Victorian Railways C Class (diesel)
C501 and C510
C501 and C510 on a heritage shuttle to Albury

Years built



Clyde Engineering, Rosewater, South Australia

Number Produced




Years in Operation

1977-present day

Fleet Numbers




Type of Diesel Train


Number Operational


Number Preserved


Number Scrapped


(l × w × h)

68 ft (20.77 meters)

Prime mover(s)



4 ft 8 1/2 in (1,435 mm), formerly 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)

V - E - T - D

The C Class is a Co-Co diesel electric locomotive that was built for the Victorian Railways in 1977-78 for use on interstate and heavy haul traffic in Victoria, was also notable for running to Sydney and Adelaide, breaking a long history of changing engines at state borders

History Edit

In the late 1970's, the Victorian Railways' fleet consisted of aging, smaller 1950's era units with horsepower ratings of 1500-1800 horsepower and despite the break of gauge eliminated at Albury and the uniform gauge between Melbourne and Adelaide, trains still had to change engines at the state border, the C's were purchased to handle heavy freight and interstate haulage

When they were purchased, 4 of them were built to run on standard gauge (1,435 mm) for Albury freighters and 6 were built to run on broad gauge (1,600 mm) for Serviceton freighters

Due to the C Class' high horsepower rating, weight and axle loading, they were confined to the Serviceton and Albury lines initially, later being allowed to operate on the Geelong-Ballarat line following infrastructure improvements. From 1982 due to safeworking improvements they were able to operate through to Adelaide, often assisted by Australian National units, as such all units were transferred to broad gauge. Until 1988 when 2 were re-converted to standard gauge for through services to Sydney, aided by State Rail Authority units

Indeed, when they were introduced, at 3,300 horsepower, the C Class considerably outclassed anything in the VR fleet that came before it, the sole exception being the H Class 4-8-4 steam locomotive

When the Melbourne-Adelaide line was closed for conversion to standard gauge, all C Class units were converted to standard gauge and trains heading west of Melbourne were re-routed via the the Main South to Cootamundra and to Parkes on the Sydney-Perth line and all were handed over to the National Rail Corporation in 1995

When the NR Class diesels arrived, the C Class were retired from interstate freight trains and stored in Junee, New South Wales before being transferred to Islington Workshops, Adelaide. At least two were used as shunters in Melbourne by the NRC

All units are now standard gauge and several units have been sold off between various private operators, several of them can be seen on grain and coal trains (from Charbon via Lithgow) in New South Wales. Three were used by the trucking company Crawford's Freightlines to haul containerized freight between Sandgate and Port Botany, until recently being retired in favor of two C44aci units. Six have been recently purchased by Southern Shorthaul Railroad and three are owned by Chicago Freight Car Leasing Australia

Preservation Edit

Only C501 "George Brown" has been retired from regular service and is preserved by the Seymour Rail Heritage Centre, being restored in 2004 by a dedicated fund to restore it to working order. For the last deacde it was leased out to private operators on freight trains around Victoria and New South Wales until 2013, when it was taken back to Seymour. In 2015 the engine teamed up with it's brother C510 in it's first railtour to haul a special railtour to Albury, being the first Victorian standard gauge railtour

Specifications Edit

The C Class weighs 135 tonnes and has an axle load of 22 tonnes, with a top speed of 133 km/h (83 mph). Their generator is an EMD AR10A4, their prime mover is an EMD 16-645E3 and their traction motors are EMD D77, giving the engine power outputs of 3,300 horsepower and a tractive effort of 276 kN (62,496 lbf)

Trivia Edit

  • The C Class bears many similarities to the WAGR L Class, however the C Class were fitted with safety cabs, unlike the L's
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