Transnet also has two Transport Museums in George, Western Cape and Kimberley, Northern Cape. The Transport Museum in George is more than 14 000m² and exhibits historical items such as steam locomotives, passenger coaches, vintage cars, furniture, silverware, cutlery and crockery from various periods of the transport industry, paintings, poetry, photographs and other rail-related items.
Transnet will, as far as practicable, commit to high quality conservation outcomes for its heritage assets to retain their heritage significance to the greatest extent feasible, in accordance with the Act.
Heritage assets will, where feasible, continue to be maintained in their operational role. Transnet recognises the need to allocate appropriate uses for its heritage assets. Transnet will ensure that where practical, its heritage assets are adaptively reused for a purpose sympathetic to their heritage significance.
Transnet recognises the importance of the heritage significance of all its heritage assets and the value of those assets to the community. Transnet will do its best to promote its heritage assets to the communities concerned.
Transnet will develop and implement a Management Action Plan to achieve the conservation and management of heritage items listed on its impending heritage assets register. Transnet will endeavour to manage its heritage assets in accordance with the requirements under the Act, its policies, procedures, financial and budgetary constraints and heritage principles.
The Redundant Asset Plan will cover the management of heritage assets which have no economic re-use options. Transnet will ensure that heritage assets which do not meet its service delivery needs will be transferred to other government institutions, or leased to private individuals before any proposals to demolish such heritage asset is considered.
Transnet, through its special unit, Transnet Foundation, is engaging with interested parties on heritage matters and has since made available to the steam clubs some of its steam locomotives for tourism purposes. Transnet has also donated some of its plinthed (stationary) locomotives to municipalities for display and tourism.
Transnet Freight Rail is the largest division of Transnet. It is a world class heavy haul freight company that specialises in the transportation of freight.
The company maintains an extensive rail network across South Africa that connects with other rail networks in the sub-Saharan region, with its rail infrastructure representing about 80% of Africa’s total.
The company is proud of its reputation for technological leadership beyond Africa as well as with-in Africa, where it is active in some 17 countries.
Transnet Freight Rail is proudly placed to dramatically alter the South African rail industry. This enables us to play a positive and active role in the transformation of our society. We do so against the backdrop of sound business principles, a regulatory framework and the challenges of meeting the expectations of our customers.
For more information, contact Mr Kobus Volschenk at email@example.com
The first main line electrification was the section between Pietermaritzburg and Glencoe and was completed in 1926. The line was electrified at 3 k V dc and 78 electric locomotives were ordered. At the time it was the largest order for a single type of electric locomotive placed anywhere in the world. The engines are powered by 4 224 KW axle-mounted electric motors with the couplings fitted to the bogies. The engines themselves have air brakes with a vacuum brake for the train. A total of 172 locomotives were built between 1924 and 1925. The maximum safe speed is 72 Km/h. On the Natal main line, with its tight curves and steep gradients, the twin axle locomotives had to be coupled together on most trains as individual locomotives had limited power output.
The ES was specifically designed as sloped center cab version of the class 1E in 1935The first two locomotives no’s 500-501 were assembled at Pietermaritzburg workshops in 1936, followed by another 10 in 1938 – numbers 503 -512.In toal 26 Es shunting engines were placed in service and later withdrawn in favour of the new class 8E shunters by 1985.
As a result of the success of Class NGG13, it was decided that any additional engines would be to the same design. In 1937 John Cockerill supplied four locomotives ( No 85 -88) which were initially classified as NGG13. In view of the fact that all carrying wheels were arranged as pony trucks and fitted with roller bearing axle boxes, it was decided to reclassify them as Class NGG16. A second order of 8 locomotives was placed in 1939 and a third order in 1951 for another 7 – numbers 125 to 131 and delivered by Beyer Peacock & Co. The final class NGG16 order for engine no’s NG149 to NG 156 in 1968 was significant since these would become the final steam locomotives to be ordered by the SAR
Following the electrification of the mainline from Bellville to Touws River in 1954 more powerful locomotives were required for this section of line. Forty larger class 4E were supplied between 1952 and 1954. The construction of the locomotives was a joint project by General Electric company and North British locomotive Company. These electric locomotives are unique by having a leading pair of guiding wheels at the outer ends of the powered bogies. The individual power rating of this class GEC type WT 580 tractions motors was 313 kW, which yielded a combined continuous rating of 1878 kW. The safe speed specified speed was 97 km/h. Owing to their length, 21,8 m between couplers, the 4E’s were known as the “Green Mambas”. The Class 4 E were withdrawn by the early 1980s, having been displaced by the more powerful 6E type. Numbers E219- E 258.
These were the first of the SAR’s diesel – electric locomotives to be built in quantity, 45 were deliver in 1958 by the American company General Electric. These units are fitted with a single four stroke V8 turbocharge Cooper-Bessemer engine which powers a DC generator. Four axle mounted traction motors are fitted. The early diesel class did not have inter-bogie control linkage; only three could be coupled together at most. The class 31’s were initially employed on the Johannesburg – Volksrust section on regular passenger trains until this line was electricified. The maximum safe speed is 90 km/h. Numbers : 31/000 -31/744
Improvements in the design of electric motors, particularly in respect of the insulation of the windings, enabled an even more powerful type of main line Bo-Bo electric locomotive. Each axle-mounted motor has a continuous power output of 550 KW giving a total continuous power output of 2200kW. The Class 6E has air bellows between the bogies and frames to effectively transfer power to the rails, while in the Class 6E1 a sophisticated series of traction links optimizes this function. They were also fitted with electronic wheel-slip detection but in 1982 two Class 6E1 were equipped with micro processors to test modern computerized methods of propulsion control. The maximum safe speed of these locomotives is 113 km/h. A total of 935 locomotives were delivered by UCW making the 6E1 the largest single fleet class on the SAR and one of the largest type of electric designs worldwide. No E1525 was modified for use in high speed experiments. A world record on Cape gauge was set on 31 October 1978 when this locomotive reached a speed of 245 km/h during a test run on the line between Midway and Bank. Numbers : E1226 – E2185
The first locomotive in South Africa was built by Hawthorn & Co at their Leith Engine Works in Scotland. Upon arrival in Cape Town on 08 September 1859, the engine had to be dismantled before it could be landed off the Brig Charles by means of lighters (small boats). The Engine was accompanied by its engineer-driver, a Scot named William Dubbs. This locomotive remains on the Wellington line until June 1874, when it was shipped to the Kowie to assist with construction at the Port Alfred harbor. In Port Alfred it was officially named “ Frontier”. But since it was painted black at the time, it came to be affection ally known as Blackie. This locomotive worked on the Kowie project until 1883, by which time it was completely unserviceable and abandoned on a siding. In December 1897 a big South African Exhibition take placed in Grahamstown and Blackie was repaired, repainted and railed to that town to be placed on show. It remained in Grahamstown until 1898 when it was decided that the locomotive should be returned to Cape Town and be mounted on the Old Cape Town Station concourse. On 14 April 1936 it was proclaimed a national monument by Government Gazette No 529. When the new Cape Town station was completed in the 1960’s Blackie was plinthed in the main concourse.
The Natal Railway Company’s first steam locomotive, the Natal arrived in Durban on 13 may 1860, in crated sections, aboard the Brig Cadiz. Henry Jacobs, who functioned as engine fitter, locomotive superintendent and driver, was responsible for erecting it. Jacobs was assisted by alexander Davidson, who later became chief smith, fitter and spring maker, platelayer and head of the repair shops. The locomotive was painted green and the wheels were a copper color. The inaugural run, on 26 June 1860, was across a 3.2 km stretch from Market square in Durban to the newly built Point station at Durban harbor. The locomotive is on display on Durban station and was recreated using many of the original parts, which according to a sign, had been found in the Umzimvubu River. The Natal was sold in 1879 to a Mr Crowther who had the idea of using it to power a sawmill on his farm. The locomotive was never used as the laborers objected. Pieces of the locomotive were eventually buried near the river which then deposited silt over the top of everything. The locomotive remained buried until 1943 when Mr Espitalier was given the job of writing a history on the Natal. It was then decided to recover and restore the locomotive. The locomotive returned to Durban on a 10 ton lorry on 26 June 1944, exactly 84 years after it had drawn the first train in South Africa
As far as known, the Dubs A Locomotives were the first in the world to have a 4-8-2 wheel arrangement, later to become known as the “mountain” type. One hundred of these locomotives were built by Dubs & Co for use on the heavily graded sections on the railway in Natal. They were classified as Dubs A by the Natal Government Railways and thus were logically reclassified Class ‘A’ on the South African railways.
After being displaced from the Natal main line, they were used on the Dundee to Hlobane branch, the Harrismith to Ladysmith branch and the north coast line.
The last of the class A’s were withdrawn from service in 1962.
Numbers : 97- 196
This locomotive was one of the first locomotive classes in South Africa to be fitted with Walschearts valve gear, and used saturated steam. It is also one of the only SAR locomotives of the Cape gauge, which have frames on the outside of the driving wheel. This locomotive was assembled in East London. She was classified as a 46 tonner and named ‘ROOS’ . The most likely candidate whose named this engine bears, was Field Cornet Stephanus Johannes Roos, one of the Boer heroes of Amajuba. She worked mainly on the Pretoria – Komatipoort line during the NZASM days. When the NZASM assets were seized during the Anglo-Boer War, ‘ROOS’ became part of the Imperial Military Railway’s stock after the war and was passed on to the Central South African Railways in 1902 and numbered 61. During 1970 the SAR&H donated a class 10 C to Sappi in exchange for ROOS. On 17 August 1970 she steamed into Waterval Boven for the 75th anniversary of the Pretoria – Maputo line. She was renamed “President Kruger” by Mr BJ Schoeman, the then Minister of Transport.
The first five locomotives were numbered 1-5, works order numbers 2317-2319 and 2333, 2334. No 1 was shipped to Durban from where it was transported to Germiston by oxwagon. They were erected at Elandsfontein, now known as Germiston. On 18 July 1889 they were commissioned as construction locomotives on the line between Braamfontein and Springs- The Randtram.
The first of these locomotives, No 1, works order no 2317, which hauled the first train in Transvaal, the Randtram, from Braamfontein to Boksburg on 17 March 1890, was declared a National Monument on 06 April 1936, by Government notice no 59.
This locomotive was withdrawn from service during 1903 after having completed approximately 181 294 km and stood at Pretoria for several years. In 1972 when the Museum moved to Johannesburg station the Emil Kessler returned to its original place of work. The last of these engines was scrapped in 1916.
The 7 class is a small –wheeled, freight version of the 6 Class, and has many obvious points of similarity, such as the plate frames, inside Stephenson gear, and design of cab. They were designed in 1890 by H.M Beaty.
A second batch of 26 engines were built by Sharp,Stewart and Co, Neilson, Reid and Co and Dubs & Co between 1896 and 1901. They differ from the earlier order by having a larger boiler and an eight wheeled tender. They became Class 7A.
Numbers : 999 – 1031.
The first order for 40 engines was delivered in 893 and became the SAR Class 6. A further order for 50 locomotives was placed with Dubs and Co and Sharp, Stewart and Co between 1895 and 1897. These engines had larger boilers than the first order and were classified Class 6A on the SAR and distributed throughout the Cape colony.
Numbers : 441- 489
The original salon of the late C.A.A. Middelberg, Director (1890-1899) of the Nederlandsche Zuid Afrikaansche Spoorweg Maatskappij.
Three engines were built by Hawthorn, Leslie & Co in 1896 and 1897 for the Pretoria Pietersburg Railway (PPR). On 30th October, 1895, the Government of the South African Republic granted a concession to Mr Hendrik Jacobus Schoeman for the construction of a railway running from the station at Pretoria West through Warmbaths (Bela Bela) and Nylstroom (Modimille) to Pietersburg (Polokwane), a distance of about 176 miles. The first engines obtained by the PPR was three 0-6-0 locomotives built in 1896-7, which were named Pretoria, Pietersburg and Nylstroom. Pretoria was scrapped many years back, but Nylstroom and Pietersburg are mounted on Modimolle and Polokwane stations.
These locomotives were the main motive power of the Nederlandsche Zuid Afrikaansche Spoorwegmaatschappij (NZASM). Between 1882 and 1898, 175 were delivered by Emil Kessler and 20 more by the Nederlands Locomotive Factory. As they did not have a leading bogie they gave a rough ride and were usually operated bunker first. Many were damaged in the South African War and only 55 were taken into SAR stock, all of which were withdrawn by 1930. They were used in Transvaal, Free State, and later for shunting in the Western Cape.
They had outside plate frames, Walschaerte’s valve gear and used saturated steam.
These locomotives were the main motive power of the Nederlandsche Zuid Afrikaansche Spoorwegmaatschappij (NZASM). Between 1882 and 1898, 175 were delivered by Emil Kessler and 20 more by the Nederlands Locomotive Factory. As they did not have a leading bogie they gave a rough ride and were usually operated bunker first. Many were damaged in the South African War and only 55 were taken into SAR stock, all of which were withdrawn by 1930. They were used in Transvaal, Free State, and later for shunting in the Western Cape.
They had outside plate frames, Walschaerte’s valve gear and used saturated steam.
A few sport the large cab and many have been superheated and fitted with piston-valve cylinders, although with the position of the valves, between the frames, this is not apparent. The superheated engines are sometimes distinguished by the suffix ‘S’, although this designation is not always carried.
Numbers : 1032 -1058
The main type was built over a period of 10 years, with two major variations, plate and bar frames.
The most successful bar-framed 6th class were the 14 locomotives supplied in 1902. Used initially on the Cape main line they became the Class 6J on the SAR. They were the most successful of the bar frame designs and the last locomotive of this class was withdrawn from service in Bethlehem in 1972.
The 6J class is easily distinguishable by their raised running plates and absence of splashers, and none of these ever received Belpaire boilers.
Numbers: 635- 648
Two of these type of coaches were imported by the Central South African railways during 1903. A balcony type guards/baggage van also provide seating accommodation in two sections to 29 2nd class European passengers. Between the passengers section and the baggage compartment a toilet facility on the one side of the corridor was provide with a hand wash basin on the opposite side of the corridor. Total length over body is 55’ with a weight of 25.2 tons
The 8 class is also of Cape Government Railway origin, designed by Beatty, and is a substantially larger conception than the earlier 7 Class. The 8 Class were fitted with larger wheels and was considered a mixed traffic class. Many of the 8 to 8F ‘s were fitted with superheated boilers and either inside or outside admission piston valves. The classification of the inside admission engines was indicated with the suffix “W” while the outside admission engines retained their old classification.
The second order of 8 Class locomotives was placed by the CGR and delivered in 1903 by Neilson, Reid and Co and the North British Locomotive Co. These 38 engines differed only slightly from the original order and were classified as Class 8D on the SAR.
Numbers : 1192 - 1229
Two locomotives named ‘Thebus’ and ‘Stromberg’ were originally built for the Irrigation Department of the Public Works Department of the Cape Colony in 1903. During World War 1, when the South African Railways experienced an acute shortage of locomotive power, it acquired a number of locomotives (Thebus and Stormberg) from private concerns and other Government Departments. The locomotives were not classified or numbered by the SAR and were named instead. The second locomotive was named “’Stormberg’ after the town of that name on the line between Bloemfontein via Springfontein to East London. The locomotive spend most of its SAR service life as a dock shunter in East London until it was eventually semi-retired and used to test the steam heating equipment on passenger coaches. During World War II it was transferred to Cape Town for use as a construction locomotive during the expansion works at Table Bay harbour. From there it went to Mossel Bay to once again serve as a harbor shunter until it was transferred to Germiston, where it was retired and placed in storage for a number of years. Stormberg eventually returned to East London, where it was restored and plinthed on East London station. It was later moved to the Outeniqua Transport Museum in George.
The Class 11 was designed by P.A. Hyde for goods working for the CSAR. Very advanced for their time, they initially proved too heavy for the track, and some were stored until the track was upgraded. Features included wide Belpaire fireboxes on boilers which were later superheated, and outside admission piston valves, driven by Walscheart’s gear, giving a very free and modern sounding exhaust. They were withdrawn from service in 1975.
Numbers : 912-947
These were Hendrie’s first design of tender locomotives for the Natal Government Railways, and were the principle main-line power of that railway. They were the proto type design from which later eight coupled designs evolved.
They had plate frames and Walshaert’s valve gear but used saturated steam with D valves. While the boiler was not pitched very high, Hendrie still managed to extend the firebox sideways over the trailing wheels. The result was that the grate was almost level with the bottom of the boiler shell. To prevent the fire from entering the lower row of tubes, he arranged a vertical firewall towards the front of the grate, which also created a combustion chamber.
Numbers : 1245 – 1288
The first locomotive designed by DA Hendrie, locomotive superintendent of Natal Government Railways (NGR) was a 4-8-2 t locomotive to be used for working main line passenger trains out of Durban. 25 Locomotives were built by Dubs & Co of Glasgow and were known on the NGR as the DUBS locomotive. When taken into SAR ownership they became class G. The last pair were withdrawn from shunting duties around Pietermaritzburg in 1962. It is said to believe that this type of locomotive hauled the train on which Ghandi was travelling to Pietermaritzburg as a passenger and was removed from the first class to the third class and inspired him to start his path to passive resistance.
The first two locomotives were delivered by Kitson and Co in 1903 and became SAR class 5A. They had bar frames, Stephenson’s link motion and used saturated steam. Because Beatty was loathe to raise the boiler centre line more than twice the track gauge it was necessary to provide pockets in the boiler lagging in order to clear the relatively large driving wheels employed on the locomotives. In 1904 a further 4 engines were built, this time by Beyer, Peacock and Co and became the Class 5B. During the 1930 reboilering programme all four were fitted with piston valves. Only number 723 retained the 5B classification.
Numbers : 723-726
Six R4’s were built and placed in traffic in 1906 and numbered 861 – 866. In these cars the pantry was enlarged and separated by a partition from the kitchen, which resulted in the loss of two seats in the saloon. At Union the cars were renumbered and number 866 was renumbered 134 and named KAFUE. These cars were destined to serve the SAR for a considerable period of time. As inherited from the CGR, they were not fitted with a bar, in place thereof they were equipped with a commodious wine cellar- rather appropriate for a Cape Car. In 1922 approval was obtained to convert the cellar into a bar and thereby bring these cars more into line with standard practice. In November 1944 car no 134 was in the Pretoria shops undergoing normal overhaul, but in view of the Catering Manager’s remark “ obsolete and quite unsuitable for present day requirements” repair was suspended. The last type of the type A-12 cars, No 134 became departmental coach no 14002 in January 1964.four years earlier in 1960, consideration had actually been given to converting no 134 for specialized use on non-white trains. However , due to the vehicle’s age it was decided not to proceed with the alterations. Thus the family of A12’s also dropped into the pages of history.
The Class 10 was designed by P.A. Hyde for use on the newly laid 80lb track on the CSAR, they were of extremely advanced design. Their boiler center line, at 7ft4in above rail level, was higher than any other engine in service in South Africa at the time.
An order for further “Pacifics” to the design of GG Elliot was placed by the CSAR with North British Locomotive in 1920. The order was spilt between that used saturated steam and five that were superheated. The superheated version had greatly increased power and a further five were delivered by Beyer Peacock in 1912. The saturated engines became Class 10A while the superheated were Class 10B. Since the original difference between the class 10A and 10B lay only in the boiler, they all became class 10BR when they were given a common boiler
Numbers: 747- 751 as Class 10A
The 3Bs were the first Hendrie superheated 4-8-2 locomotives and in addition to this , they were built with piston valve cylinders and a raise running plate to accommodate the greater height of these, a feature which immediately set the locomotive apart from the old class D. They were originally built as main line locomotives but have been relegated to shunting after 1930 when they have been fitted with standard No 2 boilers. They were then reclassified as 3 BR locomotives and were withdrawn from service in 1974
Numbers : 1479 -1488
The first two locomotives were delivered by Kitson and Co in 1903 and became SAR class 5A. They had bar frames, Stephenson’s link motion and used saturated steam. Because Beatty was loathe to raise the boiler centre line more than twice the track gauge it was necessary to provide pockets in the boiler lagging in order to clear the relatively large driving wheels employed on the locomotives. In 1904 a further 4 engines were built, this time by Beyer, Peacock and Co and became the Class 5B.
Four (4) engines of a slightly enlarged version with a higher pitched boiler were built by the Vulcan Foundry and delivered in 1912. They were known as the “Improved Karoo’s” and became Class 5 on the SAR. Only one example of this class was reboilered with a No 1 boiler and fitted with piston valves to become Class 5R.
This class is a development of the Cape government Railways 4-8-2 ,designed by Beatty and delivered just after Union to the SAR. The original 4’s were heavy express engines of a rakish aspect with bar frames, side valves, inside Stephenson gear and saturated steam. Ten further locomotives of this type were delivered in 1913 and 1914 but incorporated several improvements. Their boilers were superheated, which resulted in the fitting of piston valves that were operated by Walschaert’s valve gear, these engines became known as the Class 4A. Their first ten years were spent working various sections of the Cape main line. After their transfer to the Reef they were fitted with a standard No2 boiler and then became the class 4AR.
Numbers : 1551-1560
The 14 class was a version of the 12 class, but with 3 inch smaller wheels ,making it an intermediate size between the 3B and the 12. They were designed for use on the tightly curved and heavily graded Natal main line. Because of their similarity to the Class 12, many components were interchangeable. Between 1913 and 1915 , 45 class 14 locomotives were delivered and placed in service between Durban and Ladysmith. They were superheated and had Walschaert’s valve gear. In the 1930 when these locomotives required new boilers they were given the standard no2 boiler and classified Class 14 R.
Numbers : 1701- 1745
Hendrie introduced the Class 5 series as a large mixed traffic locomotive for use when grades and curvature were not so severe as on the coastal routes. The first ten locomotives of this class were ordered from the North British locomotive Co and placed in service in 1914 in the Free State.They had plate frames, Walschaert’s valve gear and were superheated. In order to reduce the weight on the trailing wheels, steel fireboxes were fitted. When more engines of this type were ordered, Hendrie improved the boiler by providing a combustion chamber. In this form they were known as Class 15A. The first 15As retain the narrow cab and dropped rear running plate of the 15 class.
The 4-10-2 wheel arrangement locomotives were designed by Mr G W Reid the Locomotive Superintendent. In order to negotiate the sharp curves both the front and rear driving wheels were flangeless. Known on the Natal Government Railways (NGR) as the Reidten – wheelers they were employed extensively on the lower section of the Natal mainline. When acquired by the SAr they became the Class H until conversion to 4-8-2T. After being displaced from main line passenger work and relegated to shunting duties, the long coupled wheel base of the NGR Reidten- wheelers were prone to derailment in many goods yards. They were accordingly converted between 1910 and 1922 to a 4-8-2T simply by removing the trailing coupled wheel and closing off the frame opening to become SAR class H2.
Only 10 of this class of locomotive has been ordered from the British locomotive Company and were delivered in 1917 and 1918. The design were very similar to that of the original 16 class, except that the 16B’s were fitted with Hendrie’s newly designed wide cab and different boiler mountings.
Later during 1930 – 1940 the class 16B’s were reboilered with the No 2 Boiler and reclassified the class 16 CR.
No 805 has gained the distinction of being the only reboilered SAR engine to be cosmetically reconverted to the original unreboilered design
Numbers : 802 – 811
During the first World War, the shortage of locomotive manufacturing capacity in Europe led to the ordering of locomotives from the Montreal Locomotive works in Canada. Six orders for a total of 73 locomotives were placed for delivery between 1812 and 1922.Although of the same overhaul dimensions as the 14 class, they were of thoroughly American design with bar frames and a high running plate and known as the 14Cs. A number of 14Cs had their driving wheels rebalanced to reduce the hammer blow and their axle load reduced for branch line service. After replacing their boiler with standard Watson boilers they became the 14 CRB. Despite their small wheels they have a high turn of speed, and with excellent acceleration and hill climb abilities, they were popular on heavily graded branch lines.
Numbers : 1881- 1900 except 1894 -1898 ( 14CR)
Numbers : 1992- 2010
Ten Class 15 locomotives were ordered from the North British locomotive Co and had plate frames, Walschaert’s valve gear and were fitted with a super heater. To reduce the weight on the trailing wheels they were fitted with steel fire boxes which became a standard feature on most large South African locomotives.
The original 15 Class retained all the usual Hendrie features, but in the 15A, which turned out to be his most numerous class, a combustion chamber was added to the Belpaire firebox. Fifteen of the 15A Class retained the narrow cab and dropped rear
running plate of the 15 Class. One hundred and nineteen 15As were supplied by Beyer Peacock and North British Locomotive Co from 1914 to 1922.
All ten class 15s were refitted with the standard No 2A boiler and fitted with new cabs and reclassified as 15AR.
Numbers : 1839 - 1858
The first design to originate from the SAR after its formation was for a 4-8-2 goods engine, the Class 12. They were in effect an enlargement of hendrie’s already successful Class 3B, and retained the plate frames and Walschaert’s valve gear. The first 8 was delivered in 1912 and a further 18 between 1913 and 1915 by North British locomotive co. The last batch of this type was built by Beyer Peacock in 1921.
A single experimental Garratt class GB was supplied by Beyer Peacock for branch line on the Cape gauge. This locomotive was placed in service in june 1921. Trials on the Natal south coast line were successful and a further six were ordered and placed in service in 1924. At the same time the prototype class GB was renumbered 2166. The later batch were superheated with plate frames and Walschearts valve gear with a different cab design to the prototype.
Their last allocation was the arduous Aliwal North – Barkly East line, with its eight switchbacks, where they worked for many years until withdrawn in 1967.
This class of Garratt was designed for goods traffic over lines with 60lb rail. Three orders were placed for this class with Beyer, Peacock. The first order for six was delivered in 1925 and the engines were an enlargement of the Class GD. The 10 second order, placed in 1926, were identical mechanically but had a revised design for the water tanks and coal bunker. The two locomotives in the final order, in 1931, were similar in appearance to those of the 1926 order except for a wider cab, larger cylinders to make the engines more powerful, and many refinements to the boiler design. The locomotives had plate frames, were superheated and had Walschaert’s valve gear.
Numbers : 2260- 2265
The 16 Ds were the passenger version of the 15CB and many components were common between the two classes. Only two of the Pacific type locomotives were ordered in 1925 from Baldwin in the USA. The crew of the 15 C referred to them as the “Big Bills” and the 16Ds as “Big Bertha”
Another order of 5 locomotives was delivered in 1926.
Number 860 made railway history on 13th August ,1926, hauling the Union Limited on a 1530 km trip between Johannesburg and Cape Town in a record 29 hours.
Numbers : 860 – 866
The Class GF was the first SAR Garratts of fairly general utility, having reasonably large wheels and a light axle load, enabling them to perform a wide range of duties. They were for many years the most numerous Garratt class in the world. These locomotives were superheated, had bar frames and used Walschaerts valve gear. The first order of 37 locomotives were placed with Hanomag in 1927, followed by a second order for 18 locomtovies from Henschel in 1928 and a third and final order of 10 locomotives from Maffei works.
Numbers : 2370 - 2406
Five Class GDA locomotives were built by Linke-Hofmann-Werke and placed in service in Cape Town during 19129. The Class GDA was fitted with bar frames, redesigned tanks and round topped boilers. They were not found to be successful and soon after were sent to Natal for working on the branch lines in the Stranger area .They were all withdrawn by 1972.
Numbers : 2255 – 2259
In order to provide a more powerful locomotive for working freight trains on the Natal main line, specifications were drawn up for a Garratt with a power equivalent of two 14 class locomotives. The first two Class GL Garratts were delivered by Beyer, Peacock in 1929 with a further six following in 1930. The GL Garratts were the most powerful steam engines to operate on the SAR. Two chimney smoke clearing devices were experimented with in order to eliminate fumes in the cabs during operation through tunnels. A blower driven by a steam turbine to suck clean air from ahead of the chimney was tried out but eventually the locomotives had to run with the chimney trailing when ascending a gradient in a tunnel. Later a type of cowl was fitted to the locomotives, in order to divert steam and smoke away from the cab, if the locomotive did operate in a forward direction. The locomotives were superheated, had bar frames, Walschaert’s valve gear and a mechanical stoker. Their great weight –over 211 tons- and high axle load limited them to main lines laid with heavy tracks.
Numbers : 2351 - 2357
After a visit to the USA in 1924, Mr GE Titren, Superintendent of Motive Power, presented to the CME Col FR Collins a recommendation for new locomotive design feature. The two locomotives that were ordered were delivered by Bladwin in 1925 and had bar frames, Walschaerts valve gear and were provided with super heaters. They featured the latest in American design practice such as boiler water top feed, self cleaning smoke boxes and grease lubrication for motion parts. Following the success of these two locomotives another order was placed with Baldwin. Some of the engines develop cracks in the front of the firebox and the next batch of 15C were ordered from American Locomotive Co and were fitted with a steel firebox .Another order for 21 locomotives were placed with the American Locomotive Co and were classified as the 15 CA while the older Baldwin design were classified as 15CB.
These locomotives were so successful that another order for 36 locomotive were placed with ALCO, Baldwin, Breda and North British.
Numbers : 2801 – 2810 .
The original 19 class set the standard for all, including that of the boiler design, which is the same in external dimensions with that built for all but the 19A.
In 1930 a further 14 locomotives were ordered. The wheel base on the front bogie was increased to improve wheel clearance from the cylinders on sharp curves. They were reclassified and became the 19B. The last 19B originally had Caprotti poppet valves and
paved the way for the 19 C class.
Numbers : 1401- 1414
Fourteen locomotives were order from Baldwin and Honhenzollen in 1928 /29 and classified 16DA. They incorporated frame modifications in line with that of the class 15 CA.
The six locomotives delivered by Henschel in 1930 were the first SAR locomotives to have a firebox spread out well beyond the boiler diameter, almost to the width of the loading gauge. Their bulging fireboxes have earned them the nickname of Boepens (Pot-belly) among local enginemen.
Numbers : 874 - 879
Fifty class 19B locomotives were ordered from North British Locomotive Co and were fitted with a No1A boiler and RC poppet valves driven by outside Cardan shafts and were reclassified as the 19 C
The 21 element super heaters on the 19 and 19B locomotives were enlarged to a 24 element type in the 19C class and the 19 D class. Cabs with a slope in front were also fitted to the 19C and 19 D. In later years some of the 19C’s were fitted with domeless boilers and torpedo design tenders, obtained from other various other class 19 D locomotives.
Numbers : 2435 - 2484
The 15E’s were designed by the new CME, Mr AG Watson and were built with RC poppet valves. Designed as an enlargement of the 15C series, they have large round-top fireboxes, supplying steam to the poppet valve cylinders and mounted on bar frames. Originally supplied with flared chimneys these later had standard chimneys and smoke deflectors fitted. Number 2878 was the 23,000 th locomotive to have been built by Henschel & son at Kessler, Germany.
Numbers : 2878 – 2901
The 16E, which is the passenger version of the 15E, is amongst the most remarkable locomotives classes ever to run on the SAR. They have the largest driving wheels to be found on any 3’6” gauge railway in the world and these, coupled with ample boiler power and poppet-valve cylinders, gave them a speed potential which had never been realized in practice. They boast the heaviest axle load on the SAR and when built, displaced the 16DA on the best express services. They were deployed in Kimberley for working express passenger trains south to Beaufort West and north to Johannesburg.
Numbers : 854 - 859
A second class sleeper coach designed to accommodate a total number of 39 passengers. It is equipped with 5 compartments accommodating 6 passengers each and 3 coupes accommodating 3 passengers each. Toilet and wash basin facilities are located at each end of the coach. Next to each toilet is a facility where bedding could be stored . A door on either side at both ends the end coach allowed entry from the platform side while an end door at either side allowed entry into the adjoining coaches.
Class 23 are the largest of the SAR 4-8-2, and were originally intended to be a halfway stage between the 15F and 16E classes, with a 5ft 6in wheel in comparison to the 5ft0in and 6ft0in of the 15F and 16E respectively. They designed for general purpose, mixed traffic for use on the Cape Main line. The 23 class are recognizable not only by their slightly taller chimney, but mainly for their large tenders mounted upon six wheeled bogies. A total of 136 locomotives were supplied by Henschel and Berliner Maschinenbau.
When the 23 class were placed in service serious flaws in the firebox construction became evident, specifically as regards the firebox stays. Repairs to the complete collapse of some fireboxes were done by the SAR workshops. During the 1970’s , the entire fleet of 23 Class locomotives were withdrawn from service due to metal fatigue cracks in their rolled steel bar frames.
Numbers : 3286-3316
The need arose for more powerful electric units which could haul heavy loads singly, given the easier curvatures inland. The first six- axle electric locomotives were ordered in 1944 from Metropolitan Vickers. The 28 locomotives ordered were placed in service in 1947-1948 on the Witwatersrand. The Class 3E is the only electric locomotive on the SAR to have an integral steam boiler for train heating. These locomotives could be operated up to a safe speed of 105 km/h with a power supply of 3k V dc and a continuous rating of 1550 kW
This is a development of the 15E, but with long-lap piston valves actuated by Walschaerts valve gear, these alterations being affected by Mr WAJ Day, the new CME responsible for their design.
The original locomotives were hand fired, but the later orders were changed to mechanical stokers . Later orders included the fitment of smoke deflectors which added to the overhaul weight of the locomotives.
With 255 locomotives in use, the 15Fs were the most numerous class of locomotive on the SAR.
Numbers : 2967- 96
This Garratt has virtually nothing in common with the GE class, other than the overall dimensions of the boiler. Apart from the change in wheel arrangement, they have larger cylinders and wheels, bar frames, round top firebox and generally far more modern detailing than the GE class. They were the first of the SAR engines to have the Beyer, Peacock “streamlined” tanks. The locomotives were superheated, had bar frames and Walschaert’s valve gear and were the only post war garratts on the SAR to be without a mechanical stoker. This locomotive was sold to the Vryheid Coronation Colliery in Natal and later donated to Transnet.
Numbers : 4001- 4050
Owing to the War situation in 1943, it was not possible to source locomotives from the usual overseas suppliers, hence CME DR MM Loubser, prepared designs for an engine that could be built in the SAR’s own workshops, effectively an improved class S.
The S1 is a direct development of the S class, having many similar major dimensions.
They had bar frames, Walschaert’s valve gear and were superheated with a considerably larger boiler.
Numbers : 374 – 385
The 19 Ds were fitted with 24 element superheaters and the first 50 had domeless boilers. The 19Ds the most numerous of all, have long –lap piston valves, operated by Walschearts gear, working is straight ported cylinders. Bogies with a slightly longer wheelbase were fitted to the classes 19B and 19D and cabs with a sloping front were fitted to the 19C and 19 D classes. The final order of 50 locomotives was provided with a torpedo Vanderbilt tender. This design of the water tender allowed for an increase of 2 ton in coal capacity.
Numbers : 3321- 3370
The 24 class are the largest branch line engines built for South Africa and the only “Berkshire” type placed in service in 1948 for service on 45lb/yd track. Most of them were in operation in South West Africa (Namibia) until the dieselization process was completed in 1961 and were later dispersed widely amongst the branch lines in South Africa. Despite their small dimensions, they are thoroughly modern, and have a cast-steel bed frame with integral cylinders, with long-lap, Walschearts driven piston valves distributing superheated steam. Equipped with a cylindrical tender mounted on a six wheel bogie they had a long range from water supplies. A total of 100 24 class locomotives were supplied between 1948 and 1949 and replaced the aging 6,7 and 8 class fleet.
Numbers: 3601- 3700
The NG 15 was in operation on the Otavi line in Namibia and due to the easier grades and track curvature there had been no need for any Garratt type design. The SAR placed its first order of 3 locomotives with Henschel in 1931. The leading pony wheelset was situated more conventionally in front of the cylinders; this could freely articulate, as could the leading coupled wheel axle. The system employed was the “Krauss-Helmholtz” mechanism.The tender was of a different design, which carried the same amount of water as the class NG5, with increased coal capacity. More locomotives were order from Henschel up until 1939. From 1950 to 1953 a total of ten locomotives were order from the Belgian firm Societe Anglo-Franco- Belge. During their long tenure in Namibia (SWA), they became known as the Kalahari, an inaccurate term as they were not operating in the semi desert region of the country. With the conversion of the narrow gauge lines in Namibia to Cape gauge a total of 21 class Ng 15 were sent to work on the Narrow gauge line from Humewood to Avontuur in the Langkloof.
The S2 is the standard light shunting engine and the most numerous class of shunting engines on the SAR. They were fitted with Walschaert’s valve gear , 4 ft diameter coupled wheels, superheaters and built with cast steel frames. They had “Vanderbilt” tenders with the top of the coal bunker scalloped out to improve driver vision. Whilst they have proved successful in their own right, these engines became unpopular with their crews because of poor steaming resulting from the smaller boilers, which were similar in size to some narrow gauge types. They were all withdrawn by 1983. Numbers : 3701 - 3800
The 25NC is the non-condensing version of the 25 condenser and apart from the suppressions of condensing equipment, included all the modern features of the 25 class. Intensive maintenance was carried out on the condensing locomotives and as a result all (except) two had their condensing equipment removed and was reclassified as 25NC. The non- condensing type have proved to be an exceptional steam locomotive with a record for good performance and low maintenance. These locomotives were used on the Cape Main line between De Aar, Kimberley, Klerksdorp and Welverdiend were there were no severe water supply problems.
Numbers : 3452- 3540
This engine was originally built as a 25NC in 1953 by Henschel. This locomotive was rebuilt at the Salt River workshops in 1981 under the supervision of David Wardale. This project incorporated design improvements pioneered by Argentinian locomotive engineer, LD Porta, after whom the locomotive is formally named. The modifications included the introduction of a gas producer combustion system. In the gas producer combustion system, the coal is preheated in order to drive off the volatile elements which are subsequently burned in hot air above the grate. Exhaust steam is also directed into the ashpan, where it is mixed with air entering the coal bed. This steam reduces the coal temperature to a point below which clinker formation occurs and the increases the calorific value of the escaping gasses from the fuel bed. The permanent red colour scheme was intended to set this locomotive apart from other SAR steam locomotive and is most probably the origin of the well-known nick name "The Red Devil”.
During the 1950s, the SAR ordered 60 of the a new Bo-Bo design for main line loadings and these were placed in service between 1955 -1956. They had a continuous power rating of 1300 kW compared to 840 kW of the Class 1E. The styling of the body adopted for this class has remained virtually unchanged for all subsequent main-line BoBo electrics. Each of the EE type 529 motors delivered 325 kW. yielding a continuous rating of 1300 kW. The maximum safe speed was 97 km/h. Eventually more than 1700 of this design and derivatives were to see service in South Africa, the largest class on the SAR and of the most numerous of any electric locomotive design worldwide.
The class Go was the last of the post-war SAR Cape gauge Garratt classes, a lighter version of the class GMA for use on 45 lb rails. As a variant of the GMA the Class Go differed in having a smaller boiler. The cylinder castings were lined to reduce their diameter to suit the Go’s reduced steaming capacity compared to the GMA. Tractive effort was also reduced and coal and water capacity lessened to reduce the overall weight . Their overall appearance is very similar to the GMA only with a slightly smaller boiler and taller chimney being evident.
Numbers : 2572 – 2596
The 25 class are the final main-line steam locomotives in South Africa, and a development of the 15F class, with a larger boiler, cast steel integral bed frames and with roller bearings throughout. They were fitted with condensing equipment for service on the Touwsriver – De Aar section in the Karroo where periodic lack of water supplies had made the use of regular classes of locomotives difficult. It is claimed that the 25 class could run a distance of 1100 kilometers in ideal conditions, without having to stop to take on water. Although the amount of water saved varies considerably according to the ambient temperature and other factors, water savings of up to 85 percent have been recorded. In a condensing locomotive the exhaust steam is recirculated to an air cooled condenser in the tender. The recovered hot water is then recycled to a condensate tank for re-use in the boiler. In order to induce sufficient draught to maintain the fire , a steam driven turbine fan was installed beneath the chimney, which gave this class its characteristic sound when running, which was more akin to that of a jet aircraft.
Numbers : 3452 – 3540
A modern successor to the Class GM, no less than 150 of these Garratts suitable for use on 60lb rail were delivered between 1954-1956. Classes GMA and GMAM are externally identical in appearance, the only difference between the two classes being baffle plates in the tanks and bunkers which vary the quantity of supplies, the GMAM the heavier version. The locomotives were thoroughly modern in design, having one piece cast steel frames and roller bearing axle boxes. They were superheated and fitted with Walschaert’s valve gear. Like the GM’s they trailed a water tank. They were the last class of Garratt in service on the SAR.
Numbers : 4051 - 4075
This diesel-electric locomotive was ordered to dieselise the railway operations in SWA(Namibia) . A total of 115 high nose locomotives were ordered from the general Electric company of the USA and placed in service from late 1959. A second order of 10 were delivered in 1966 – the 32-200 series had a low hood in front of the drivers cab.In order to keep the axle loading within limits special bogies were fitted which had a pony truck at the outer ends. The class 32 locomotives are fitted with a four stroke, V12 turbocharged and aftercooled engine, type Cooper-Bessemer FVBL12, driving a 10 pole GE DC generator. Six axle hung four pole traction motors are provided. A normal vacuum train braking system has been incorporated with no provision for train air brakes, nor are the locomotives provided with any dynamic breaking system. The continuous power rating is 1340kW, with a maximum speed of 100km/h Numbers : 32/001 – 32/115
This is the only SAR diesel-electric class operating on the narrow gauge. It was supplied by General Electric of the USA. In order to be accommodated on the 610mm gauge, special bogies had to be designed with the traction motors mounted between the axles, however, clearance problems are severe.
This is a very specialized dining car. It was specifically ordered for use on the GovernorGeneral’s White Train and was built by the Metropolitan Carriage and Wagon co in England. In was placed in service as Car no 126 on 26 June 1947. This car was neither intended nor ordered for the 1947 Royal Train. It is often incorrectly coupled with the 1947 Royal Train in the historical sense, but this is probably due to the fact that the car was intended for the White train but only after the Royal Tour had been completed. This car being intended for specialized use on the White Train is undoubtedly one of the most luxurious diners in service on the SAR, but it must be remembered that it was not for general passenger service. The cars saloon contains one large longitudinal table which can accommodate sixteen persons. The kitchen is fitted out in stainless steel and the whole vehicle is air conditioned. The wall paneling is all satin –finished figured timber. The car was renumbered 49 in 1969 and served on the white Train from June 1947 to 1975 when the State President’s special train was officially withdrawn from service at the personal request of Dr Diedericks, the man in the high office. It was this vehicle which became famous in August 1975 when it formed the central conference coach of the train which was placed in the center of the Victoria Falls Bridge in one of the abortive attempts to bring about peace in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia)
On display in the museum and used as an exhibition facility for model train trucks, crockery and glass ware.
Only one of this type of saloon was imported during 1896. It consisted of toilet facilities on the one end of the saloon , with a compartment for two, followed by another compartment for two, the saloon area, a third compartment for two, a fully equipped kitchen and lastly the attendant facility accommodating 3 attendants with their own toilet/wash basin facility. Total length of coach is 60 feet with a weight of 63,2 tons. In use by the Cape Government Railways.
Only one of this type of saloon was imported in 1903. Accommodation to sleep 6 people and 1 attendant was provided for by means of 2 staterooms sleeping 2 persons each and an additional compartment sleeping 2 people and the attendant’s facility. Bathroom facilities were shared by the two staterooms while the attendant had his own toilet and washbasin facility. This saloon also had its own lounge/dining room and fully equipped kitchen with a larder to cater for the needs of the employees. This saloon was originally named Sandveld and renamed to Tafelberg on 27 October 1971. No 5 was used by the System Manager, Cape Town.
A total of 15 coaches were imported and designed to sleep a maximum of 24 passengers or to seat a total of 36 passengers. These coaches are balcony coaches with a cross over corridor and 3 compartments, each providing sleeping accommodation for 4 passengers or sitting accommodation for 6 passengers , on the one side of the coach with the toilet facilities in the center and another 3 compartments , accommodating the same configuration of passengers as the first section, on the opposite side of the coach. The compartments were numbered A to F . Total length of coach over the body is 58’ 1” with a weight of 31,4 tons. These coaches were in use by the Cape Government Railways.
Only two coaches of this type were built by the Pretoria/Pietersburg Railway in 1909. A unique feature of these coaches is the center balcony allowing boarding and disembarking from the coaches. The balcony also served as a divider of the 1st and 2nd passengers . The second class section provided accommodation to 28 passengers – green seats- while the first class section provided accommodation to only 20 passengers – blue seats – and little bid of extra leg room. At the center balcony provision was made for the storage of baggage as well as a toilet facility. Total length over body 49’ 4 “ and total weight of 22.7 tons.
A total of 181 coaches of this type were placed in service during 1912 – 1923 of which 136 were imported. These coaches are balcony coaches with a total of 5 compartments and 3 coupes providing sleeping accommodation to 26 passengers or alternatively sitting accommodation to 39 passengers, each compartment accommodating 4 sleeper passengers and the coupes limited to 2 sleeper passengers. The coaches were designed with two compartments and two coupe’s on the one side of the coach with the toilet/wash basin facilities in the center and another coupe and three compartments on the opposite side of the coach at the other end. Total length over the body is 63’ with a weight of varying between 32 to 34,5 tons.
The first coaches to be put in service which could be classified , as ‘day saloons’ were the chocolate and cream stock of the Central South African railways placed in service in 1904 and used between Pretoria and Johannesburg. The term day saloons applied to coaching stock which had compartments but which could not be converted into sleeping accommodation for night-time use. The South African Railways imported two batches of day saloons in 1912 and 1914. These coaches, and the CSAR vehicles had clerestory roofs. However, the three batches of day saloons built between 1927 and 1933 had the same elliptical roof profile. The third batch, of which 5267 was one, was of type M-36, 26 coaches numbered 5255 to 5280. The compartment length of the M-36’s was 6’4” for both classes (first and second) and as a result had one less coupe than the other types. All three types featured a cross-over roughly one third down the length of the coach. These vehicles were built as light weight stock replacing aging pre-Union stock on branch lines. The last two batches were characterized by light weight underframes, which were referred to as ‘depression ‘underframes, no doubt referring to the period when these vehicles were built.
The South African Railways were informed in February 1946 that the Royal Family would visit the Union early in 1947. Plans had to be made to provide suitable transport as South Africa had no train reserved exclusively for Royal use, and the Governor-General’s White train was not suitable , since it was not air-conditioned. During March 1946, the South African Railways and Harbours placed an order on Messrs Metropolitan-Cammell carriage and Wagon Co Ltd of Saltley, Birmingham, for twelve fully air conditioned all steel coaches. Of the total order , eight of the new coaches, including coach 51 (R8) , were intended for use of the Royal train. On completion of the Royal Train, it was intended that the two coaches built for the King and Queen would be transferred to the White Train whichat that time was set aside for the exclusive use of the Governor-General of the Union of South Africa. The furnishing and decoration of the Royal coaches were entrusted to the firm of Waring and Gillow of London.
The second generation A-18’s , with four exceptions, all entered traffic in 1914. Three were placed in service in 1918 and the last vehicle in 1921. Notwithstanding their obvious NGR(Natal Government Railways) ancestry, these vehicles could lay claim to being the first dining cars built purely under the auspices of the SAR. They were in no way (apart from influence in design) connected with any pre-Union system. Thus 1914 became a “red letter” year in the history of SAR dining cars in that it witnessed the introduction of the first SAR designed and engineered vehicles. Rather appropriately, the first car of this type to actually enter service was also numerically the first, no 165, placed in service on 31 March 1914. Cars 165 to 176 were built in the Pretoria workshops. The under-frames of these vehicles are constructed of steel, of the standard pattern carried on two four wheel bogies arranged at 44ft 6 inch centers. Two water tanks, each of 135 gallons capacity, are secured to the under-frame, as also are racks for empty bottles, access being given to these by means of trap doors in the floor of the dining saloon and pantry. The interior is arranged with a dining saloon to seat twenty-four, a bar, pantry and kitchen; admission is gained at each end by means of a swing0 door opening on to a half balcony. At one end of the vehicle half the balcony is occupied by a larder, adjoin which is the kitchen; next to this is the pantry, with direct communication to the dining saloon. At the other end of the dining saloon is situated the bar, with an ice chest occupying one –half of the balcony space. Corridors are arranged to give access to the dining saloon, past the bar at the one end and the kitchen at the other end of the vehicle. This car was one of the last survivors, remaining in traffic at Cape Town for the Port Elizabeth service until she was withdrawn in 1982..
The year 1924 is officially quoted for the introduction of the first series of 12 twin cars built at Pretoria (no 195 to 200) and Durban (201- 206). One coach of the twin unit contained the dining saloon and bar, while the second vehicle provided the pantry, kitchen and staff quarters. The dining saloon was characterized by seven pairs of carved roof-supporting pillars and arches, a feature which would, in time, represent a Victorian atmosphere much sought-after by rail enthusiasts who thrive on living in the past. Conventional chairs provided seating for 46 passengers and a small bar was fitted at the outer end of the saloon. Wine racks in the form of alcoves were built into the panels between windows on the center line of each table. Lighting was rather elaborate –small cut glass lamps were fitted just above each alcove, while the saloon’s man lights took the form of eight twin cut glass bowl units mounted on the clerestory ceiling.
On 11 January 1984,the South African Railways inaugurated the Metroblitz high speed interurban train service between Johannesburg and Pretoria, reaching speeds of 160 k/ph while having to content with other mixed traffic on 1067mm Cape gauge track. Five Class 12E Electric locomotives with a Bo-Bo wheel arrangement, which entered service in 1983, were designed and built specifically for the MetroBlitz. The locomotive were designed and built by Union Carriage and Wagon in Nigel with the electrical equipment supplied by General Electric Company.
After the MetroBlitz service came to an end in 1985, the 5 Class 12E locomotives were repainted blue and replaced Class 6E1 as Blue Train locomotives between Pretoria and Kimberley. They continued work until about 2005 and were then staged at the Koedoespoort workshops. Four of the locomotives were sold on public auction with number E12-005 identified as a heritage item.
Class 6E1 refit – Electric Locomotive E1600
During the middle 1970’s the SAR has taken the decision to change the electrification to 25kV traction and a single locomotive, No E1600, was ordered in 1975 to serve as a test unit on the electrified sections. This locomotive was supplied by Union Carriage and Wagon with electrical equipment from the “50 Cycles” consortium group comprising Brown Boveri (Switzerland), Siemens and AEG Telefunken (Germany), ACEC (Belgium), and Alstrom (France). This locomotive never entered revenue service and was also loaned to the NRS in Zimbabwe for a period during the early 1980’s to test their own 25kV system.