A handful of locomotives that operate in NSW do not fit into the established categories, and as such are covered here. Once again, please note that this list is far from exhaustive, and will hopefully updated over time.
Australian Iron & Steel Locomotives
When Australian Iron & Steel (AI&S), located in Port Kembla sought to dieselise their locomotive fleet, no Australian companies had yet gained the rights to manufacture diesel locomotives. After canvassing all of the foreign options, AI&S ordered eight locomotives from English Electric, to be assembled by Commonwealth Engineering in Sydney. Ordered for coal transport, these eight units (D1-8) would be the start of a long-standing association between AI&S and English Electric motive power. Further units delivered would continue well into the 1970’s, spanning multiple classes.
Present day operations at Port Kembla have been scaled down in recent years, due to recent competition from overseas combining with soaring raw mineral prices and a strong Australian Dollar. The result of this has been that a number of older locomotives have been mothballed. Aside from a handful of D16 type locomotives in service, most of the work is done by the more modern D35 type.
Thankfully, a number of the older locomotives survive in preservation with various organisations, including the unique one-off “D34” (ordered specifically for heavy coal haulage).
WAGR/GML – K Class (1966)
Four members of the former WAGR “K Class” were brought to NSW in 2008 by South Spur Rail Services to be used on infrastructure and trip train working. The class proved to be unreliable, and as a result were returned to Western Australia. They are included here as a matter of completeness.
NSWGR – 73 Class (1970)
Walkers Ltd of Maryborough, Queensland supplied a number of diesel-hydraulic units to Queensland Rail in the mid 1960’s. Following on from the success of these units north of the border, the NSWGR purchased 20 similar units as the 73 Class, to be delivered from 1970 onwards. The class was so successful in replacing steam on shunting duties, that a further 30 class members were ordered to fully dieselise shunting operations state-wide.
The usefulness of the 73 Class would begin to decline in the 1980’s, as shunting loads became longer and heavier. A number of the class would be sold to the sugar industry for rebuild and regauging, while others would be scrapped or sold to private operators.
Note: The above photograph is of 7315, formerly owned by ARHS ACT but later sold to Manildra Group to be used for shunting their Bomaderry plant.
(Photo Gallery Coming Soon)
NSWGR – 47 Class (1972)
The final bastion of steam in NSW would be the Hunter Valley coalfields. With increasing tonnages of coal to be transported, the NSWGR required a class of branchline locomotives capable of treading lightly on some of the more unfriendly colliery branch lines in the region. While modern coal trains are hauled by the heaviest power in the state (locomotives like the 90 Class spring to mind), this was not always the case.
Supplied by A. Goninan and Co Pty Ltd, the twenty members of the 47 Class were initially put to use hauling coal trains on the lightly laid branch lines of the Hunter Valley. Despite being plagued with initial problems, the NSWGR persisted and the locomotives proved to be popular with crews until the class was withdrawn in 1990. Although only one class member survives in private ownership, a few more continue to soldier on in lease service as part of the Lachlan Valley Railway fleet, working on metropolitan trip and infrastructure trains.
47 Class Database (on Railpage Australia).
NSW SRA – XP Class (1981)
The XP Class of locomotive is the motive power for the XPT train sets, currently used between Sydney and Brisbane, Dubbo and Melbourne.
Faced with an aging locomotive hauled passenger fleet, the Public Transport Commission of NSW sought proven solutions to their problem – given the importance of the issue and the political implications involved, a tried and tested method was required. The tender specified that both locomotive hauled carriages and self-propelled railcars (similar to the early Tulloch and Budd cars) would be considered.
Commonwealth Railways offered a solution in the form of an adapted version of the British Rail designed High Speed Train (HST) for local operations. Given the difference in climate and track conditions, a lower overall weight was specified – this made things difficult when larger radiators were required to cool the units in the hot Australian climate!
A total of 19 units were eventually constructed using the Paxman 12RP200L engine, although the fleet were progressively given new engines from 2000, upgrading to the Paxman 12VP185 type. Due to a political demand for services, the XPT fleet continues to be over-utilised with little turn-around time in Sydney for maintenance, especially when on time running is affected by reliability issues, other rail traffic and track conditions.