South African Class 32-200

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South African Class 32-200
SAR Class 32-200 32-202.jpg
PPC Saldanha’s Class 32-200 no. 32-202, 8 January 2009
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-electric
Designer General Electric
Builder General Electric
Serial number 35842-35851 [1]
Model GE U20C1
Build date 1966
Total produced 10
UIC classification 1Co+Co1 interlinked bogies
Gauge 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) Cape gauge
Leading wheel
762 mm (30.0 in)
Wheel diameter 915 mm (36.0 in)
Wheelbase 4.927 m (16 ft 2.0 in) per bogie
8.128 m (26 ft 8.0 in) between pivots
13.246 m (43 ft 5.5 in) overall
Length 16.866 m (55 ft 4.0 in)
Width 2.756 m (9 ft 0.5 in)
Height 3.924 m (12 ft 10.5 in)
Axle load Pony 10.180 t (10.019 long tons; 11.222 short tons)
Traction 12.700 t (12.499 long tons; 13.999 short tons)
Locomotive weight 93.000 t (91.531 long tons; 102.515 short tons) average
96.520 t (94.996 long tons; 106.395 short tons) maximum
Fuel type Fuel oil
Fuel capacity 4,300 L (950 imp gal; 1,100 US gal)
Prime mover GE 7FDL-12 V12
Engine RPM range 400 rpm idle
1,000 rpm maximum
Engine type 4 stroke diesel engine
Aspiration Cooper Bessemer ET13 turbocharger
Generator DC 10 pole GE 5GT-581C9
Traction motors Six GE 5GE-761A9 DC 4 pole
* 625A rating 1 hour
* 615A rating continuous at 18 km/h (11 mph)
Cylinders V12
Transmission diesel electric
Multiple working 4 maximum
Performance figures
Maximum speed 100 km/h (62 mph)
Power output 1,605 kW (2,152 hp) starting
1,490 kW (2,000 hp) continuous
Tractive effort 183 kN (41,000 lbf) starting
146 kN (33,000 lbf) continuous at 27 km/h (17 mph)
Factor of
25% starting,
20% continuous
Locomotive brake Air brake 28-LV-1 with vigilance control
Not equipped with dynamic brakes
65% ratio at 345 kPa (50.0 psi) brake cylinder pressure
Train brakes 700 L (150 imp gal; 180 US gal) main reservoir
Compressor capacity at idle: 0.029 m3/s (1.0 cu ft/s)
Exhauster capacity at idle: 0.116 m3/s (4.1 cu ft/s)
Operator(s) South African Railways
Sudan Railway
PPC Lime
Class Class 32-200
Number in class 10
Number(s) 32-201 to 32-210
Delivered June and July 1966
First run 1966

The South African Class 32-200 of 1966 is a South African diesel-electric locomotive from the South African Railways era.

In June and July 1966 the South African Railways placed ten Class 32-200 General Electric type U20C1 diesel-electric locomotives in service in South West Africa, now Namibia.[2]


The Class 32-200 type GE U20C1 diesel-electric locomotive was designed and built to South African Railways (SAR) requirements by General Electric (GE) and imported. The ten locomotives, a more powerful low short hood version of the earlier Class 32-000, were numbered in the range from 32-201 to 32-210.[2]

Class 32 series[edit]

1Co bogie

The Class 32 consists of two series, the high short hood Class 32-000 and the low short hood Class 32-200, both GE products.[2]

Both locomotive series ran on the same 1Co bogies, three-axle Co bogies with additional single axle pony trucks, that was designed and produced by General Steel Castings. The fourth axle reduced the maximum axle loading sufficiently to enable these relatively heavy locomotives to operate on the very light rail that was used throughout South West Africa at the time.[3]

The Class 32-200 was in reality a Class 33-000 locomotive on the bogies of the Class 32-000, which reduced its maximum axle load from the 15.749 tonnes (15.500 long tons; 17.360 short tons) of the Class 33-000 to 12.700 tonnes (12.499 long tons; 13.999 short tons). Apart from the bogies, which necessitated a smaller fuel tank, its physical dimensions and exterior appearance were identical to that of the Class 33-000 and it used the same V12 prime mover.


While it was acquired specifically for service on light rail in South West Africa, the Class 32-200s also ended up being employed in South Africa at times. From 1972 to 1974, between the withdrawal of the Class GO 4-8-2+2-8-4 Garratt locomotives and the arrival of the Class 35 diesel-electrics on the line between Amabele and Umtata in Transkei, some of them performed temporary service on that line.[4]

Of the original ten locomotives, most survived in service into the 21st century, some with TransNamib, the Namibian railway, or sold to Sudan Railways or into industrial use to Gold Fields, PPC Lime in Saldanha and Sheltam.[1]

Works numbers[edit]

The Class 32-200 builder’s works numbers and disposition are set out in the table.

Liveries illustrated[edit]

The main picture and the following photograph offer views of both sides of the Class 32-200 locomotive as well as two of the liveries that they served in.

See also[edit]


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  1. ^ a b c 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. 38, 45, 47, 66. 
  2. ^ a b c 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
  3. ^ The American Locomotive Company - A Centennial Remembrance by Richard Steinbrenner
  4. ^ Paxton, Leith; Bourne, David (1985). Locomotives of the South African Railways (1st ed.). Cape Town: Struik. pp. 138–139. ISBN 0869772112.