South African Class 36-200

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South African Class 36-200
SAR Class 36-200 36-201.JPG
No. 36-201 at Ladysmith, 5 August 2007
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-electric
Designer General Motors Electro-Motive Division
Builder General Motors South Africa
GM-Astarsa, Argentina
Serial number 115-1 to 115-50, 118-1 to 118-51, 120-1, 122-1 & 122-2, 123-1 & 123-2, 91F1AA001
Model GM-EMD SW1002
Build date 1980-1991
Total produced 107
 • AAR B-B
 • UIC Bo'Bo'
 • Commonwealth Bo-Bo
Gauge 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) Cape gauge
Wheel diameter 1,016 mm (40.0 in)
Wheelbase 9,905 mm (32 ft 6.0 in)
 • Bogie 2,438 mm (8 ft 0 in)
Pivot centres 7,467 mm (24 ft 6.0 in)
 • Over couplers 14,120 mm (46 ft 3.9 in)
Width 2,724 mm (8 ft 11.2 in)
Height 3,928 mm (12 ft 10.6 in)
Axle load 18,250 kg (40,230 lb)
Adhesive weight 73,000 kg (161,000 lb)
Loco weight 73,000 kg (161,000 lb) max
Fuel type Diesel
Fuel capacity 2,250 litres (490 imp gal)
Prime mover GM-EMD 8-645E
RPM range 250-900
 • RPM low idle 250
 • RPM idle 315
 • Maximum RPM 900
Engine type 2-stroke diesel
Aspiration GM-EMD ROOTS 3 lobe blower
Displacement 10.57 litres (645.0 cu in)
Generator 8 pole GM-EMD D25
Traction motors Four EMD D29 DC 4 pole
 • Rating 1 hour 485A
 • Continuous 450A @ 15 km/h (9.3 mph)
Cylinders V8
Gear ratio 63:14
MU working 4 maximum
Loco brake 28-LAV-1 with vigilance control
Train brakes Gardner-Denver ADJV compressor/exhauster
Air tank cap. 850 litres (190 imp gal)
Compressor 0.021 m3/s (0.74 cu ft/s)
Exhauster 0.096 m3/s (3.4 cu ft/s)
Couplers AAR knuckle type E
Performance figures
Maximum speed 90 km/h (56 mph)
Power output:
 • Starting 850 kW (1,140 hp)
 • Continuous 755 kW (1,012 hp)
Tractive effort:
 • Starting 176 kN (40,000 lbf) @ 25% adh.
 • Continuous 141 kN (32,000 lbf) @ 13.92 km/h (8.65 mph)
Factor of adh.:
 • Starting 25%
 • Continuous 20%
Brakeforce 65% ratio @ 340 kPa (49 psi)
Operators South African Railways
Columbus Stainless
Ithala Development Finance Corp.
Transnet Freight Rail
African Rail & Traction Services
Class Class 36-200
Number in class 107
Numbers SAR 36-201 to 36-301
Columbus 1
Iscor 661-45 to 661-47
ARTS 21-23
Ithala 1 & 2
Delivered 1980-1984 (SAR)
1984 (Columbus)
1986-1991 (Iscor)
1987 (Ithala)
First run 1980

The South African Railways Class 36-200 of 1980 is a diesel-electric locomotive.

Beginning in August 1980, the South African Railways placed 101 Class 36-200 General Motors Electro-Motive Division type SW1002 diesel-electric locomotives in service. In 1984, one Class 36-200 locomotive was also built for the Bophuthatswana National Development Corporation for use at the Ga-Rankuwa Industrial Estate. Three more were placed in service by Iscor in Pretoria between 1986 and 1991, and another two by the Ithala Development Finance Corporation in KwaZulu-Natal in 1987.[1][2]


The Class 36-200 type SW1002 diesel-electric locomotive was designed for the South African Railways (SAR) by General Motors Electro-Motive Division (GM-EMD) and all but one were built by General Motors South Africa (GMSA) in Port Elizabeth. The exception was the third type SW1002 locomotive to be built for Iscor in Pretoria which was delivered from GM-Astarsa in Argentina.[1][2][3]

Builder’s plate on no. 36-301

The 101 locomotives for the SAR were built in two batches on two orders. The first 50 were built between 1980 and 1982 and numbered in the range from 36-201 to 36-250. Another 51 were built between 1982 and 1984 and numbered in the range from 36-251 to 36-301. It is unclear why such an odd number of locomotives were ordered.[1][2]

Apart from the SAR locomotives, several were also built for industry.[1]

  • A single locomotive was built for the Bophuthatswana National Development Corporation (BNDC) in Ga-Rankuwa and delivered in 1984.
  • Two locomotives, which had been ordered by Iscor in Pretoria, were delivered in 1986, numbered 661-45 and 661-46.
  • Two locomotives, which had been ordered by the Ithala Development Finance Corporation (IDFC) in KwaZulu-Natal, were delivered in 1987 and numbered 1 and 2.
  • The Argentinian-built locomotive was delivered to Iscor by GM-Astarsa in 1991 and numbered 661-47.

Class 36 series[edit]

The Class 36 locomotive group consists of two series, the General Electric (GE) Class 36-000 and the GM-EMD Class 36-200. Both manufacturers also produced locomotives for the South African Classes 33, 34 and 35.[2]


South African Railways[edit]

Class 36-200 locomotives are general purpose locomotives, equipped with two-station controls for bi-directional operation, which are used mainly for yard shunting and pickup work to service industrial customers. When placed in service, the SAR locomotives were initially distributed for service between the Western and Eastern Cape and the Eastern Transvaal Lowveld, but the Cape locomotives were later relocated to Natal, Gauteng, the North West Province and Limpopo.[1][3]

On the Natal South Coast they were at one time employed in road work between Durban and Port Shepstone, working in pairs or in trios.


The three Iscor locomotives were later hired out to African Rail & Traction Services (ARTS), based in a workshop at the Iscor Pretoria works, and renumbered in the range from 21 to 23. ARTS has a fleet of about twenty locomotives which are used on hire contracts. By early 2002, ARTS locomotives were employed at the Rustenburg Platinum Mine in the North West Province, at Iscor in Pretoria where it took over the entire railway operation, and at the Richards Bay Coal Terminal in KwaZulu-Natal.[1]

The BNDC locomotive did not remain in service in Bophuthatwana very long before it went to Columbus Stainless in Middelburg, Transvaal.[1]

The IDFC locomotives were later sold to Sheltam, where they were numbered 24 and 25 and later renumbered to 1003 and 1004.[1]

Works numbers[edit]

Apart from on their works plates, the builder’s works number was also stamped on their frames, but instead of the builder’s serial they used the last three digits of the unit’s number. No. 36-209 was therefore stamped 115-209 instead of 115-9. Some of these numbers were reverse stamped, for example as 234-115. Units so noted were numbers 234, 235, 240, 241 and 245-115 and numbers 251, 257 and 270-118.

The Class 36-200 builder’s works numbers, dates or years built and the distribution of the non-SAR industrial locomotives are listed in the table. The dates, as shown, were recorded off the respective locomotive works plates.[1][4]


All the Class 36-200 locomotives were delivered in the SAR Gulf Red livery with signal red buffer beams, yellow side stripes on the long hood sides and a yellow V on each end. In the 1990s many of them began to be repainted in the Spoornet orange livery with a yellow and blue chevron pattern on the buffer beams. Several later received the Spoornet maroon livery. In the 2000s at least one was repainted in the Spoornet blue livery with outline numbers on the sides. After 2008 in the Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) era, some began to appear in the TFR red, green and yellow livery.[5]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i 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, 44, 46. 
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ a b Paxton, Leith; Bourne, David (1985). Locomotives of the South African Railways (1st ed.). Cape Town: Struik. pp. 142–143. ISBN 0869772112. 
  4. ^ Actual dates recorded off locomotive works plates by Peter Bagshawe[better source needed]
  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)