Early on a dry and bitingly cold Highveld winter morning, ex Rhodesian Railways / National Railway of Zimbabwe (NRZ) Class DE2 No. 1207, now the property of Sandstone Estates, is pictured here at the old Germiston loco depot site, which is currently occupied by Reefsteamers.
"Sandstone’s ex Rhodesia Railways DE 2 Locomotive for possible restoration
Sandstone’s ex Rhodesia and now Zimbabwe Railways DE2 diesel electric No. 1207 is being considered for restoration over the next 12 months. Originally acquired from a scrap dealer in Mutare in 1998, No. 1207 was withdrawn from service in April 1992 in Bulawayo where the loco served as the loco works shunter and carried an additional number, 3517, until finally being set aside in December 1995. The locomotive had covered 2,506,938 miles in service up until withdrawal.
Although not the first class of diesel on RR, the DE2 type was the first large main line diesel locomotive in Southern Africa, with the first example entering service in 1955. The first main line diesel in South Africa only entered service in 1958. In total 35 examples of the DE2 were built between 1955 and 1958.
The DE2’s were built by English Electric at the Dick Kerr works in Preston, UK, and RR remained faithful to English builders for a long time until UDI, whereas South Africa took the US based GE and GM route.
1207 arrived in South Africa in May 1998 and was then towed to Sandstone’s facility in Ficksburg for
storage. When it was decided to evacuate the premises the loco was towed to the Reefsteamers Depot in Germiston where she remains today. She has had a number of overseas visitors, particularly from the UK, as she was retro fitted with an engine from a British Railways Class 40 diesel. The engine is an English Electric 16 cylinder V design producing 2000hp. 1207 weighs in at nearly 115 tons and is 18.1 metres long.
Some time ago she was examined by an ex RR diesel technician and the engine was found to be in good order. A lot of the brake equipment had been removed but similar fittings are available from an ex SAR 5E electric loco which were built side by side with the DE2’s in Preston in 1955. A great deal of the wiring has been removed but this can be replaced. It is believed that the traction motors are also in good condition.
The DE2’s have a distinctive engine thump and whistling noise when fired up and it will be an exciting occasion when 1207 lives again." Text within quotation marks taken directly from the Sandstone Estates website.