South African Class 11E

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
South African Class 11E
SAR Class 11E 11-009.JPG
No. 11-009 at Vryheid, KwaZulu-Natal, 15 August 2007
Type and origin
Power type Electric
Designer General Motors
Builder 11-001 - 11-030 GMSA
11-031 - 11-045 Delta
Serial number GMSA 119.01-119.30
Delta 119.31-119.45
Model General Motors GM5FC
Build date 1985-1987
Total produced 45
 • AAR C-C
 • UIC Co'Co'
 • Commonwealth Co-Co
Gauge 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) Cape gauge
Wheel diameter 1,220 mm (48.0 in)
Wheelbase 14,360 mm (47 ft 1.4 in)
 • Bogie 4,400 mm (14 ft 5.2 in)
Pivot centres 11,560 mm (37 ft 11.1 in)
Panto shoes 11,940 mm (39 ft 2.1 in)
 • Over couplers 20,470 mm (67 ft 1.9 in)
 • Body 19,200 mm (62 ft 11.9 in)
Width 2,850 mm (9 ft 4.2 in)
 • Pantograph 4,200 mm (13 ft 9.4 in)
 • Body height 3,962 mm (13 ft 0 in)
Axle load 29,000 kg (64,000 lb)
Loco weight 172,280 kg (379,810 lb) (11-001 - 11-012)
168,000 kg (370,000 lb) (11-013 - 11-045)
Electric system/s 25 kV AC 50 Hz
Current pickup(s) Pantographs from catenary
Traction motors Six LJM-540-1
 • Rating 1 hour 690 kW (930 hp)
 • Continuous 650 kW (870 hp)
Gear ratio 16:71
Loco brake Air & Rheostatic
Train brakes Air
Couplers AAR knuckle Type F
Performance figures
Maximum speed 90 km/h (56 mph)
Power output:
 • 1 hour 4,140 kW (5,550 hp)
 • Continuous 3,900 kW (5,200 hp)
Tractive effort:
 • Starting 580 kN (130,000 lbf)
 • 1 hour 425 kN (96,000 lbf)
 • Continuous 400 kN (90,000 lbf)
Brakeforce 4,500 kW (6,000 hp)
Operators South African Railways
Transnet Freight Rail
Class Class 11E
Number in class 45
Numbers 11-001 - 11-045
Delivered 1985-1987
First run 1985

The South African Railways Class 11E of 1985 is an electric locomotive.

Between 1985 and 1987, the South African Railways placed forty-five Class 11E electric locomotives with a Co-Co wheel arrangement in mainline service on the Coalink line.[1]


The 25 kV AC Class 11E electric locomotive was designed for the South African Railways (SAR) by General Motors (GM) while its thyristor traction technology was provided by Allmänna Svenska Elektriska Aktiebolaget (ASEA) of Sweden. It was built in South Africa by General Motors South Africa (GMSA), whose corporate name was changed to Delta Motor Corporation two-thirds through the locomotive building process. Altogether forty-five locomotives were delivered between 1985 and 1987, numbered in the range from 11-001 to 11-045.[2][3]



Following the Class 9E in 1978 and the Class 7E1 in 1980, the Class 11E was the third single-cab mainline electric locomotive to be acquired by the SAR. Until the Class 9E was introduced all South African mainline electric locomotives were dual cab units, but since the Classes 9E, 7E1 and 11E locomotives were designed to be used in a service where multiple unit operation was the normal practice, a second cab was deemed unnecessary.[1][3]


At the time, they were the most powerful locomotives in SAR service with a continuous power output of 3,900 kilowatts (5,200 horsepower) compared to the 3,840 kilowatts (5,150 horsepower) of the Class 9E. Four units can haul two hundred loaded coal wagons in a train weighing more than 21,000 tonnes (21,000 long tons). Since they are used on a route where loaded trains face steeper descending than ascending grades, the locomotive was designed to produce 4,500 kilowatts (6,000 horsepower) of rheostatic braking power.[1][3]


The Class 11E was built with sophisticated traction linkages on the bogies, similar to the bogie design which was introduced on the Class 6E1 in 1969. 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.[3]

Works numbers and delivery dates[edit]

The table lists the Class 11E works numbers and the date on which each unit was delivered to the SAR.[2][4]


Until 1978, all electrified routes in South Africa used 3 kV DC. Beginning in 1978, 25 kV AC was introduced on all new mainline electrification projects bar one, the exception being the Orex iron ore line from Sishen to Saldanha where 50 kV AC was used. There are four isolated 25 kV AC routes.[1][2][3]

The Class 11E was designed primarily for export coal hauling on the 25 kV AC Coalink line between the Mpumalanga coalfields around Ermelo and the Richards Bay Coal Terminal via Vryheid in KwaZulu-Natal.[2][3]


All the Class 11E locomotives were delivered in the SAR red oxide livery with signal red buffer beams and cowcatchers, with yellow whiskers on the ends folded over to below the side windows and with the number plates on the sides mounted on three-stripe yellow wings. In the late 1990s all were repainted in the Spoornet blue livery with either solid or outline numbers on the long hood sides.[5]



  1. ^ a b c d 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 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, 60, 62. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Paxton, Leith; Bourne, David (1985). Locomotives of the South African Railways (1st ed.). Cape Town: Struik. p. 133. ISBN 0869772112. 
  4. ^ Additional information as supplied by John N. Middleton
  5. ^ Soul of A Railway, System 7, Western Transvaal, based in Johannesburg, Part 9. South-Eastwards as far as Volksrust (2nd part) by Les Pivnic. Caption 4. (Accessed on 11 April 2017)