NSWGR steam locomotive classification

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Locomotive No. 1
Drawing General Arrangement

In the first 36 years of its existence the NSW Railways introduced 42 separate classes of locomotives. The appointment by the Premier of New South Wales, Henry Parkes of Mr E.M.G Eddy as Chief Commissioner in 1888 created an independent railway department and saw the following 36 years with only sixteen new classes produced.[1]


Steam Locomotive classification on the New South Wales Government Railways had three distinct classification systems.

From 1855 to 1890 (numerical)[edit]

The classification was taken from the road number given to the first engine in each class.

The engines attached to the then isolated Northern section had the terminal letter "N" added to the road number.

From October 1890 to August 1924 (letter and number)[edit]

A letter was selected arbitrarily and placed before the first number allotted to each class. e.g. the 93-class became the A.93-class. Letters were initially allocated, in alphabetic order, by class size. The 93 Class had the most locomotives in traffic (77) so they were given the letter 'A', the 205 Class were the next most numerous (70 in traffic), so were classified 'B', the 79 Class the third most numerous (68 in service) so were granted the letter 'C' and so on. With the opening of the Hawkesbury Bridge in May 1889, the Northern section engines were renumbered and grouped with the others of the Sydney system, using the numbers 388-435. the final "N" being dropped .

In general practice, the class letter only was quoted, without the number, except when there were one or two variants using a common class-letter.

From August 1924 (letter and number)[edit]

All engines were given new four-figure numbers, the first two digits indicating the class and the second two, the engine number, arranged in chronological order of commencement of service. When the number of engines in a class exceeded 99, 100 was added to the number, e.g., the 137th engine of the 32-class was 3337. Engines numbered from 1000 up were the first to be renumbered using the new system to prevent two locomotives sharing the same number being in service at the same time.

The initial letters indicate :

  • "C"-three driving axles;
  • "D"-four driving axles;
  • "AD"-two articulated sets of four driving axles (Only for the AD60s);
  • "Z"-old classes which would never be repeated, and
  • "X" -associated with the 10-class, which included all types of duplicates; yard and depot locomotives, crane locomotives, locomotive and accident cranes and special equipment.

Initial letters are dropped in general usage with a "C.36-class" engine universally known as a "36-class".


Image Whyte notation First pre 1924 post 1924 Type Year
Class 6 2-2-2 6 Passenger 1856
Class 8N 2-2-2 8N Passenger 1864
Class 9 2-2-2 9 Passenger, Coal 1858
Class 14 2-2-2 14 Express Passenger 1865
Class 8 2-2-2T 8 Passenger Tank 1859
Class 1 0-4-2 1 Mixed Traffic 1855
Class 5 0-4-2 5 Mixed Traffic 1856
Class 1N 0-4-2 1N Mixed Traffic 1857
Class 36 0-4-2 36 M.36 X.10 Mixed Traffic 1870
Class 10 2-4-0 10[2] Passenger 1870
Class 13 2-4-0 13 Mixed Traffic 1863
Class G.23 2-4-0 23 G.23 Passenger 1863
Class 6N 2-4-0T 6N Mineral Tank Type 1863
Class 351 2-4-0T 351 F.351 X.10 Suburban Passenger Tank 1885
Class C.79 4-4-0 79 C.79 Z.12 Passenger 1877
Class U.105 4-4-0 105 U.105
(later S.105)
Passenger 1877
Class D.255 4-4-0 255 D.255 Z.15 Express Passenger 1882
Class D.261 4-4-0 261 D.261 Z.16 Express Passenger 1883
Class D.334 4-4-0 334 D.334 Z.16 Express Passenger 1885
Class H.373 4-4-0 373 H.373 Z.17 Passenger 1887
Class CG 4-4-0 CG Z.14 (C)onverted (G)-Class 1903
Class Q.158 4-4-0 158 Q.158 Light Mixed Traffic 1880
Class Q.158 4-4-0T 158 Q.158 Suburban Passenger Tank 1910
Class 6N 4-4-0T 6N 6N Mineral Tank 1863
Class M.40 4-4-2T M.40 Z.11 Suburban Passenger Tank 1891
Class CC.79 4-4-2T 79 CC.79 Z.13 Suburban Passenger Tank 1877
Class E.17 0-6-0 17 E.17 Goods 1863
Class 23N 0-6-0 23N Goods 1874
Class (2nd)48 0-6-0 (2nd)48 I.48 Goods 1874
Class O.60 0-6-0 60 O.60 Passenger 1874
Class A.93 0-6-0 93 A.93 Goods 1877
Class S.29 0-6-0T 29-31,9N S.29 Box Saddle Tank 1864
Class 20N 0-6-0T 20N Goods Saddle Tank 1872
Class (1st)48 0-6-0T (1st) 48 Goods Tank 1872
Class P.127 0-6-0T 66 P.127 Small Saddle Tank 1874
Class N.67 0-6-0T 67 N.67 Suburban Passenger Tank 1875
Class R.285 0-6-0T 285 R.285 Z.18 Suburban Passenger Tank 1884
Class B.55 2-6-0 B.55 Z.24 Goods 1891
Class B.205 2-6-0 205 B.205 Z.25 Goods 1882
Class K.294 2-6-0 294 K.294 Goods 1885
Class L.304 2-6-0 304 L.304 Z.21 Passenger 1885
Class L.436 2-6-0 L.436 Z.22 Passenger 1890
Class G.1204 2-6-0 G.1204 Z.27 Goods 1917
Class I.17 2-6-2T I.17 Z.26 Mineral Tank 1891
Class E.10 2-6-4T E.10 Z.20 Mineral Tank 1891
Class A/E 2-6-4T A/E Z.20 Mineral Tank E.10 rebuild 1902
Class O.446 4-6-0 O.446 Z.23 Passenger 1891
Class P.6 4-6-0 P.6 C.32 Passenger 1892
Class N.928 4-6-0 N.928 C.34 Express Passenger 1909
Class NN.1027 4-6-0 NN.1027 C.35 Express Passenger 1914
Class 36 4-6-0 C.36 Express Passenger 1925
Class C30T 4-6-0T C.30T Brunch line work (converted tank engines) 1928
Class C38 4-6-2 C.38 Express Passenger 1943
Class C30 4-6-4T S.636 C.30 Suburban Passenger Tank 1903
Class Z28 2-8-0 131 J.131 Z.28 Goods 1879
Class Z28 2-8-0 J.522 Z.28 Goods 1893
Class Z29 2-8-0 J.483 Z.29 Goods 1891
Class D50 2-8-0 T.524 D.50 Goods 1896
Class D53 2-8-0 TF.939 D.53 Goods 1912
Class D55 2-8-0 K.1353 D.55 Goods 1918
Class D59 2-8-2 D.59 Goods 1952
Class D57 4-8-2 D.57 Heavy Goods 1929
Class D58 4-8-2 D.58 Heavy Goods 1950
Class AD60 4-8-4+4-8-4 AD.60 Heavy Goods 1952

See also[edit]


  1. ^ New South Wales Department of Railways Archives[full citation needed]
  2. ^ "COLONIAL MANUFACTURED LOCOMOTIVE". Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1853 - 1872). NSW: National Library of Australia. 29 September 1870. p. 12. Retrieved 26 August 2013.