South African Class 32-200

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South African Class 32-200
TransNamib Class 32
SAR Class 32-200 32-202.jpg
PPC Saldanha's no. 32-202, 8 January 2009
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-electric
Designer General Electric
Builder General Electric
Serial number 35842-35851
Model GE U20C1
Build date 1966
Total produced 10
AAR wheel arr. 1-C+C-1
UIC class 1'C+C1'
Imperial class 1Co+Co1
Gauge 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) Cape gauge
Leading dia. 762 mm (30.0 in)
Wheel diameter 915 mm (36.0 in)
Wheelbase 15,246 mm (50 ft 0.2 in)
 • Bogie 4,927 mm (16 ft 2.0 in)
Pivot centres 8,128 mm (26 ft 8.0 in)
 • Over couplers 16,866 mm (55 ft 4.0 in)
Width 2,756 mm (9 ft 0.5 in)
Height 3,928 mm (12 ft 10.6 in)
Axle load 12,700 kg (28,000 lb)
 • Leading 10,160 kg (22,400 lb)
Adhesive weight 76,200 kg (168,000 lb)
Loco weight 96,520 kg (212,790 lb) max
Fuel type Diesel
Fuel capacity 4,300 litres (950 imp gal)
Prime mover GE 7FDL-12
RPM range 400-1,000
 • RPM low idle 400
 • Maximum RPM 1,000
Engine type 4 stroke diesel
Aspiration C-B ET13 turbocharger
Generator DC 10 pole GE 5GT-581C9
Traction motors Six GE 5GE-761A9 DC 4 pole
 • Rating 1 hour 625A
 • Continuous 615A @ 18 km/h (11 mph)
Cylinders V12
Gear ratio 92:19
MU working 4 maximum
Loco brake 28-LV-1 with vigilance control
Train brakes Westinghouse 6CDX4UC compressor/exhauster
Air reservoir cap 700 litres (150 imp gal)
Compressor cap 0.029 m3/s (1.0 cu ft/s)
Exhauster cap 0.116 m3/s (4.1 cu ft/s)
Couplers AAR SASKOP DS knuckle
Performance figures
Maximum speed 100 km/h (62 mph)
Power output:
 • Starting 1,475 kW (1,978 hp)
 • Continuous 1,340 kW (1,800 hp)
Tractive effort:
 • Starting 183 kN (41,000 lbf) @ 25% adhesion
 • Continuous 146 kN (33,000 lbf) @ 27 km/h (17 mph)
Factor of adh.:
 • Starting
 • Continuous 20%
Loco brakeforce 65% ratio @ 345 kPa (50.0 psi)
Operators South African Railways
Sudan Railway
PPC Lime
Class Class 32-200
Number in class 10
Numbers 32-201 to 32-210
Delivered June and July 1966
First run 1966

The South African Railways Class 32-200 of 1966 was a diesel-electric locomotive.

In June and July 1966, the South African Railways placed ten Class 32-200 General Electric type U20C1 diesel-electric locomotives with a 1Co+Co1 wheel arrangement in service in South West Africa, now Namibia.[1]


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.[1]

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 and both with a 1Co+Co1 wheel arrangement.[1]

Both locomotive series ran on the same 1Co' bogies, three-axle Co' bogies with additional integral single axle pony trucks, which 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 which was used throughout South West Africa at the time.[2]

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 kilograms (34,721 pounds) of the Class 33-000 to 12,700 kilograms (27,999 pounds). 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.[3]

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.[4]

Works numbers[edit]

The Class 32-200 builder's works numbers and disposition are listed in the table.[4]


The main picture and the following photograph offer views of two of the liveries in which they served.


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