Victorian Railways A2 Class
A2 995 as preserved in the ARHS Meseum

Years built



Newport Workshops, Ballarat Workshops, Bendigo Workshops

Number Produced


Years in Operation


Fleet Numbers

185 (125 Stephenson, 60 Walschaerts)



Number Preserved


Number Scrapped


(l × w × h)

63 ft 3 3/4 in (19.30 meters)


5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)

V - E - T - D

The A2 Class locomotive is a 4-6-0 'Ten Wheeler' type of steam locomotive that ran on the Victorian Railways of Australia from 1907 to 1963.


Due to a massive boom in traffic during the 1900's greater motive power was needed to pull heavier trains as the Dd Class 4-6-0's were no longer capable of keeping up with the increasing workloads, thus the A2's were built and entered service, replacing the Dd's and relegating them to branchline duties. Thus the A2 Class took over mainline express passenger duties, allowing for faster timetables to be introduced.

Initially they were limited to mainline services, but due to track upgrades were capable of branch line services. They were also all upgraded with superheated steam boilers.

Increasing traffic and thus workloads later on required the A2's to double head on passenger trains along the routes to Albury and Serviceton since the workload was too much for one A2 alone. In 1928 they were replaced on the North Eastern line to Albury by the considerably more powerful 3 cylinder S Class 4-6-2 locomotives, however due to the economic depression, the A2's continued to work on every other main line and were not replaced by newer engines (their construction was cancelled or put on hold due to the depression)

In 1933 they were fitted with a 'modified front end' which was a self cleaning smokebox which were tested on A2's and C Class 2-8-0 locomotives. The success of these saw them being fitted onto not only the A2's and C's, but also the K Class 2-8-0, the N Class 2-8-2, S Class and X Class 2-8-2 locomotives as well as become standard on every VR design afterwards.

During World War 2, massively increasing workloads and boom in traffic saw the A2's undergo heavy, punishing labor and little maintenance, which caused the A2's to suffer wearing out and frame cracking. It was intended for the hugely more modern and powerful H Class 4-8-4 to replace the double heading A2's on the Western line to Serviceton, although lack of upgrades to several bridges meant this never went ahead, so H 220 was assigned to pulling fast express freights along the North Eastern line, and the A2's were forced to continue along the Western line double heading their trains.

Later on, they were converted to oil firing due to the poor quality of coal and were given boxpok wheels as their conventional spoked wheels were cracking from fatigue.

After the war, the A2's were in deplorable condition and newer motive power was desperately required across all lines, which led to the more modern and powerful R Class 4-6-4 locomotives being produced and put to service on express passenger trains in 1951, thus ending the A2's forced extended life, which led to them being scrapped by the masses, the final A2's being relegated to branchline duties and excursion specials, until finally being withdrawn in 1963.


Only one of the original Stephenson A2's survive in A2 884 in the ARHS Museum at North Williamstown.

Four of the Walschaets A2's survive.

  • A2 964 is preserved as a static exhibit in a park in Resevior, Melbourne.
  • A2 986 has been restored to full working order by Steamrail Victoria after a 15 year overhaul, being in the testing stages for main line accreditation.
  • A2 995 is also preserved in the ARHS Museum at North Williamstown.
  • A2 996 is preserved in Echuca Victoria, having recently been moved back to the Port of Echuca for light steaming as part of the "meeting of the whistles" events, after being stored in the Echuca yard for a decade.


The A2 Class weighs 123.3 tonnes. The locomotives have 2 cylinders with a 22 inch bore by 26 inch stroke (559 x 660 mm) with a boiler pressure of 185 psi with a tractive effort of 27,480 lbf. The firebox possesses a grate area of 29 square feet (2.7 m^2).The engine's driving wheels were 73 inches (1.85 m)

The coal burning tender is capable of carrying 6 tons of coal and 4700 gallons (21000 litres) of water. The oil burning tender is capable of carrying 1500 gallons (6800 litres) of oil.


  • The A2's service life as a top link express passenger locomotive was forcibly extended due to the Great Depression and war delaying upgrading of lines and introduction of more modern and powerful locomotives.
  • In 1951, four A2's (2 trains both double headed) pulling both the eastound and westbound Overland expresses were involved in a head on crash at Serviceton. All 4 A2's were so badly damaged that 3 were scrapped on site.
  • Two A2's hold a haulage record in Victoria, hauling 1,598 ton wheat train from Seymour to Benalla.


Articles on Trains in Victoria
Steam: A2 Class - C Class - Dd Class - G Class - H Class - J Class - K Class - N Class - NA Class - R Class - V Class - X Class - Y Class

Diesel Electric: C Class - F Class - P Class - V Class

Diesel Hydraulic: TBA

Rail Tractor: TBA

Railmotors: Walker Railmotors

Electric: TBA

Suburban Electric: TBA