South African Class 1E
|South African Class 1E
& South African Class 1ES
Class 1ES no. E145 at Salt River, Cape Town, January 1975
|Builder||Swiss Locomotive and Machine Works
Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns
|Serial number||SLM 2875-2934 (E1-E60, Series 1)
MV unknown (E61-E78, Series 1)
MV unknown (E79-E95, Series 2)
MV unknown (E98-E102, Series 3)
MV unknown (E103-E122, Series 4)
SLM 3655-3676 (E139-E160, Series 5)
WS 747-766 (E161-E180, Series 6)
RSH 7181-7190 (E181-E190, Series 7) 
|Total produced||78 Series 1, 1923-1925
17 Series 2, 1925-1926
5 Series 3, 1936
20 Series 4, 1936
22 Series 5, 1938
20 Series 6, 1938
10 Series 7, 1944
|UIC classification||Bo+Bo Interlinked bogies|
|Gauge||3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) Cape gauge|
|Wheel diameter||1,219 mm (48 in)|
|Minimum curve||91.45 m (300 ft)|
|Wheelbase||2.819 m (9 ft 3 in), bogies
9.423 m (30 ft 11 in), overall
|Length||13.310 m (43 ft 8 in)|
|Width||2.800 m (9 ft 2.2 in)|
|Height||3.962 m (13 ft) pantographs down|
|Axle load||17 6⁄20 t (17.0 long tons; 19.1 short tons)|
|Locomotive weight||69 t (68 long tons; 76 short tons)|
|Electric system(s)||3 kV DC catenary|
|Traction motors||Four MV 182R|
|Transmission||17/75 Gear ratio at traction motors|
|Multiple working||4 maximum|
|Top speed||72 km/h (45 mph)|
|Power output||224 kW (300 hp) 1 hour per motor
896 kW (1,202 hp) 1 hour total
|Tractive effort||176 kN (40,000 lbf) starting
95 kN (21,000 lbf) 1 hour
73 kN (16,000 lbf) continuous
|Locomotive brake||Four brakes as built 
* Westinghouse automatic
* Westinghouse straight
Regenerative (Modification on early & as-built on later models) 
|Train brakes||Air & Vacuum|
|Railroad(s)||South African Railways|
|Class||Class 1E, Class 1ES|
|Power class||3 kV DC|
|Number in class||172|
|Number||Series 1 E1-E78
Series 2 E79-E95
Series 3 E98-E102
Series 4 E103-E122
Series 5 E139-E160
Series 6 E161-E180
Series 7 E181-E190
|First run||1925 |
Between 1925 and 1945 the South African Railways placed altogether one hundred and seventy-two Class 1E electric locomotives in service, spread over seven orders. They were the first mainline electric locomotives to be introduced in South Africa.
- 1 Electrification in Natal
- 2 Manufacturers
- 3 Characteristics
- 4 Service
- 5 Works numbers
- 6 Liveries illustrated
- 7 See also
- 8 References
Electrification in Natal
South Africa's first electric locomotive, the Class 1E, entered South African Railways (SAR) service in Natal in 1925. It was ordered and designed for the electrification of the Glencoe to Pietermaritzburg section, a mountainous single track line that carried heavy mineral traffic towards the port of Durban on an alignment with severe gradients and tight curves. When the existing working by steam locomotives became too slow and inefficient to keep up with increased traffic, electrification of this 171 miles (275 kilometres) section was decided upon to increase the capacity of the line.
Benefits of electrification
An important consideration in deciding upon the economics of electrification was the potential saving in wage-bills. Electrification would reduce the required crew roster from three hundred drivers and firemen to one hundred and seventy drivers and assistants. In addition it was expected that a large reduction in overtime would be accomplished by increasing the average train speeds from steam traction’s 8 miles per hour (13 kilometres per hour) to electric traction’s 21 miles per hour (34 kilometres per hour) on the Glencoe to Pietermaritzburg section, with slightly higher future speeds anticipated. It was further estimated that the total capacity of the line would be increased by sixty per cent.
At the time there were two routes between Pietermaritzburg and Durban. The newer route with its 1 in 66 gradients was chosen for electrification over the older route with its 1 in 33 gradients. Between Cato Ridge and Durban electrification necessitated the doubling of the track and the construction of ten tunnels, as well as the construction of long stretches of cutting and embankment through difficult terrain.
Colenso power station
The Colenso power station was built by the SAR specifically to power this line. The power that was generated at Colenso was distributed at 88 kV to twelve substations along the route, where it was converted to 6.6 kV and then to 3 kV DC by synchronous motor generators, for use by the Railways.
At the time, the first batch of seventy-eight Series 1 locomotives constituted the largest order for a single type of electric locomotive to have been placed anywhere in the world.
Designed by Metropolitan-Vickers (Metrovick), they were built for the SAR in seven series by four manufacturers over a period of twenty years. A total of one hundred and seventy-two Class 1E locomotives were delivered between 1925 and 1945.
- Series 1. The first sixty locomotives, numbered in the range from E1 to E60, were built by the Swiss Locomotive and Machine Works (SLM) in 1923 and 1924. The remaining eighteen Series 1 locomotives, numbered in the range from E61 to E78, were built by Metrovick in 1925.
- Series 2. All seventeen locomotives, numbered in the range from E79 to E95, were built by Metrovick in 1925 and 1926.
- Series 3. Five locomotives, numbered in the range from E98 to E102, were built by Metrovick in 1936. The skipped numbers E96 and E97 were allocated to Class ES locomotives.
- Series 4. Twenty locomotives, numbered in the range from E103 to E122, were built by Metrovick in 1936.
- Series 5. Twenty-two locomotives, numbered in the range from E139 to E160, were built by SLM in 1938. The skipped numbers in the range from E123 to E138 were allocated to Classes ES1, ES, 2E, DS and DS1 locomotives.
- Series 6. Twenty locomotives, numbered in the range from E161 to E180, were built by the Nederlandsche Fabriek van Werktuigen en Spoorwegmaterieel (Werkspoor) in 1938.
- Series 7. Ten locomotives, numbered in the range from E181 to E190, were built by Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns (RSH) in 1944.
Like the subsequent Classes 2E, 3E and 4E, the Class 1E had bogie mounted draft gear. It had a Bo+Bo wheel arrangement with an articulated inter-bogie linkage, therefore no train forces were transmitted directly to the locomotive body.
The batteries were mounted in cases hung underneath the locomotive body, while sections of the roof above the three compartments were removable to enable heavy machinery or control gear to be lifted out for repair.
The chosen overhead power supply was 3 kV DC, the highest direct current overhead voltage in use at the time, while the traction motors operated at 1.5 kV. The four traction motors were coupled in pairs, two in series across the 3 kV supply line.
These dual cab locomotives have four grilles below the four windows on one side, and only two grilles below the centre two windows on the other side. The number 1 end will be at the front when the side with four grilles is to the left.
The interior layout consisted of five compartments, a driving cab at each end with a connecting corridor along one side of the locomotive, the high tension compartment in the middle of the locomotive, and a machinery compartment behind each cab. The latter two compartments housed auxiliary gear such as two motor generator sets, one 16 kilowatts (21 horsepower) and the other 28 kilowatts (38 horsepower), each with a blower fan on its shaft for ventilating the main motors. In addition it contained the vacuum exhauster, air compressor, air reservoirs for the brakes, low-tension control apparatus for the auxiliaries and battery, together with contactor gear for controlling the field of the larger motor generator.
The later series locomotives made use of regenerative braking that enabled higher speeds to be allowed on down grades, while reducing the dependence on the ordinary braking system and with the collateral benefit of savings in electricity consumption. It was reportedly the first extensive use in regular traffic of electric locomotives equipped for multiple unit operation with regenerative braking. Early series locomotives were subsequently modified to include regenerative braking.
Early models bore number plates inscribed in English only. By 1938, when the Series 5 locomotives were placed in service, Afrikaans had been accepted as South Africa’s second official language and new locomotives bore bilingual number plates. While they were employed mainly in Natal, some later also worked on the Witwatersrand and eventually also in the Western Cape. Some of them covered more than 8,000,000 kilometres (4,970,970 miles) during their service lives.
They served in both goods and passenger service. Since their top speed of 72 kilometres per hour (45 miles per hour) was considered too slow for passenger service, two Class 1Es were modified in 1936 by changing their gear ratio to enable them to run at speeds of up to 90 kilometres per hour (56 miles per hour).
Altogether thirty-five of the Class 1E locomotives were eventually withdrawn from mainline service, modified and reclassified to Class 1ES for use as shunting locomotives. The modifications included alteration of the resistance grids in the electrical circuit and enlarged and widened cabs, but the gear ratios were not altered. Apart from the wider cabs, the modified Class 1ES locomotives were visually identifiable by their front windows with slanted upper edges, compared to the rectangular shaped front windows of the Class 1E.
All the Class 1E and Class 1ES locomotives were retired by 1990.
|1ES||3||E101||Metrovick||1936||Mod to 1ES|
|1ES||4||E104||Metrovick||1936||Mod to 1ES|
|1ES||4||E105||Metrovick||1936||Mod to 1ES|
|1ES||4||E106||Metrovick||1936||Mod to 1ES|
|1ES||4||E107||Metrovick||1936||Mod to 1ES|
|1ES||4||E108||Metrovick||1936||Mod to 1ES|
|1ES||4||E109||Metrovick||1936||Mod to 1ES|
|1ES||4||E110||Metrovick||1936||Mod to 1ES|
|1ES||4||E111||Metrovick||1936||Mod to 1ES|
|1ES||4||E112||Metrovick||1936||Mod to 1ES|
|1ES||4||E113||Metrovick||1936||Mod to 1ES|
|1ES||4||E114||Metrovick||1936||Rebuilt ES E525|
|1ES||4||E115||Metrovick||1936||Mod to 1ES|
|1ES||4||E116||Metrovick||1936||Mod to 1ES|
|1ES||4||E117||Metrovick||1936||Mod to 1ES|
|1ES||4||E118||Metrovick||1936||Mod to 1ES|
|1ES||4||E119||Metrovick||1936||Mod to 1ES|
|1ES||4||E120||Metrovick||1936||Mod to 1ES|
|1ES||4||E121||Metrovick||1936||Mod to 1ES|
|1ES||4||E122||Metrovick||1936||Mod to 1ES|
|1ES||5||E139||SLM||3655||1938||Mod to 1ES|
|1ES||5||E140||SLM||3656||1938||Mod to 1ES|
|1ES||5||E141||SLM||3657||1938||Mod to 1ES|
|1ES||5||E142||SLM||3658||1938||Mod to 1ES|
|1ES||5||E143||SLM||3659||1938||Mod to 1ES|
|1ES||5||E144||SLM||3660||1938||Mod to 1ES|
|1ES||5||E145||SLM||3661||1938||Mod to 1ES|
|1ES||5||E146||SLM||3662||1938||Rebuilt ES E526|
|1ES||5||E147||SLM||3663||1938||Mod to 1ES|
|1ES||5||E148||SLM||3664||1938||Mod to 1ES|
|1ES||5||E149||SLM||3665||1938||Mod to 1ES|
|1ES||5||E150||SLM||3666||1938||Mod to 1ES|
|1ES||5||E151||SLM||3667||1938||Mod to 1ES|
|1ES||5||E153||SLM||3669||1938||Mod to 1ES|
|1ES||5||E157||SLM||3673||1938||Mod to 1ES|
The main picture shows a Class 1ES locomotive with its enlarged cab, while the following pictures illustrate some of the liveries that Class 1E locomotives served in.
No. E23 plinthed at Union Carriage & Wagon, Nigel, 24 September 2009
No. E25 in black livery, staged at Danskraal, Ladysmith, 5 December 2010
- South African Class ES
- South African Class 2E
- Electric locomotive numbering and classification
- List of South African locomotive classes
- 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. 4, 50.
- "Natal Contract to British". Electric Railway Journal 61: 107. 13 January 1923. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
- SETS - SAR Class 1E Electric Locomotives
- South African Railways Index and Diagrams Electric and Diesel Locomotives, 610 mm and 1065 mm Gauges, Ref LXD 14/1/100/20, 28 January 1975, as amended
- Mike’s Railway History – A Look at Railways in 1935 & Before: South African Electrification
- "South African Railways Power Plant". Electric Railway Journal 60 (24): 914. 9 December 1922. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
- Brazil, H (1928). "The South African Railways Electrification". Electrical Substations. Edward Arnold & Co. p. 110. Retrieved 2010-01-12.
- Brazil, H (1928). "IX - Traction Substations". Electrical Substations. Edward Arnold and Co. p. 110. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
- Paxton, Leith; Bourne, David (1985). Locomotives of the South African Railways (1st ed.). Cape Town: Struik. p. 125. ISBN 0869772112.
- Steam, Oil & Wires, vol 1, (Bernard Zurnamer), pp69-71
- December 1922 and March 1925 issues of the Metropolitan-Vickers Gazette
- Electric Traction by A.T. Dover (1929)
- SLM Lokomotiven 1871-1894 by Verein Rollmaterialverzeichnis Schweiz