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Kevin WS

New Member
Many of these locos remain currently in service - this one was photographed last weekend pulling a freight train in the Johannesburg area.

The Class 6E1, Series 4 3 kV DC electric locomotive was designed and built in South Africa between 1973 and 1974.

They had sophisticated traction links between the bogies and the frames and were equipped even then (40 years ago) with electronic wheel slip detection. The complicated boogies that resulted (with various linkages etc) can clearly be seen in the photo.

The Series 4 locos are interesting, in that one was modified for higher speeds and given a streamlined nose cone. This loco then managed a speed of 245 kilometres per hour (152 miles per hour) on 31 October 1978 to set a world record on 3 feet 6 inches gauge track - this record on this gauge track remains unbeaten today.

European pantographs were being developed for high speed trains at this time - and a number were also sent to South Africa and tested on these units as they could achieve the high speeds required.

The 6E Series in total ran to 900+ units produced over 16 years - the largest single locomotive class in South Africa.

Jon Bentz

New Member
Very interesting units. Seems like there have been a lot of changes on Spoornet. Line closures etc. Not to mention the movement away from mainline steam tours. What's the status of Montague Pass? It appears to have been downgraded with some kind of 'Power Van' tourist operation.

Kevin WS

New Member
Jon, every thing here has changed in the last few years.

There have been major line closures all over - the Montague Pass line still exists but has not seen an actual train for a while. You are correct in that a Power Van has been used for tourists, but has now been out of service for 4 months for maintenance. It should however be back at work shortly.

Somewhere I have details of line closure by kms - I will post the graph here when I find it for you.... is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.

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