Decoding the Jargon – Locomotive and Railcar Classes etc

Rail enthusiasts often rattle off Locomotive and Railcar Class numbers – these have meaning for them, but not to many others who shake their heads at what it all means… . Railway Men’s Secret Business ? So what were,  and are,  the NSW Government Railway Locomotive and Railcar Classes that were used on the South Coast Line ?

There is a great list over at the NSW Trains Wikia page – Steam / Diesel / ElectricRetired & Wikiipedia has an article on NSW Steam Locomotive Classes. Wikia also has an interesting history of the South Coast Line.

And which one’s have operated in the Illawarra ? Bearing in mind that there are some steep grades on the NSW South Coast Line and branch lines, eg north of Thirroul and from Unanderra to Moss Vale. These grades plus the heavy freight carried, especially coal, has restricted what Locomotives/Railcars could be used in the area.

Early Steam Locomotives in the earliest days of the Illawarra were

  • Bogan, 
  • Gladstone (loaned for the opening), 1, 2, “The Gladstone ended up working for the Mount Kembla mine for over 50 years after the contractor[ Proudfoot and Logan] went broke building the third section of the government line [Coalcliff-Macquarie Rivulet] .P&L had kicked off a quarry next to the Mount Kembla line and had parked Gladstone there .Went west around 1940 .Photo of loco in one of the albums on Kembla Jottings
  • John Bull –1,  2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,  8, 9
  • Old Governor General

– source “Railway History in Illawarra New South Wales ” pp 13 – 14 by  C. C. Singleton, Past President and Honoray Research Officer Australian Railway Historical Society.

From 1855 until 1890 NSWGR locomotives were numbered sequentially. ere was a renumbering of locomotive classes in August 1984. All engines were given new four-figure numbers, the first two digits indicating the class and the second two, the engine number, arranged in chronological order of commencement of service. If there were more than 99 engines in the class, then 100 was added to the number e.g., the 137th engine of the 32-class was 3337. In 1890, the identification consisted of a letter and number eg A93 Class – the 93rd locomotive in NSW being the first of its type and the most numerous Class. Locomotives on the Northern NSW system had the suffix N prior to the joinging of the two rail systems in the 1880’s. Changes occurred again in 1924, with all engines given a letter and four digit number – letter prefixes :

C: 3 Driving Axles

D : 4 Driving Axles

AD : 2 articulated sets of 4 Driving Axles

Z : old Classes that would not be repeated

X : 10 Class

Some of the NSWGR Locomotives / Railcars used or intended for use on the South Coast over the last 130 years are listed below :

Steam Locomotives

  • 10 Class – Steam – various wheel arrangements – from 1861
  • 17 Class – Steam – 4-4-0 wheel arrangement – from 1887
  • 25 Class – Steam – 2-6-0 wheel arrangement  – from 1882
  • 26 Class – Steam – 2-6-2T wheel arrangement – from
  • 30 Class – Steam – 4-6-4T wheel arrangement – built from 1903 – some later converted to 4-6-0 wheel arrangement from 1905
  • 32 Class – Steam – aka P6 Class  – 4-6-0 wheel arrangement – built from 1890’s
  • 36 Class –  Steam – 4-6-0 wheel arrangement – from 1925
  • 38 Class – Steam – Pacific 4-6-2 wheel arrangement – Wikipedia – most famous is 3801
  • 50 Class – Steam – 2 – 8 – 0 wheel arrangement – 5112 was driven by Ben Chifley who became Prime Minister of Australia – built from 1896
  • 53 Class – Steam – 2 – 8 – 0 wheel arrangement – built from 1912
  • 55 Class – Steam – 2 – 8 0 wheel arrangement – built from 1916
  • 57 Class – Steam – 4 – 8 – 2 wheel arrangement – built from 1929
  • 58 Class – Steam – 4 – 8 – 2 wheel arrangement – built from 1943
  • 59 Class – Steam – 2 – 8 – 2 wheel arrangement – built from 1952
  • 60 Class – Steam – 4 – 8 – 4 + 4- 8 – 4 wheel arrangement – built from 1952

Diesel Electric Locomotives

  • 40 Class – Diesel Electric – built from 1951
  • 44 Class  – Diesel Electric – built from 1957 – Wikipedia
  • 48 Class I &IV   – Diesel Electric – built from 1959
  • 79 Class – Diesel Electric- loaned to Port Kembla Steelworks for a trial in 1945
  • 421 Class – Diesel Electric – built from 1965
  • 422 Class – Diesel Electric –  from 1969 / 70
  • 442 Class – Diesel Electric – from 1971
  • 80 Class – Diesel Electric – built from 1978 – loaned to Port Kembla Steelworks for a trial in 1997
  • 81 Class – Diesel Electric – built from 1982

Diesel Hydraulic Locomotives

  • 70 Class – Diesel Hydraulic – from 1960 replacing Steam Locos at Port Kembla –  Wikipedia – NSW Railpage 
  • 73 Class – Diesel Hydraulic – from 1970 replacing 70 Class

Railcars & Railmotors

Electric

  • U Set – Electric Multiple Unit aka EMU – stainless steel construction – built by Comeng from 1957 – U9 used on “first” operating day of South Coast Line electrification in 1985
  • V Set – Electric Multiple Unit aka EMU – double decker interurban – built by Comeng from 1968 – V28 used on “first” official day of South Coast Line electrification in 1986
  • 85 Class – Electric – bult by Comeng from 1979
  • 86 Class – Electric – WikipediaSETS – built by Comeng from 1986
  • Tangara CityRail G Set   Outer Urban &  Tangara CityRail T Set Suburban – Electric Multiple Unit aka EMU – built from 1988 by Goninan – 2009 derailment at Unanderra
  • City Trains H Set Oscar – Electric Multiple Unit aka EMU – built by UGL United Group Rail (formerly Goninan) from 2010
  • Sydney Trains M Set Millenium – Electric Multiple Unit aka EMU – not commonly on the South Coast Line but were trialled at Waterfall – built by EDI Rail from 2002

 

Controlling the trains has always been important to prevent collisions and to achieve this a token – electric train staff system has been used – refer Oral History from Kiama to Bomaderry line