South African Class 36-200

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South African Class 36-200
SAR Class 36-200 36-201.JPG
No. 36-201 at Ladysmith, 5 August 2007
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-electric
Designer General Motors Electro-Motive Division
Builder General Motors South Africa
Serial number 115-1 to 115-50 (36-201 to 36-250)
118-1 to 118-51 (36-251 to 36-301)
120-1 (Columbus 1)
122-1 & 122-2 (Iscor 661-45 & 661-46)
123-1 & 123-2 (Ithala 1 & 2)
91F1AA001 (Iscor 661-47) [1]
Model GM-EMD SW1002
Build date 1980-1991
Total produced 107
AAR wheel arr. B-B
UIC classification Bo'Bo'
Gauge 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) Cape gauge
Bogies 2.438 m (8 ft) wheelbase
Wheel diameter 1,016 mm (40 in)
Wheelbase 9.905 m (32 ft 6 in)
Length 14.120 m (46 ft 3.9 in)
Width 2.724 m (8 ft 11.2 in)
Height 3.928 m (12 ft 10.6 in)
Axle load 18,250 kg (18.0 long tons)
Locomotive weight 72,000 kg (70.9 long tons) average
83,000 kg (81.7 long tons) maximum
Fuel type Fuel oil
Fuel capacity 2,250 litres (590 US gal)
Prime mover GM-EMD 8-645E 2 stroke V8
Engine RPM range 250 rpm low idle
315 rpm idle
900 rpm maximum
Engine type Diesel
Aspiration GM-EMD ROOTS 3 lobe blower
Displacement 10.570 litres (645.0 cu in)
Generator DC 8 pole GM-EMD D25
Traction motors Four EMD D29 DC 4 pole
* 485A 1 hour
* 450A continuous at 15 km/h (9.3 mph)
Transmission 63/14 gear ratio
Multiple working 4 maximum
Performance figures
Maximum speed 90 km/h (56 mph)
Power output 850 kW (1,140 hp) starting
755 kW (1,012 hp) continuous
Tractive effort 176 kN (40,000 lbf) starting
141 kN (32,000 lbf) continuous at 13.92 km/h (8.65 mph)
Factor of
25% starting, 20% continuous
Locomotive brake 28-LAV-1
65% ratio at 340 kPa (49 psi) brake cylinder pressure
Train brakes 850 litres (220 US gal) main reservoir
Compressor capacity:
0.021 m3/s (0.74 cu ft/s)
Exhauster capacity:
0.096 m3/s (3.4 cu ft/s)
Safety systems Vigilance control, two station controls
Operator(s) South African Railways
Columbus Stainless
African Rail and Traction Services
Ithala Development Finance Corp.
Transnet Freight Rail [1]
Class Class 36-200
Number in class 107
Number(s) SAR 36-201 to 36-301
Columbus 1
Iscor 661-45 to 661-47 (ARTS 21-23)
Ithala 1 & 2 [1]
Delivered 1980-1984 (SAR)
1984 (Columbus)
1986-1991 (Iscor)
1987 (Ithala) [1]
First run 1980 [2]

The South African Class 36-200 of 1980 is a South African diesel-electric locomotive from the South African Railways era.

Beginning in August 1980, the South African Railways placed one hundred and one Class 36-200 General Motors Electro-Motive Division type SW1002 diesel-electric locomotives in service. In 1984 one Class 36-200 locomotive was also built for the Bophuthatswana National Development Corporation, for use at the Ga-Rankuwa Industrial Estate. Three more were placed in service by Iscor in Pretoria between 1986 and 1991, and another two by the Ithala Development Finance Corporation in KwaZulu-Natal in 1987.[1][2]


The Class 36-200 type SW1002 diesel-electric locomotive was designed for the South African Railways (SAR) by General Motors Electro-Motive Division (GM-EMD) and all but one were built by General Motors South Africa (GMSA) in Port Elizabeth. The exception was the third type SW1002 locomotive to be built for Iscor in Pretoria, which was delivered from GM-Astarsa in Argentina.[1][2][3]

Builder’s plate on no. 36-301

The one hundred and one locomotives for the SAR were built in two batches on two orders. The first fifty were built between 1980 and 1982 and numbered in the range from 36-201 to 36-250. Another fifty-one were built between 1982 and 1984 and numbered in the range from 36-251 to 36-301. It is unclear why such an odd number of locomotives were ordered.[1][2]

Apart from the SAR locomotives, several were also built for industry.[1]

  • A single locomotive was built for the Bophuthatswana National Development Corporation (BNDC) in Ga-Rankuwa and delivered in 1984.
  • Two locomotives that were ordered by Iscor in Pretoria were delivered in 1986, numbered 661-45 and 661-46.
  • Two locomotives that had been ordered by the Ithala Development Finance Corporation (IDFC) in KwaZulu-Natal were delivered in 1987 and numbered 1 and 2.
  • The Argentinian-built locomotive was delivered to Iscor by GM-Astarsa in 1991 and numbered 661-47.

Class 36 series[edit]

The Class 36 locomotive group consists of two series, the General Electric (GE) Class 36-000 and the GM-EMD Class 36-200. Both these manufacturers also produced locomotives for the South African Classes 33, 34 and 35.[2]


South African Railways[edit]

Class 36-200 locomotives are general purpose locomotives, equipped with two station controls for bi-directional operation, that are used mainly for yard shunting and pickup work to service industrial customers. When placed in service, the SAR locomotives were initially distributed for service between the Western and Eastern Cape and the Eastern Transvaal Lowveld, but the Cape locomotives were later relocated to Natal, Gauteng, the North West Province and Limpopo.[1][3]


The three Iscor locomotives were later hired out to African Rail and Traction Services (ARTS), based in a workshop at the Iscor Pretoria works, and renumbered in the range from 21 to 23. ARTS has a fleet of about twenty locomotives that are used on hire contracts. By early 2002 ARTS locomotives were employed at the Rustenburg Platinum Mine in the North West Province, at Iscor in Pretoria where it took over the entire railway operation, and at the Richards Bay Coal Terminal in KwaZulu-Natal.[1]

The BNDC locomotive did not remain in service in Bophuthatwana very long before it went to Columbus Stainless in Middelburg, Transvaal.[1]

The IDFC locomotives were later sold to Sheltam, where they were numbered 24 and 25 and later renumbered to 1003 and 1004.[1]

Works numbers[edit]

The Class 36-200 builder’s works numbers, dates or years built and the distribution of the non-SAR industrial locomotives are shown in the table. The dates as shown were recorded off the respective locomotive works plates.[1][4]

Liveries illustrated[edit]

The main picture shows no. 36-201 in the Spoornet orange livery at Ladysmith, Kwa-Zulu Natal, on 5 August 2007. The following pictures illustrate the sides and ends of the Class 36-200 locomotive as well as other liveries that were applied to them.

See also[edit]


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  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m 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, 44, 46. 
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ a b Paxton, Leith; Bourne, David (1985). Locomotives of the South African Railways (1st ed.). Cape Town: Struik. pp. 142–143. ISBN 0869772112. 
  4. ^ Actual dates recorded off locomotive works plates by Peter Bagshawe