New South Wales D55 class locomotive
|New South Wales D55 class|
Class D55 Locomotive (former K.1353 Class)
|Type and origin|
|Builder||Clyde Engineering, Granville|
|Gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
|Driver diameter||4 ft 9 in (1.448 m)|
|Weight on drivers||150,000 lb (68 t)|
|Locomotive weight||165,000 lb (75 t)|
|Fuel type||Coal or oil|
|Boiler pressure||160 psi (1.10 MPa)|
|Firegrate area||29 sq ft (2.7 m2)|
|1,755 sq ft (163.0 m2)|
|Superheater area||365 sq ft (33.9 m2)|
|Cylinder size||22 in × 26 in (559 mm × 660 mm)|
|Tractive effort||33,557 lbf (149.3 kN)|
|Operator(s)||New South Wales Government Railways|
|Class||K1353, D55 from 1924|
5501–5620 from 1924
|Disposition||1 preserved, 119 scrapped|
In 1916 Clyde Engineering were award a contract for the construction of 300 K class locomotives. Following experiments with Southern type valve gear on an earlier class, Chief Mechanical Engineer Edward Lucy proposed its installation on these locomotives. The use of Southern valve gear was rare on locomotives operating outside the United States of America. The Southern valve gear did not give as good steam distribution as was desirable, making the locomotives a little sluggish when hauling heavy loads, compared to the similar classes.
The first of the class entered traffic on 29 November 1918. Due to financial difficulties at Clyde Engineering, the next member did not appear for a further two years. Meanwhile the contract had been reduced to just 120 locomotives. All were in service by March 1925 and were fitted with Wampu tenders. The last 30 were fitted with self-cleaning smokeboxes and outside bearings on the lead pony trucks.
The members of this class spent most of their days attached to depots at Enfield, Goulburn, Harden, Junee and Cowra operating on the Illawarra and Main South lines. They were seldom used on the Main Western or Main Northern lines.
With the discontent and industrial action in the coalfields following World War II, it was decided in 1946 to convert seventy (70) of the class to oil burners. The 55 class was chosen as the outside valve gear gave more room for the installation of the new equipment, which included altered firebox and smokebox. The tenders were fitted with a 2,400-imperial-gallon (11,000 l; 2,900 US gal) fuel tank. The fuel oil was injected into the firebox by a jet of steam from the locomotive boiler, the flow being controlled by the fireman. The first six locomotives converted were fitted to burn distillate which was five times the cost of coal firing, although it was hoped that reduced servicing times would offset some of that extra cost.
When cheaper crude oil became available, the locomotives were again modified to allow them to burn this heavier product. This required the installation of heating coils in the tank and pre-heating adjacent to the burner to ensure complete atomisation. A further 10 were converted in 1947, followed by another 54 in 1949. As the crisis passed, the oil burning locomotives were withdrawn as they were still four times more expensive to run than the coal fired ones. Sixteen were converted back to coal firing and the remainder stored. The last oil burning 55 class was 5591 which was withdrawn in February 1959.
A distinctive feature of the oil burning locomotives was a hinged lid provided over the chimney to protect the boiler tubes and flues from sudden cooling when the oil fire was cut off.
The last was withdrawn from Enfield Locomotive Depot in June 1967. Of the Standard Goods engines, the 55 class were thus the first to be retired.
One has been preserved:
- 5595 by the New South Wales Rail Transport Museum