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WAGR L Class
WAGR L Class
LZ3016 and LZ3013 on a Fremantle container train
Details

Years built

1967-73

Builder

Clyde Engineering, Granville, NSW and Eagle Farm, Queensland

Number Produced

27

Years in Operation

1967-present day

Fleet Numbers

L251-L277

Classification

C-C

Number Operational

4

Number Preserved

0

Number Scrapped

4

Dimensions
(
l x w x h)

63 ft 6 in (19.38 meters)

Gauge

4 ft 8 1/2 in (1,435 mm)

V - E - T - D

The L Class is a Co-Co diesel electric locomotive that was built in 1967 for the Western Australian Government Railways for use on the Eastern Goldfields Railway between Perth and Kalgoorlie. After several deregulations and privatisations across the national network, they saw use in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales

History Edit

In the 1960's, interstate traffic was still being transferred at various break of gauge locations across the country and rail transport was becoming noncompetitive due to having to spend hours transferring goods from one gauge to another, especially with increased post war traffic

The Eastern Goldfields Railway between Kalgoorlie and Perth (Kwinana) route was standardised with two deviations between Midland and Northam via the Avon Valley containing double track dual gauge (1,435/1,067 mm) and between Southern Cross and Kalgoorlie via an iron ore mine at Koolyanobbing, both with with gradients of 1:200, the line east of Northam was converted to standard gauge (1,435 mm) as the old route was riddled with steep 1:40 gradients and slow curvature

To service the heavy interstate traffic the WAGR purchased 27 3,300 horsepower engines, built to the design of the SD40, scaled down to fit the Australian loading gauge. At the time they were the largest and most powerful diesel engines in the country

They were delivered from Sydney to Perth via Melbourne and Adelaide, moaning they had to be transferred to broad gauge (1,600 mm) for the trip between Melbourne (Dynon) and Port Pirie, and put back on standard gauge bogies the rest of the way

When they entered service they were assigned to interstate freights to/from Sydney and Adelaide, iron ore trains between Koolyanobbing and Kwinana and the Indian Pacific. However they were take off passenger services, as the then lightweight formation of the track (built with timber sleepers and 47kg/m rails) wasn't strong enough to accommodate them at higher speeds

In 1984 three of them were leased to V/Line to haul services on the North East standard gauge line, even operating through to Sydney at one point. When the Q Class were delivered in 1997, the L Class were relegated to lesser duties such as trailing

In 1998 seven were sold off to Australian Transport Network and four were gent to haul grain trains in New South Wales and Victoria. 3 of them were sold to Pacific National in 2004 and 4 of them sold off to Aurizon (then QR National). The rest stayed with Westrail, which was privatised in 200 and sold off to Australian Railroad Group, which was later sold off to QR National (now Aurizon)

Preservation Edit

None of have been preserved as of yet, however 19 are stored

Specifications Edit

The L Class weighs 137 tonnes has an axle load of 22 tons with a top speed of 137 km/h (85 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 298 kN (67,000 lbf)

Trivia Edit

  • The L Class bears many similarities to the Victorian Railways C Class, however they were fitted with safety cabs unlike the L Class

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