Victorian Railways F class (diesel)

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Victorian Railways F class
250px
Preserved F202 at the Seymour Railway Heritage Centre in October 2005
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-electric
Builder Dick Kerr Works, Preston, England
Build date 1951-53
Total produced 16
Specifications
UIC classification C
Gauge 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in)
Length 9.34 m (30 ft 8 in)
Fuel type Diesel
Prime mover English Electric 6KT
Engine type (?)
Generator English Electric 801-66
Traction motors English Electric 506A
Performance figures
Maximum speed 32 km/h (20 mph)
Power output 260 kW (349 hp)
Career
Operator(s) Victorian Railways
Number in class 16
Number(s) F201-F216 (renumbered), F310-F319 (original)
First run 1951
Preserved F202, F204, F208, F211, F212, F216
Disposition 6 preserved, 10 scrapped

The F Class were a class of diesel locomotive shunters built by Dick Kerr Works for the Victorian Railways between 1951 and 1953. They are similar to the British Rail Class 11 and NS Class 600 shunting locomotives also built by English Electric during this period.

History[edit]

The F Class were ordered by the Victorian Railways as part of 'Operation Phoenix', a £80 million program to rebuild a network badly run down by years of Depression-era underinvestment and wartime overutilisation.[1]

The Victorian Railways purchased ten 0-6-0DM diesel shunting locomotives in 1951 from English Electric. The locomotives were built at EE's Preston workshops in the United Kingdom, and entered service from October 1951 onwards. The design is similar to that of the standard-gauge British Rail Class 11 and Nederlandse Spoorwegen 600 class locomotives, which were also being built by EE at this time.

As built the locomotives were originally numbered in the 300-series as F310-319, following on from the last of the S class diesel locomotives, S309, which entered service in February 1958, seven years after the arrival of the first F class locomotives. However, VR then placed a second order for another eight S class locomotives for use on the new North East standard gauge line which were delivered starting in November 1960. In order to vacate the 300-series numbers for the new mainline diesels, all F class locomotives were renumbered into the 200-series on in late May 1958 as F201-211. Unlike their British and Dutch counterparts, the F class locomotives were also later fitted with sideplates covering the side rods and wheel cranks. This modification was made to prevent staff from getting tangled up in the rods and cranks.

Six identical units were purchased by the State Electricity Commission of Victoria in 1952. The SEC later sold all six units to VR; the first, SEC3 in 1956, three more - SEC4, 5 and 6 - in 1959, and the remaining two, the former SEC1 and SEC2, in May 1971.[2][3][4] These locomotives received numbers in the 21x-series as F212-216 on entry to VR service. The first sold, F211 (formerly SEC3) received its 200-series number on entry to VR service in 1956, some two years before the ten built for VR were similarly treated.

Withdrawal[edit]

Withdrawal of the F class locomotives began in October 1979 with the withdrawal of F214. The remaining locomotives with withdrawn between November 1979 and July 1987, when the last three locomotives, F202, F208, and F216, were taken out of service. Following withdrawal, the locomotives appear to have been placed in storage although most were later scrapped. Only one locomotive was broken up in the same year it was withdrawn; F215 was withdrawn in April 1983 and scrapped later that year.

Preservation[edit]

Six of the sixteen F class locomotives were purchased from VR or donated for preservation in the early 1980s:

  • F202, formerly F311, was purchased by the Seymour Railway Heritage Centre on withdrawal in July 1987. It is certified to operate on the main line but is usually used by SRHC as a shunting locomotive around their depot.
  • F204, formerly F 313, was purchased by 707 Operations on withdrawal in April 1981. The locomotive is now currently in storage at the group's operational base at Newport Workshops as a source of spare parts.
  • F208, formerly F317, was also purchased by 707 Operations on withdrawal, this time in July 1987. Known unofficially as the Dynon Donk, it was renumbered back to its original number of F317 and is currently used as an operational shunting locomotive by the group.
  • F211, formerly SEC3, was withdrawn in September 1986 and purchased by the Australian Railway Historical Society for display at their North Williamstown museum, behind the Newport Workshops. It was informally known as Little Trimmer.
  • F212, formerly SEC4, was withdrawn in November 1986 and purchased by the Victorian Goldfields Railway. It is maintained in operational condition and used as a shunting locomotive on operating days.
  • F216, formerly SEC2, was withdrawn in July 1987 and purchased by the ARHS for display at their North Williamstown museum. As the museum had brought F211 in September 1986 for static display, F216 was restored cosmetically to its original condition as SEC2.

Locomotives[edit]

Key: Preserved Scrapped
Number Name Original
number
In service Renumbered Out of service Current owner Status Notes
F201 F310 18 November 1951 26 May 1958 December 1983 Scrapped January 1989
F202 "Freddy" F311 6 September 1951 18 May 1958 July 1987 Seymour Railway Heritage Centre Preserved - operational Main line registered but use limited to Seymour yard Naming was unofficial
F203 F312 23 November 1951 18 May 1958 October 1981 Scrapped January 1987
F204 F313 31 October 1951 18 May 1958 April 1981 707 Operations Stored non-operational Held as a source of spare parts.
F205 F314 3 October 1951 25 May 1958 December 1981 Scrapped January 1987
F206 F315 23 September 1951 18 May 1958 January 1981 Scrapped June 1981
F207 F316 7 October 1951 16 May 1958 December 1981 Scrapped January 1987
F208 Dynon Donk F317 2 December 1951 18 May 1958 July 1987 707 Operations Preserved - operational. Naming was unofficial.
Renumbered back to F317 in preservation.
F209 F318 27 November 1951 18 May 1958 March 1982 Scrapped June 1987
F210 F319 23 February 1953 18 May 1958 November 1979 Scrapped June 1981
F211 Little Trimmer SEC3 23 March 1953 15 June 1956 September 1986 Australian Railway Historical Society Preserved - static Renumbering date reflects transfer to VR.
Naming was unofficial.
F212 SEC4 15 April 1953 July 1959 November 1986 Victorian Goldfields Railway Preserved - operational Renumbering date reflects transfer to VR
F213 SEC5 12 April 1953 July 1959 April 1981 Scrapped January 1981 Renumbering date reflects transfer to VR
F214 SEC6 29 April 1953 July 1959 October 1979 Scrapped June 1981 Renumbering date reflects transfer to VR
F215 SEC1 18 January 1952 29 May 1971 April 1983 Scrapped 1983 Renumbering date reflects transfer to VR
F216 SEC2 29 January 1952 29 May 1971 July 1987 Australian Railway Historical Society Preserved - static Renumbering date reflects transfer to VR.
Renumbered back to SEC2 in preservation.

Models[edit]

Australian model railway manufacturer TrainBuilder released a ready-to-run model of the F class for HO scale in 2011.[5] European model railway manufacturer Roco announced in early 2014 that it would be releasing a ready-to-run model of the F class, using its existing model of the NS 500/600 class locomotive as its basis.

Broad Gauge Models in Australia have also offered a sheet of etched brass parts for modellers to use in order to modify the NS 500/600 class locomotive to more closely represent the VR F class in the past. Following the announcement of the Roco model, BGM announced it would re-release the etches for modellers wanting to alter the Roco locomotive.

References[edit]