South African Class 9E, Series 2

The South African Railways Class 9E, Series 2 of 1982 is an electric locomotive.

South African Class 9E, Series 2
E9030 at Saldanha, Western Cape in July 2009
Type and origin
Power typeElectric
DesignerGeneral Electric Company
BuilderUnion Carriage & Wagon
Serial number5595-5600
ModelGEC 9E
Build date1982-1983
Total produced6
Gauge3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) Cape gauge
Wheel diameter1,220 mm (48.03 in)
Wheelbase16,290 mm (641 38 in)
  Bogie3,940 mm (12 ft 11 18 in)
Pivot centres12,700 mm (41 ft 8 in)
  Over couplers21,132 mm (69 ft 4 in)
  Over beams20,120 mm (66 ft 18 in)
Width2,900 mm (9 ft 6 18 in)
  Pantograph3,900 mm (12 ft 9 12 in)
  Body height3,900 mm (12 ft 9 12 in)
Axle load28,000 kg (62,000 lb) max
Adhesive weight166,300 kg (366,600 lb)
Loco weight166,300 kg (366,600 lb)
Electric system/s50 kV AC 50 Hz catenary
Current pickup(s)Pantograph
Traction motorsSix G415AZ
  Rating 1 hour690 kW (930 hp)
  Continuous640 kW (860 hp)
Gear ratio18:83
Loco brakeAir & Rheostatic
Train brakesAir & Vacuum
Wabco "Vaporid" air dryer
CouplersAAR knuckle
Performance figures
Maximum speed90 km/h (56 mph)
Power output:
  1 hour4,140 kW (5,550 hp)
  Continuous3,840 kW (5,150 hp)
Tractive effort:
  Starting570 kN (130,000 lbf)
  1 hour483 kN (109,000 lbf)
  Continuous388 kN (87,000 lbf)
OperatorsSouth African Railways
Transnet Freight Rail
ClassClass 9E
Number in class6
LocaleSishen-Saldanha Orex line
First run1982

In 1982 and 1983, the South African Railways expanded its existing Class 9E fleet by placing six new Class 9E, Series 2 General Electric Company 50 kV AC electric locomotives with a Co-Co wheel arrangement in service on the Sishen-Saldanha iron ore line.[1]


The 50 kV AC Class 9E, Series 2 electric locomotive was designed for the South African Railways (SAR) by the General Electric Company (GEC) and was built by Union Carriage & Wagon (UCW) in Nigel, Transvaal.[2]

GEC works numbers were allocated to Class 9E locomotives. UCW delivered six locomotives in 1982 and 1983, numbered in the range from E9026 to E9031.[1]


The locomotive has a single full width air conditioned cab. At the rear end, the body work is lower to provide clearance for the 50 kV AC electrical equipment which is mounted on the roof. This consists of a single pantograph, a potential divider, a vacuum circuit breaker, a surge diverter and the main transformer’s high voltage terminal. The electrical control system is solid state, using thyristors.[3]

Since huge voltage drops are often encountered between electric sub-stations, the locomotive was designed to be able to operate on a supply varying between 55 and 25 kV AC. The battery boxes and the main air reservoirs are mounted between the bogies underneath the frame, where a compartment also houses a small motor scooter for use by the crew for lineside inspections of the train, which can be up to nearly 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) long.[3]

Series 2 locomotives were delivered with five braking systems; air brakes for the locomotive, train air braking, train vacuum braking, a handbrake and dynamic rheostatic braking which can dissipate 4,200 kilowatts (5,600 horsepower). The Series 1 locomotives were delivered without a vacuum brake system.[3]

By 2007, the entire fleet of both series of Class 9E electric locomotives were upgraded with Alstom's Agate train control and communication technology. The pantographs on most of these locomotives were also replaced by the single arm type.[4]

The Series 1 and Series 2 Class 9Es can be visually distinguished from each other by their bogies, which were redesigned for the Series 2 locomotives.[1]


Class 9E locomotives are used on the 861-kilometre long (535-mile) Sishen-Saldanha iron ore line to haul export ore from the open cast iron mines at Sishen in the Northern Cape to the harbour at Saldanha in the Western Cape. Most of the route is across the hot and dry Northern Cape, but the last 75 kilometres (47 miles) to Saldanha runs parallel to the Atlantic coastline and is subjected to the fog and corrosive sea air of the West Coast.[3][5]


The whole series was delivered in the SAR red oxide livery with signal red cowcatchers, yellow whiskers and with the number plates on the sides mounted on three-stripe yellow wings. In the late 1990s they were all repainted in the Spoornet blue livery with either solid or outline numbers on the sides.[5][6]



  1. 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. "UCW - Electric locomotives" (PDF). The UCW Partnership. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 October 2007. Retrieved 30 September 2010.
  3. Paxton, Leith; Bourne, David (1985). Locomotives of the South African Railways (1st ed.). Cape Town: Struik. pp. 129–131. ISBN 0869772112.
  4. Information supplied by Transnet Freight Rail staff
  5. 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, 62.
  6. 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)
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