In June 1989 Australian National awarded a contract for 14 Dash 8 locomotives to A Goninan & Co with the first delivered in July 1990. Even though they were the most powerful locomotives to have operated by Australian National, they were fitted with lightweight traction motors which reduced their tractive effort by 33% compared to the preceding DL class locomotives. They were ordered for use on passenger and fast freight services and geared for a top speed of 140 km/h.
In November 1998, the remaining 13 were sold to Chicago Freight Car Leasing Australia. All were overhauled by A Goninan & Co, Bassendean which saw them regeared reducing their top speed to 125 km/h, but resulting in their tractive effort increasing by 19%. All have been repainted into Chicago Freight Car Leasing Australia's silver, blue and yellow livery and named after famous Australian racehorses. They have been leased to a variety of operators and operated in all states.