South African Class GE 2-8-2+2-8-2

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South African Class GE 2-8-2+2-8-2
Class GE 2269 (2-8-2+2-8-2).jpg
Class GE no. 2269, circa 1930
Type and origin
Power type Steam
Designer Beyer, Peacock and Company
Builder Beyer, Peacock and Company
Serial number 6193-6198, 6339-6348, 6716-6717 [1][2]
Model Class GE
Build date 1924-1930
Total produced 18
Configuration 2-8-2+2-8-2 "Double Mikado" Garratt
Gauge 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) Cape gauge
Leading wheel
28.5 in (724 mm)
Driver diameter 46 in (1,170 mm)
Trailing wheel
28.5 in (724 mm)
Wheelbase Total: 70 ft (21.336 m)
12 ft 9 in (3.886 m) coupled
22 ft 10.5 in (6.972 m) total, 2260-2275
22 ft 11 in (6.985 m) total, 2276-2277
Length 76 ft 8.75 in (23.387 m) 2260-2275
76 ft 8.25 in (23.374 m) 2276-2277
Height 12 ft 11.6875 in (3.954 m)
Frame Plate frame, 35 ft (10.668 m) between pivot centres
Axle load 13.45 long tons (13.7 t) on 7th driver, 2260-2275
13.15 long tons (13.4 t) on 2nd driver, 2276-2277
Weight on drivers 103.5 long tons (105.2 t) 2260-2275
102.75 long tons (104.4 t) 2276-2277
Locomotive weight 240,800 lb (109.2 t) empty
148.4 long tons (150.8 t) w/o 2260-2275
147.9 long tons (150.3 t) w/o 2276-2277
Fuel type Coal
Fuel capacity 9 long tons (9.1 t)
Water capacity 3,300 imp gal (15,000 l) front
1,300 imp gal (5,900 l) rear
Boiler 6 ft 9 in (2.057 m) inside diameter
11 ft 3 in (3.429 m) inside length
7 ft 9.25 in (2.369 m) pitch
Boiler pressure 180 psi (1,240 kPa)
Firegrate area 52 sq ft (4.831 m2)
Heating surface:
– Tubes
288 tubes 2 in (50.8 mm) diameter
36 tubes 5.5 in (140 mm) diameter
2,374 sq ft (220.552 m2)
– Flues 27 sq ft (2.508 m2) 2276-2277 only
– Firebox 215 sq ft (19.974 m2) 2260-2265
202 sq ft (18.766 m2) 2266-2277
– Total 2,589 sq ft (240.526 m2) 2260-2265
2,576 sq ft (239.318 m2) 2266-2275
2,603 sq ft (241.827 m2) 2276-2277
Superheater area 362 sq ft (33.631 m2) 2260-2265
349 sq ft (32.423 m2) 2266-2275
364 sq ft (33.817 m2) 2276-2277
Cylinders Four
Cylinder size 18 in (457 mm) bore 2260-2275
19 in (483 mm) bore 2276-2277
24 in (610 mm) stroke [1][3]
Valve gear Walschaerts [4]
Performance figures
Tractive effort At 75% boiler pressure:
45,640 lbf (203.0 kN) 2260-2275
50,850 lbf (226.2 kN) 2276-2277
Operator(s) South African Railways
Class Class GE
Number in class 18
Number(s) 2260-2277
Delivered 1925-1931
First run 1925
Withdrawn 1979

The South African Class GE 2-8-2+2-8-2 of 1925 is a South African steam locomotive from the South African Railways era.

Between 1925 and 1931 the South African Railways placed eighteen Class GE Garratt articulated locomotives with a 2-8-2+2-8-2 Double Mikado type wheel arrangement in service.[1][3][4]


In 1924 specifications were prepared by the South African Railways (SAR) for the Class GE 2-8-2+2-8-2 Double Mikado type Garratt locomotive and an order for six locomotives was placed with Beyer, Peacock and Company (BP). They were delivered and placed in service in 1925, numbered in the range from 2260 to 2265. The Class GE was the only Double Mikado Garratt type to see service on the SAR.[1][3][4]

The locomotives proved to be most successful and a second order for ten was placed with BP in 1926. These were numbered in the range from 2266 to 2275 when they were delivered and placed in service in 1927. A third order for two locomotives, also from BP, followed in 1930, numbered 2276 and 2277 and placed in service in 1931.[1][3][4]


The Class GE Garratt was designed as a heavy goods locomotive for use on light 60 pounds per yard (30 kilograms per metre) rail and was an enlargement of the Class GD 2-6-2+2-6-2. They were the first eight-coupled Garratts to be built for the SAR. At the time of their introduction they were, on a tractive effort basis, the most powerful locomotives operating on light track in Africa and the Southern Hemisphere.[3][4][5]

The locomotives of the three orders were visually distinguishable from one another. The first two orders were mechanically identical, but the second batch had redesigned water tanks with rounded top corners, and inset tops on their coal bunkers to improve rearward vision for the crew. They also had slightly smaller firegrate and superheater areas than the first batch.[3][4][5]

The two locomotives in the third batch were similar in general appearance to those in the second, but with arch tubes added, wider cabs and larger cylinders to make them more powerful. All of them had Belpaire fireboxes, plate frames, Walschaerts valve gear and were superheated.[3][4][5]


They were placed in service working goods traffic on the light rail sections from Zeerust to Mafeking and from Pretoria to Pietersburg. Some were later allocated to the Natal North Coast, and a few were still later also used for a brief period to work across the Montagu Pass between George and Oudtshoorn.[1][4][5]

Their final duties were on the Nkwalini branch in Natal, where the last survivors of the original eighteen locomotives were finally replaced by Class GEA and Class GO Garratts. The last ten Class GE locomotives were withdrawn from service in April 1975.[4][5]

Sides illustrated[edit]

The main picture shows no. 2269, one of the second batch of Class GE locomotives, c. 1930. This locomotive still has the old bell link-and-pin type couplers.

The locomotives depicted below have all been equipped with the AAR knuckle couplers that were introduced on the SAR in the late 1940s. The coupler on no. 2274 is one of the type that was used on locomotives during the coupler transition period, with a groove in the block of the coupler to enable the locomotive to couple to rolling stock that was still equipped with the older link-and-pin type couplers.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Holland, D.F. (1972). Steam Locomotives of the South African Railways, Volume 2: 1910-1955 (1st ed.). Newton Abbott, Devon: David & Charles. pp. 43–45. ISBN 978-0-7153-5427-8. 
  2. ^ Hamilton, Gavin N., The Garratt Locomotive - Garratt Locomotives produced by Beyer, Peacock, retrieved 10 November 2012 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g South African Railways and Harbours Locomotive Diagram Book, 2’0” & 3’6” Gauge Steam Locomotives, 15 August 1941, as amended
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Paxton, Leith; Bourne, David (1985). Locomotives of the South African Railways (1st ed.). Cape Town: Struik. p. 91. ISBN 0869772112. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Durrant, A E (1989). Twilight of South African Steam (1st ed.). Newton Abbott, London: David & Charles. p. 111. ISBN 0715386387.