South African Class 11E

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South African Class 11E
SAR Class 11E 11-009.JPG
No. 11-009 at Vryheid, KwaZulu-Natal, 15 August 2007
Type and origin
Power type Electric
Designer General Motors
Builder 11-001 to 11-030 GMSA
11-031 to 11-045 Delta
Serial number GMSA 119.01 to 119.30 [1]
Delta 119.31 to 119.45
Model General Motors GM5FC
Build date 1985-1987
Total produced 45
UIC classification Co-Co
Gauge 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) Cape gauge
Bogies 4.06 m (13 ft 3.8 in) wheelbase
Wheel diameter 1,220 mm (48 in)
Wheelbase 15.16 m (49 ft 8.9 in)
Length 20.47 m (67 ft 1.9 in)
Width 2.85 m (9 ft 4.2 in)
Height 4.2 m (13 ft 9.4 in) pantographs down
Axle load 29,000 kg (28.5 long tons)
Locomotive weight 172,280 kg (169.6 long tons)
(11-001 to 11-012)
168,000 kg (165.3 long tons)
(11-013 to 11-045)
Current collection
Traction motors Six LJM 540-1
Transmission 16/71 gear ratio
Performance figures
Maximum speed 90 km/h (56 mph)
Power output Per motor:
690 kW (930 hp) 1 hour
650 kW (870 hp) continuous
4,140 kW (5,550 hp) 1 hour
3,900 kW (5,200 hp) continuous
Tractive effort 580 kN (130,000 lbf) starting
425 kN (96,000 lbf) 1 hour
400 kN (90,000 lbf) continuous
Locomotive brake Air & Rheostatic [2]
4,500 kW (6,000 hp)
Train brakes Air
Operator(s) South African Railways
Transnet Freight Rail
Class Class 11E [3]
Power class 25 kV AC
Number in class 45
Number(s) 11-001 to 11-045
Delivered 1985-1987
First run 1985

The South African Class 11E of 1985 is a South African electric locomotive from the South African Railways era.

Between 1985 and 1987 the South African Railways placed forty-five Class 11E electric locomotives with a Co-Co wheel arrangement in mainline service on the Coalink line.[3]


The 25 kV AC Class 11E electric locomotive was designed for the South African Railways (SAR) by General Motors (GM), while the thyristor traction technology was provided by Allmänna Svenska Elektriska Aktiebolaget (ASEA) of Sweden. It was built in South Africa by General Motors South Africa (GMSA), whose corporate name was changed to Delta Motor Corporation two-thirds through the locomotive building process. Altogether forty-five locomotives were delivered between 1985 and 1987 and numbered in the range from 11-001 to 11-045.[1][2]


Following the Class 9E in 1978 and the Class 7E1 in 1980, the Class 11E was the third single cab mainline electric locomotive to be acquired by the SAR. Until the Class 9E was introduced, all South African mainline electric locomotives were dual cab units, but since the Class 11E locomotives were designed to be used in multiple unit operation only, a second cab was deemed unnecessary.[2][3]

At the time they were the most powerful locomotives in SAR service with a continuous power output of 3,900 kilowatts (5,200 horsepower), compared to the 3,840 kilowatts (5,150 horsepower) of the Class 9E. Four units can haul two hundred loaded coal wagons in a train weighing more than 21,000 tonnes (20,668 long tons). Since they are used on a route where loaded trains face steeper descending than ascending grades, the locomotive was designed to produce 4,500 kilowatts (6,000 horsepower) of rheostatic braking power.[2][3]

Works numbers and delivery dates[edit]

The table displays the Class 11E works numbers and the date on which each locomotive was delivered to the SAR.[1][4]


Until 1978 all electrified routes in South Africa used 3 kV DC. Beginning in 1978, 25 kV AC was introduced on all new mainline electrification projects bar one, the exception being the Orex iron ore line from Sishen to Saldanha, where 50 kV AC was used. There are four isolated 25 kV AC routes.[1][2][3]

The Class 11E was designed primarily for export coal hauling on the 25 kV AC Coalink line between the Mpumalanga coalfields around Ermelo and the Richards Bay Coal Terminal, via Vryheid in KwaZulu-Natal.[1][2]

Sides illustrated[edit]

The main picture shows the left side of number 11-009 at Vryheid on 15 August 2007, in the Spoornet blue livery with outline numbers. The locomotives depicted below are all in the Spoornet blue livery with solid numbers.

See also[edit]


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  1. ^ a b c d e Middleton, John N. (2002). Railways of Southern Africa Locomotive Guide - 2002 (as amended by Combined Amendment List 4, January 2009) (2nd, Dec 2002 ed.). Herts, England: Beyer-Garratt Publications. pp. 50, 52, 62. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Paxton, Leith; Bourne, David (1985). Locomotives of the South African Railways (1st ed.). Cape Town: Struik. p. 133. ISBN 0869772112. 
  3. ^ a b c d e South African Railways Index and Diagrams Electric and Diesel Locomotives, 610mm and 1065mm Gauges, Ref LXD 14/1/100/20, 28 January 1975, as amended
  4. ^ Additional information as supplied by John N. Middleton