South African Class 10E1, Series 1

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South African Class 10E1, Series 1
Class 10E1 Series 1 10-071.JPG
No. 10-071 at Pyramid South, Pretoria, 7 May 2013
Type and origin
Power type Electric
Designer General Electric Company
Builder Union Carriage and Wagon
Serial number 5659-5708
Model GEC 10E1
Build date 1987-1989
Total produced 50
AAR wheel arr. C-C
UIC class Co'Co'
Gauge 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) Cape gauge
Wheel diameter 1,220 mm (48.0 in)
Wheelbase 13,460 mm (44 ft 1.9 in)
 • Bogie 4,060 mm (13 ft 3.8 in)
Pivot centres 10,200 mm (33 ft 5.6 in)
Panto shoes 12,000 mm (39 ft 4.4 in)
 • Over couplers 18,520 mm (60 ft 9.1 in)
 • Body 17,506 mm (57 ft 5.2 in)
Width 2,906 mm (9 ft 6.4 in)
 • Pantograph 4,120 mm (13 ft 6.2 in)
 • Body height 3,945 mm (12 ft 11.3 in)
Axle load 21,210 kg (46,760 lb)
Adhesive weight 126,000 kg (278,000 lb)
Loco weight 126,000 kg (278,000 lb)
Power supply Catenary
Current collection Pantographs
Traction motors Six GEC G425AZ
 • Rating 1 hour 540 kW (720 hp)
 • Continuous 515 kW (691 hp)
Gear ratio 17:87
Loco brake Air, Regenerative & Rheostatic
Train brakes Air & Vacuum
Couplers AAR knuckle
Performance figures
Maximum speed 90 km/h (56 mph)
Power output:
 • 1 hour 3,240 kW (4,340 hp)
 • Continuous 3,090 kW (4,140 hp)
Tractive effort:
 • Starting 450 kN (100,000 lbf)
 • 1 hour 335 kN (75,000 lbf)
 • Continuous 310 kN (70,000 lbf) @ 35 km/h (22 mph)
Loco brakeforce 175 kN (39,000 lbf) @ 15–45 km/h (9–28 mph)
2,187 kN (492,000 lbf) @ 45–100 km/h (28–62 mph)
Operators South African Railways
Transnet Freight Rail
Class Class 10E1
Power class 3 kV DC
Number in class 50
Numbers 10-051 to 10-100
Nicknames Breadbin
Delivered 1987-1989
First run 1987

The South African Railways Class 10E1, Series 1 of 1987 is an electric locomotive.

Between 1987 and 1989, the South African Railways placed fifty Class 10E1, Series 1 electric locomotives with a Co-Co wheel arrangement in mainline service as a new standard heavy goods locomotive.[1]


The 3 kV DC Class 10E1, Series 1 electric locomotive was designed for the South African Railways (SAR) by the General Electric Company (GEC) and built by Union Carriage and Wagon (UCW) in Nigel, Transvaal. GEC supplied the electrical equipment while UCW was responsible for the mechanical components and assembly.[2][3]

Class 10E1 10-078 BPF.JPG

Fifty locomotives were delivered by UCW between 1987 and 1989, numbered in the range from 10-051 to 10-100. Contrary to prior UCW practice, GEC works numbers were allocated to the Class 10E1 locomotives. With the exception of the Class 9E, also a UCW-built GEC-designed locomotive, UCW did not allocate builder’s numbers to previous locomotives it built for the SAR, but used the SAR unit numbers for their record keeping.[1][4]


The Class 10E1 was introduced as a new standard 3 kV DC heavy goods locomotive. With a continuous power rating of 3,090 kilowatts (4,140 horsepower), four Class 10E1 locomotives are capable of performing the same work as six Class 6E1. The entire fleet of Class 10E1 electric locomotives features electronic chopper control, which is smoother in comparison to the rheostatic resistance control, which was used in the Classes 1E to 6E1 range of electric locomotives.[2][5]


The locomotive makes use of either regenerative or rheostatic braking, as the situation demands. Both traction and electric braking power are continuously variable, with the electric braking optimised to such an extent that maximum use will be made of the regenerative braking capacity of the 3 kV DC network, with the ability to automatically change over to rheostatic braking whenever the overhead supply system becomes non-receptive.[2][6]


The Class 10E1 was built with sophisticated traction linkages on the bogies. Together with the locomotive's electronic wheel-slip detection system, these traction struts, mounted between the linkages on the bogies and the locomotive body and colloquially referred to as grasshopper legs, ensure the maximum transfer of power to the rails without causing wheel-slip, by reducing the adhesion of the leading bogie and increasing that of the trailing bogie by as much as 15% upon starting off.[2]


This dual cab locomotive has a roof access ladder on one side only, immediately to the right of the cab access door. The roof access ladder end is marked as the no. 2 end. In visual appearance, the Series 1 and Series 2 locomotives are virtually indistinguishable from each other.[1]


Most of the Class 10E1 locomotives were placed in service at Nelspruit and Ermelo in Mpumalanga. In 1998, a number of Spoornet’s electric locomotives and most of their Class 38-000 electro-diesel locomotives were sold to Maquarie-GETX (General Electric Financing) and leased back to Spoornet for a ten-year period, which was to expire in 2008. Of the Class 10E, Series 1, numbers 10-062 to 10-100 were included in this leasing deal.[4]

Works numbers[edit]

The Class 10E1, Series 1 GEC works numbers are listed in the table.[4]


The main picture shows no. 10-071 in the Spoornet blue livery with outline numbers, at Pyramid South, north of Pretoria, on 7 May 2013. It shows the locomotive's right side, while the picture of no. 10-075 below shows the left side. Other liveries which were applied to the Class 10E1, Series 1 are also illustrated.


  1. ^ 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
  2. ^ a b c d Paxton, Leith; Bourne, David (1985). Locomotives of the South African Railways (1st ed.). Cape Town: Struik. pp. 132–133. ISBN 0869772112. 
  3. ^ "UCW - Electric locomotives" (PDF). The UCW Partnership. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 October 2007. Retrieved 30 September 2010. 
  4. ^ 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. 50–52, 59–60. 
  5. ^ Jane's Train Recognition Guide
  6. ^ Class 10E1 – Principle (sic) Dimensions and Technical Data (TFR leaflet used in driver training, circa 2010)