South African Class 33-200

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South African Class 33-200
SAR Class 33-200 33-212 & 33-023.jpg
Class 33-200 no. 33-212 and Class 33-000 no. 33-023, 8 January 1970
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-electric
Designer General Motors Electro-Motive Division
Builder General Motors Electro-Motive Division
Serial number 31191-31210
Build date 1966-1967
Total produced 20
 • AAR C-C
 • UIC Co'Co'
 • Commonwealth Co+Co
Gauge 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) Cape gauge
Wheel diameter 915 mm (36.0 in)
Wheelbase 13,900 mm (45 ft 7.2 in)
 • Bogie 3,607 mm (11 ft 10.0 in)
Pivot centres 10,516 mm (34 ft 6.0 in)
Wheel spacing
1-2: 1,600 mm (5 ft 3.0 in)
2-3: 2,007 mm (6 ft 7.0 in)
 • Over couplers 17,474 mm (57 ft 4.0 in)
Width 2,819 mm (9 ft 3.0 in)
Height 3,943 mm (12 ft 11.2 in)
Axle load 15,749 kg (34,721 lb)
Adhesive weight 94,494 kg (208,324 lb)
Loco weight 94,494 kg (208,324 lb)
Fuel type Diesel
Fuel capacity 4,300 litres (950 imp gal)
Prime mover GM-EMD 16-645E
RPM range 315-900
 • RPM low idle 315
 • RPM idle 435
 • Maximum RPM 900
Engine type 2-stroke diesel
Displacement 10.57 litres (645.0 cu in)
Generator DC 12 pole GM-EMD D-32S
Traction motors Six GM-EMD D-29CC-7 DC 4 pole
 • Rating 1 hour 485A
 • Continuous 450A @ 19 km/h (12 mph)
Cylinders V16
Gear ratio 57:16
MU working 4 maximum
Loco brake 28-LV-1 with vigilance control
Train brakes Gardner-Denver ADJV-8003 compressor/exhauster
Air tank cap. 450 litres (99 imp gal)
Compressor 0.029 m3/s (1.0 cu ft/s)
Exhauster 0.116 m3/s (4.1 cu ft/s)
Couplers AAR knuckle (SASKOP DS)
Performance figures
Maximum speed 100 km/h (62 mph)
Power output:
 • Starting 1,640 kW (2,200 hp)
 • Continuous 1,490 kW (2,000 hp)
Tractive effort:
 • Starting 223 kN (50,000 lbf) @ 25% adh.
 • Continuous 178 kN (40,000 lbf) @ 24 km/h (15 mph)
Factor of adh.:
 • Starting 25%
 • Continuous 20%
Brakeforce 70% ratio @ 345 kPa (50.0 psi)
Dynamic brake peak effort 165 kN (37,000 lbf) @ 30 km/h (19 mph)
Operators South African Railways
SitaRail, Côte d'Ivoire
Sudan Railways
Nkana Mine
Class Class 33-200
Number in class 20
Numbers 33-201 to 33-220
Nicknames Brommer
Delivered 1966-1967
First run 1966
Withdrawn c. 2000

The South African Railways Class 33-200 of 1966 was a diesel-electric locomotive.

Between October 1966 and May 1967 the South African Railways placed twenty Class 33-200 General Motors Electro-Motive Division type GL26MC diesel-electric locomotives in service.[1]


The Class 33-200 type GM-EMD GL26MC diesel-electric locomotive was designed and built for the South African Railways (SAR) by General Motors Electro-Motive Division (GM-EMD) and imported. They were delivered between October 1966 and May 1967 and numbered in the range from 33-201 to 33-220.[1]

Class 33 series[edit]

The Class 33-200 was the first GM-EMD diesel-electric locomotive to be placed in service by the SAR. The Class 33 consisted of three series, the General Electric (GE) Class 33-000 and 33-400 and the GM-EMD Class 33-200. Both manufacturers also produced locomotives for the subsequent SAR Classes 34, 35 and 36.[1]

Of the three series, the Class 33-200 was the only one to be delivered with a high short hood.[1]


South African Railways[edit]

The Class 33-200 locomotives spent their entire SAR working lives operating out of East London. After some of the locomotives were sold by the SAR, their dynamic braking equipment, located in the high short hood, was removed by some of the new owners and the short hoods were rebuilt to low noses. In the process their starting power output was reduced from 1,640 to 1,490 kilowatts (2,200 to 2,000 horsepower).[2][3]

Between 1991 and 1992, the remaining Spoornet locomotives were similarly modified and placed in shunting service around East London. All of them were eventually withdrawn and sold by Spoornet and several are still operating in other parts of Africa.[2]


Of the original twenty locomotives, eleven were still in service with Sheltam by 2010, two having first served at Douglas Colliery as numbers D8 and D9. Sheltam is a locomotive leasing and repair company. All their serving Class 33-200 locomotives have had their short hoods modified to low noses.[2][4]

Three more locomotives were bought by Sheltam for spare parts and are believed now to be scrapped. Sheltam initially numbered all their locomotives from no. 1 upwards, but have since renumbered them according to their horsepower.[2]

Other operators[edit]

Of the remainder, four locomotives went to SitaRail in Côte d'Ivoire, one to the Sudan Railways and one to the Nkana mine of Mopani Copper Mines in Zambia.[2]

Works numbers[edit]

The Class 33-200 builder's works numbers and disposition are listed in the table.[2]


The main picture shows Class 33-200 no. 33-212 on 8 January 1970 with its original high short hood and in the SAR Gulf Red livery, leading General Electric-built Class 33-000 no. 33-023 on a passenger train near Vincent, Eastern Cape. The following pictures show some of these locomotives with low short hoods in various liveries.


  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 e f 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. 
  3. ^ Paxton, Leith; Bourne, David (1985). Locomotives of the South African Railways (1st ed.). Cape Town: Struik. p. 140. ISBN 0869772112. 
  4. ^ Sheltam Company Profile