This locomotive was introduced to the SAR with the placing in service during 1948 and 1949 of one hundred Class 24 branch-line locomotives built by North British Locomotive Company (NBL). These locos were designed by then Chief Mechanical Engineer, M.M. Loubser (father of the former SAR General Manager, Dr Kobus Loubser). They were intended specifically to replace the aging 6th, 7th and 8th class locomotives and were designed to operate on very light 45 lb/yard branch-line rail (22 kg/m).
Locomotive No. 3664 was the first locomotive to be allocated to FOTR for preservation. This particular loco was built in 1949 by NBL (builder's number 26386/49) in Glasgow, Scotland. In her last years of service, No. 3664 was based at the Sydenham Depot (Port Elizabeth), often working on the rural Cookhouse to Somerset East branch line where she hauled the last steam train on that line in March 1988. The loco finally ended its SAR working duties in 1988 doing shunting at Cookhouse.
The Class 15F is undoubtedly the most famous of all the SA Railways' main-line locomotives. So popular and useful did the "F", as this class is affectionately known, prove to be that a total of 255 locos were built in six batches between 1938 and 1948, making it the most numerous steam class not only on SAR but on the African continent.
The first Class 15F locomotive to be restored into FOTR's service, No 3094, was one of the final batch of 15Fs in 1947 by the North British Locomotive Company (NBL) in Glasgow, Scotland. This loco is well-travelled, even having been on loan to the then Rhodesia Railways in the late 1970's. Back in South Africa, the loco was initially based at Volksrust and Springs before coming to Capital Park, Pretoria in the late 1980's.
Consequent upon a need in 2007 for major and expensive repairs to 3094, FOTR restored its second 15F, No 3117, which was returned to the rails in December 2008 after 17 years' of standing.
Friends of the Rail's workhorse Class 19D steam locomotive, No. 2650, was built in 1938 and is part of the second batch built made by the famous German engineering and armaments manufacturer, Friedland Krupp of Essen. No. 2650 is set apart from most of her siblings in having been fitted at some later stage with one of the first (1937) batch's non-standard domeless boilers. As another result of the mix-and-match approach to overhauls, the locomotive has also acquired one of the larger MX-type "Vanderbilt" torpedo tenders that were supplied with the final (1948) batch of 19D locomotives.