|WAGR L Class|
|LZ3016 and LZ3013 on a Fremantle container train|
|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 (WAGR) for use on the Eastern Goldfields Railway between Perth and Kalgoorlie. After several deregulation's and privatizations across the national network, they saw use in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.
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).
None of have been preserved as of yet, however 19 are stored.
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).
- The L Class bears many similarities to the Victorian Railways C Class, however they were fitted with safety cabs unlike the L Class.