plates.

The loco was finished by Ron Etter in Johannesburg after the late Jimmy Scott completed the chassis and tender. This model was a true labour of love to produce a piece of artwork.

There is a lot of prototypical detail on this loco, and the working features include:

• five thermic siphons faithful to the prototype, supporting a ceramic brick arch, 4 superheater elements.
• steam reversing engine, complete with cab indicator & control lever quadrant and oil cataract and steam cylinders.
• combination vacuum ejector and steam brake valve
• brake system with prototypical vacuum cylinders and reservoirs, steam brake cylinder, compensated brake rods and blocks to all 8 coupled wheels
• steam manifolds/ turrets including cut-off valves, allowing cab-operated control of 10 steam services including:
• left- and right hand globe valve injector steam cut-offs
• steam to power rocking-grate cylinder
• steam to 48 000 rpm turbo-generator - output 6v
• blower
• smokebox ash remover
• steam to reversing engine
• steam to combo brake valve
• spindle for displacement lubricator – actually unpiped, loco has a mechanical lubricator
• ashpan has drenching pipes for fire-cleaning, water taken as per prototype from valve in injector feed line.
• cab-operated gravity sanding gear
• grate has steam and manual rocking levers for fire-cleaning, and two hinged drop-grate sections fore and aft, operating lever on footplate.
• left- and right hand cab-operated "everlasting" type blowdown valves with baffles
• smokebox poppet valve regulator with compensated rod mechanism from cab
• "Sellars" injector starting valves
• the SAR-type vertical injectors have in-line feedwater gauze strainers under cab.
• Tender has a (non prototypical )steam brake cylinder instead of vacuum cylinder, working in conjunction with locomotive steam brake, applied to all 8 tender wheels.

It also has the usual cylinder drain cocks, axle pump to tubeplate clack via feedwater heater, compensating beams between all leaf springs for coupled wheels, working "Alliance" type SAR knuckle couplers to both locomotive and tender, tender manual wind-down hand brake, cylinder-mounted snifter valves, scale fittings, 4x Ross pop safety valves pressed to 90psi, main boiler pressure gauge to 150 psi and very large concealed SAR 3-tone chime whistle.

It has competed in the 2009 IMLEC, winning the 3.5" gauge class with a train of 17 adults (10th overall).

Length across the buffers, engine and tender: 6 foot
Width: 10 inches
Height : 13 inches
Dry weight (engine) : 130 kgs (tender) 35 kgs
Grate area: 42 sq. inches
Cylinder bore: 1 3/4 inches
Cylinder stroke: 2 inches
Coupled wheel diameter: 5 inches
Wheel arrangement : 4-8-2
Gauge : 3.5"