Tag: South African Railways

South African Railways: Class 6E

For some strange reason the class 6E and 6E1 electric locomotive of the South African Railways has a large following, and I suspect the unique whine that they make from their resistor blowers is part of the attraction.

E163 Germiston

E1637, E1228 and E1416 in Germiston

These units have been in service for many years already, and they are the most numerous loco class in South Africa,  I am not an expert on them though, I am just an admirer. The definitive work (for want of a better description) may be found at the Class 6E page at Wikipedia.  The more numerous class 6E1 went on to have 11 different variants and there is a Wikipedia page dedicated to each variant.

6E1's Maraisburg

E1726 and friends.

All were built locally by Union Carriage and Wagon and most served with the South African Railways although a few were built for private use. 1041 were built in total.

E1267 Germiston

E1267. Germiston

There are a number of colour schemes out there, ranging from gulf red through to orange, purple and blue, although most purists would argue that the gulf red variant was the best livery.  Unfortunately I came into rail photography very late so have very few pictures of them, and most of the images I do have show a declining fleet in various stages of paintwork.

A trio of 6E1's

A trio of 6E1’s

The front two 6E1’s have the original diamond pantographs, while the gulf red unit has the newer style pantograph. Strangely enough she was still in her original livery as late as 2010.

6E-1678 Hamberg

E1678 and friends. (Hamberg)

E1558 and E1433. Germiston

E1411 and friends. Braamfontein

E1411 and friends. Braamfontein

Sadly the 6E and 6E1 are in danger of extinction as they get phased out in favour of more modern traction or are converted into what is now the Class 18E. This conversion robs them of their dual cabs in favour of “private facilities” for female drivers; and frankly that blanked out window does not do much for their looks.  I expect that the Class 18E will soldier on for many years as well, seeing that they are really converted from a good solid bit of design.

18405 Germiston

18405 (Germiston)

The 6E1 was also used as the locomotive on the now defunct “Metroblitz” high speed train that used to run between Pretoria and Johannesburg in the early 1980’s, and of course a specially adapted 6E1 with a nosecone was used to push the speed record for the Cape Gauge.

6E1 in Krugersdorp

6E1 in Krugersdorp

From a model railway point of view the 6E/6E1 never really entered the realm of the modeling fraternity. Many years ago, Italian manufacturer LIMA produced a series of South African Railways rolling stock and at the time they used a 5E/5E1 (E444 (Blue Train) and E919) as the “role model”. The 5E and all of its variants is really the granddaddy of the electric units that we knew so well in South Africa, and 555 were built in total.

E919 (LIMA HO Gauge)

E919 (LIMA HO Gauge)

These poor reproductions have really become collectors pieces and their prices are shocking.

Recently Scalecraft in South Africa was producing some excellent SAR models and while I know there is an 18E amongst their locomotives I am not too sure if the same can be said about the 5E/5E1/6E/6E1 variants.

It is also possible to get a very nice static 5E (although it is marked as a 6E) from Del Prado which included it as part of their Locomotives of the World series of partworks.

Del Prado static "6E" (N Gauge)

Del Prado static “6E” (N Gauge)

Sadly, I may never see one of these beauts ever again, although they will live on in my memory and in some of the videos that I managed to capture of that famous whine. When I was young I never really wanted to drive a steam engine, I really wanted to drive an electric loco, but I never did.

The 6E1 and her family were part of what made the former SAR work, they were the workhorses of the long distance train, and there was something comforting about watching them come into a station pulling a load of saloons behind them with a capable driver and his assistant at the controls, and of course part of going on holiday was sticking your head out the window and watching the units in front driving headlong. Ah, I can hear them from here!

© DRW 2015 – 2018. Created 20/10/2015

Updated: 10/01/2018 — 20:17

C22- Articulated Saloon.

This classic C22 Articulated Saloon is staged at Reefsteamers in Germiston. The idea is that she will be restored to a point that she can be used to house overnight visitors at the depot. Her interior has been changed considerably but there is enough of her woodwork left over to show the beauty of this relic of a bygone age.

© DRW 2009-2018. Moved to blog 15/04/2015

Updated: 09/01/2018 — 19:44

L-14-D Drivers Coach

This long lived drivers coach was superficially in a poor condition, however her interior was surprisingly intact and she would be used on the driving end of a suburban train for short trips. She did not have a motor or pantograph and was converted from an L-14 which were the 1st generation subs in the country. And was is possible that she was the only one left in the country. Her interior had been divided up into the drivers cab, an empty area possibly for luggage or parcels  (now decorated with a blue sky and black walls), and a passenger section. She did not survive the rationalisation of Sanrasm and was sadly broken up. Very few drivers trailers have survived in any form in South Africa, and it is a pity that we lost this one.

© DRW 2010-2018. Moved to blog 15/04/2015

Updated: 09/01/2018 — 19:44

Drakensberg SB van at Sanrasm

This SB van was one of the few remaining identifiable remnants of the former Drakensberg express. Superficially she was in a good condition, but her body had been damaged by trees and general lack of maintenance at Sanrasm. There was also buckling of her underframe due to an accident when she was in service and that was probably why she was at Sanrasm in the first place. Sadly she was lost to fire in December 2010.

drakensburg09

© DRW 2010-2018. Moved to blog 14/04/2015

Updated: 09/01/2018 — 19:44

GMAM Garratt No.4079 “Lyndie Lou”

Update 15 December 2019:  it was announced that the Board of Directors voted that Reefsteamers be placed into voluntary liquidation, with the depot closing on 16 December 2019.

When I was young, a Garratt was something you only read about, it was very rare to see one outside their usual stomping grounds, yet South African Railways operated a large number of these huge machines and in a number of classes too. Sadly, they are rare beasties, and as far as I know there are only two that are capable of steaming in South Africa. There are however, many derelict Garratts thoughout the country, which is really shame because these were very powerful machines.
The GMAM Garratt 4079 “Lyndie Lou”, is based at Reefsteamers in Germiston, after a period with Rovos Rail. She is a huge machine, dwarfing everything around her. Unfortunately her bulk makes her an unpopular choice for running day sitters because of the amount of coal and water she has to carry with her. I have always struggled to get a pic of her complete length, but after a lot of patience I was able to achieve it when they moved her from one line to another. I was fortunate enough to do a trip with her on the 6th of November 2010 and she was really amazing to watch in action. The beauty of the Garratt is that she can run equally well in either direction, so she was popular on the Reefsteamers open day trips that I took with her, unfortunately we were delayed on both occasions.

Class GMA 4-8-2+2-8-4 Wikipedia Page

Class GMA 4-8-2+2-8-4 Wikipedia Page

At the time of writing she was out of action as her wheels needed to be reprofiled, and it was hoped that one day she would amaze us all again. Sadly though, it is unlikely that I will ever see her again.

DRW © 2010-2020. Created 15/04/2015. table fixed 20/06/2016

Updated: 15/12/2019 — 09:47

Class 25NC -3472 “Elize”

Update 15 December 2019:  it was announced that the Board of Directors voted that Reefsteamers be placed into voluntary liquidation, with the depot closing on 16 December 2019.

“Elize” was the first steam locomotive I had been behind since 1981, and she is an impressive machine. Considered to be the “Cadillac” of South African steam locomotives she is fitted with a mechanical stoker, roller bearings and all the “mod cons” and is considered to be a “modern” locomotive. She was placed back into operation at Reefsteamers in 2006, and while very powerful and modern, is a bit too heavy on coal and water for day trips. She is however, a very impressive machine, and her sheer size alone make her worth seeing in action.

South African Class 25NC 4-8-4 Wikipedia page

Reefsteamers has a proper history of this locomotive and while I know they do not like using her for short tours they still enjoy watching her in action. Sadly worn tyres and flanges have temporarily grounded her, but she is sure to grace the iron road once of these days.

DRW © 2010-2020. Added to blog 15/04/2015. Fixed table 20/06/2016

Updated: 15/12/2019 — 09:46

Class 15F – 3046 “Janine”

Update 15 December 2019:  it was announced that the Board of Directors voted that Reefsteamers be placed into voluntary liquidation, with the depot closing on 16 December 2019. 

Class 15F 3046 was put back into steam in May 2010 after many years of work by Reefsteamers. She is a firm favourite amongst passengers and has ventured quite far from her home in Germiston. She is also the only operational 15F in South Africa.

My first viewing of her was on 23 May 2010 when she was double headed with Class 25NC Elize. It was a day of steam and I am happy to say this loco was the star. I hope that she graces us with her presence for many years. In August 2010 she was named Janine and has since started to make her mark on the rails.

 

South African Class 15F 4-8-2 Wikipedia page

When she was still a “young lady”  3046 gained fame for having pulled the royal train in 1947, with the then-princess Elizabeth on board. Built in 1945, she was retired from service in 1988 but kept intact by Spoornet as a reserve and underwent steam testing for 4 consecutive years, until use of steam traction officially ended in 1992.

*Update*

In late 2016, 3046 was renamed “Vreni”  (pronounced ‘Freeny’ in English)

DRW © 2010-2020. Moved to blog 15/05/2015. Fixed table issue 20/06/2016, updated 21/12/2016

Updated: 15/12/2019 — 09:45

Dining Saloon Shashi 229

Yet another classic dining saloon that rotted while under the “care” of Sanrasm in Randfontein. Shashi (229), has had major water damage to her interior from a leaking roof and a broken window and it seemed as if would become yet another memory of our once glorious railway heritage. Her kitchen was housed in a separate coach that was also rotting away at Sanrasm, although she was on a different line altogether. In spite of the decay, Shashi was still beautiful, and when I last saw her in July 2012 she had been covered with a tarpaulin, stripped down, and was being restored. I believe she was amongst the vehicles that were moved to Reefsteamers and that she can be re-united with her kitchen (Coach 282)  and return to service as a preserved vehicle.

2009

2009

2009

2009

Store

Store

Leaking roof

Leaking roof

Dresser

Dresser

name plate

name plate

interior damage

interior damage

Interior 2012

Interior 2012

Interior 2012

Interior 2012

Interior 2012

Interior 2012

Shashi’s kitchen and compartment coach (no: 282) somehow ended up on a different line to the seating part of the dining saloon set, and, she was in a much better condition. This coach not only contained a kitchen but also compartments for kitchen staff. And on the exterior she had a windowed corridor side as well as a service side. When I last saw her in 2012 she had been restored on the exterior, but a lot of work needed doing in her interior. She was however one of the more complete coaches that Sanrasm had.

2011, before restoration

2011, before restoration (service side)

2012 after restoration

2012 after restoration

Coupe

Coupe

Corridor

Corridor

Kitchen

Kitchen

2011 before restoration

2011 before restoration (corridor side)

2012 after restoration

2012 after restoration

© DRW 2009-2018. Moved to blog 18/01/2015.

Updated: 08/01/2018 — 07:58

3 Class Balcony Coach 6086

One of the reach gems at Sanrasm North Site was the 3 class balcony coach 6086, she was unique, she is a 1st, 2nd and 3rd class vehicle and very worthy of preservation because she was probably the only one of her kind. Unfortunately she had been left to rot and was slowly falling apart. There was evidence of a fire inside of her, but you could still see the fine wooodwork in her rotting interior and exterior. Realistically she was only useable as firewood and in December 2010 she was broken up.

3rd class door visible

3class03 3class04
3class05 3class06 3class10
3class07

© DRW 2009-2018. Added to blog 18/01/2015

Updated: 08/01/2018 — 07:59

Half balcony dining saloon Phantom Pass (161)

Phantom Pass (161) is, or should I say was, a gem. She is a “pure” wooden, half balcony dining saloon with her own kitchen. She is not a pillared dining saloon though, but stands out in her own right as worthy of preservation. Sadly, like so many “exhibits” at Sanrasm she was deteriorating very quickly after years of neglect, and with her rotten roof, sagging  windows and her balconies rotting away, the water damage from the next rainy season had the potential to finish her for good unless she was rescued very quickly. In December 2010 she was stabilised in preparation for moving her to Reefsteamers in Germiston. I revisited her in June 2012 and she had not been moved yet, but I was shocked to see how far things had progressed with her restoration. Internally she did need work, but her exteriors were looking infinitely better. Unfortunately her one balcony had rotted away when things were going pear shaped and had been removed before the evaluation in 2010, and of course the wine racks had all been stolen, but  those are things for replacing in the future.  Further examples of the half balcony diners can be seen at the Heidelberg Transport Museum.

Phantom Pass 2010

Phantom Pass 2010

Dining saloon

Dining saloon

Name and number

Name and number

Dining saloon

Dining saloon

Corridor

Corridor

Kitchen

Kitchen

Wine rack

Wine rack

2010.

2010.

Damage

Damage

End of train

End of train

Kitchen stove

Kitchen stove

Dedication

Dedication

First glimpse 2009

First glimpse 2009

Repainted and reroofed. 2012

Repainted and reroofed. 2012

© DRW. 2009-2018. Created 08 July 2009. Updated 14 June 2012. Thanks to Carlos Das Neves Vieira for the information

Updated: 08/01/2018 — 07:59
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