South African Class 32-200

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

South African Class 32-200
TransNamib Class 32
PPC Saldanha's no. 32-202, 8 January 2009
Type and origin
Power typeDiesel-electric
DesignerGeneral Electric
BuilderGeneral Electric
Serial number35842-35851
ModelGE U20C1
Build date1966
Total produced10
Gauge3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) Cape gauge
Leading dia.762 mm (30.0 in)
Wheel diameter915 mm (36.0 in)
Wheelbase15,246 mm (50 ft 0.2 in)
  Bogie4,927 mm (16 ft 2.0 in)
Pivot centres8,128 mm (26 ft 8.0 in)
  Over couplers16,866 mm (55 ft 4.0 in)
Width2,756 mm (9 ft 0.5 in)
Height3,928 mm (12 ft 10.6 in)
Axle load12,700 kg (28,000 lb)
  Leading10,160 kg (22,400 lb)
Adhesive weight76,200 kg (168,000 lb)
Loco weight96,520 kg (212,790 lb) max
Fuel typeDiesel
Fuel capacity4,300 litres (950 imp gal)
Prime moverGE 7FDL-12
RPM range400-1,000
  RPM low idle400
  Maximum RPM1,000
Engine type4 stroke diesel
AspirationC-B ET13 turbocharger
GeneratorDC 10 pole GE 5GT-581C9
Traction motorsSix GE 5GE-761A9 DC 4 pole
  Rating 1 hour625A
  Continuous615A @ 18 km/h (11 mph)
Gear ratio92:19
MU working4 maximum
Loco brake28-LV-1 with vigilance control
Train brakesWestinghouse 6CDX4UC compressor/exhauster
Air tank cap.700 litres (150 imp gal)
Compressor0.029 m3/s (1.0 cu ft/s)
Exhauster0.116 m3/s (4.1 cu ft/s)
CouplersAAR knuckle (SASKOP DS)
Performance figures
Maximum speed100 km/h (62 mph)
Power output:
  Starting1,475 kW (1,978 hp)
  Continuous1,340 kW (1,800 hp)
Tractive effort:
  Starting183 kN (41,000 lbf) @ 25% adhesion
  Continuous146 kN (33,000 lbf) @ 27 km/h (17 mph)
Factor of adh.:
Brakeforce65% ratio @ 345 kPa (50.0 psi)
OperatorsSouth African Railways
Sudan Railways
New Clydesdale
PPC Lime
ClassClass 32-200
Number in class10
Numbers32-201 to 32-210
DeliveredJune and July 1966
First run1966

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.[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 were numbered in the range from 32-201 to 32-210.[1]

Class 32 series

The Class 32 consisted 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. Both had single station controls.[1]

Both versions 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 a more powerful low short hood version of the earlier Class 32-000 and was essentially a Class 33-000 locomotive on the bogies of the Class 32-000. This 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.[1]


South African Railways

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 35-000 diesel-electrics on the line between Amabele and Umtata in Transkei, some of them performed temporary service on that line.[3]

Post-SAR service

All ten locomotives survived and most were still in service by 2014.[4][5]

  • Numbers 32-201 and 32-203 are with Sheltam, renumbered 2012 and 2013, and have been working in Welkom.
  • No. 32-202 works at the Pretoria Portland Cement lime plant in Saldanha.
  • No. 32-204 works between the New Clydesdale Colliery near Witbank and the Transnet Freight Rail sidings at Bezuidenhoutsrust.
  • Numbers 32-205 to 32-208 are still with TransNamib, the Namibian railway, renumbered 205 to 208 and with a couple believed to still be in regular use.
  • Numbers 32-209 and 32-210 were sold to Sudan Railways.


The class 32-000 were delivered in the new Gulf Red livery with yellow side-stripes on the long hood and a yellow V on each end. They wore this livery throughout their SAR service life.[6]

Works numbers

The Class 32-200 builder's works numbers and disposition are listed in the table.[4][5]



  1. South African Railways Index and Diagrams Electric and Diesel Locomotives, 610mm and 1065mm Gauges, Ref LXD 14/1/100/20 (amended ed.). 28 January 1975.
  2. Steinbrenner, Richard T. (2003). The American Locomotive Company: A Centennial Remembrance. Warren, NJ: On Track Publishers, LLC. ISBN 0911122-07-9.
  3. Paxton, Leith; Bourne, David (1985). Locomotives of the South African Railways (1st ed.). Cape Town: Struik. pp. 138–139. ISBN 0869772112.
  4. 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.
  5. "SAR-L Yahoogroup message no. 47981". 17 October 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  6. Pivnic, Les. "System 7, Western Transvaal, based in Johannesburg, Part 6. Germiston, the Steam and Diesel Running Sheds". Soul of A Railway. Captions 5, 33, 36. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
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