442 Class – A Story of Survivors
The 442 Class, or “Jumbos” as they are often known, are an excellent example of how former Government owned locomotives that were withdrawn and set aside have found a new lease of life in the brave new world of private rail operators. Many of the surviving class members have seen their fair share of operators come and go, and yet they have survived them all, and the majority will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Introduction & Government Service
The 40-strong 442 Class was introduced as a replacement for the NSW Government Railways fleet of 40 Class locomotives. The 40 Class had originally entered service in 1951, an almost off the shelf American Locomotive Co. (ALCo) design, modified for NSW conditions and loading gauge. By the late 1960s, the 40 Class were beginning to become unreliable and a rebuild of the class to keep them in service would be uneconomical. The concept of trading-in older locomotives to offset the cost of new locomotives was proving to be a popular concept in the United States of America, leading to the New South Wales Government Railways (NSWGR) signing a tender with A. E. Goodwin Ltd to accept the 40 Class units as trade-ins on twenty new main line diesels. This concept would prove to be too ambitious, with only limited parts (traction motors, compressors, auxiliary generator, eddy current clutch and power take-off) being re-used. Whilst the initial order of twenty was being built, a further twenty were ordered to ensure the entire state could be dieselised, pushing out the last strongholds of steam in NSW.
As I have been rather tied up with work and unable to have a proper session trackside since my last article, I have instead published the first of a series of pages designed to accompany my Flickr gallery. Located below the title bar you should see a new page “Australian Motive Power”. The first page on Australian Motive Power has been made public today, detailing the various locomotives from ALCo (American Locomotive Company), with a link to their relevant gallery on Flickr.
Please note that this new page on ALCo locomotives does not include classes that remain only in heritage service – these will be covered separately in the future!
Below are some photos captured at North Strathfield last Friday before I returned home to pen last Fridays update: