The reference for locomotives and railcars


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South African classes 5E and 5E1
South Africa | 1954 | 850 produced
5E1 of the second series No. E610 in April 1970 at the Paardeneiland depot
5E1 of the second series No. E610 in April 1970 at the Paardeneiland depot
Peter Bagshawe

The 5E and 5E1, developed in England, are considered the best-known South African electric locomotives. A total of 160 5E were built in three series by English Electric and the Vulcan Foundry. Since they were often used in multiple, they had gangway doors on the front sides. The first received the nickname “Klein Mamba” (“Little Mamba”) because of their coloring. The rest were also called “Balstamper” (“ball tamper”) because of their poor running characteristics. The improved 5E1 was developed by Metropolitan-Vickers. A total of 690 were built in five series, the first of which were built at Metropolitan-Vickers and the rest at the Union Carriage & Wagon Works.

ManufacturerEnglish Electric, Vulcan FoundryMetropolitan-Vickers, Union Carriage & Wagon
Axle configB-B 
Gauge3 ft 6 in (Cape gauge)
Dimensions and Weights
Length50 ft 10 in
Wheelbase36 ft 0 1/16 in
Fixed wheelbase11 ft 3 1/16 in
Service weight190,400 lbs
Adhesive weight190,400 lbs
Axle load47,600 lbs
Power sourceelectric - DC
Electric system3,000 V
Hourly power2,022 hp (1,508 kW)2,600 hp (1,939 kW)
Continuous power1,743 hp (1,300 kW)1,953 hp (1,456 kW)
Top speed60 mph
Starting effort44,962 lbf56,202 lbf
Power Plant
Calculated Values
electric locomotive
last changed: 03/2023

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