New South Wales 421 class locomotive

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New South Wales 421 Class
42103 in State Rail Authority "candy" livery at Wagga Wagga in June 2019
Type and origin
Power typeDiesel-electric
BuilderClyde Engineering, Granville
Serial number65-468, 66-469 to 66-477
ModelElectro-Motive Diesel AJ16C
Build date1965-1966
Total produced10
 • UICCo-Co
Gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Wheel diameter40 in (1,016 mm)
LengthOver headstocks:
57 ft 10 in (17.63 m),
Over coupler pulling faces:
62 ft 0 34 in (18.92 m)
Width9 ft 8 in (2.95 m)
Height13 ft 10 12 in (4.23 m)
Axle load18 long tons 0 cwt (40,300 lb or 18.3 t)
Loco weight108 long tons 0 cwt (241,900 lb or 109.7 t)
Fuel typeDiesel
Fuel capacity1,200 imp gal (5,500 l; 1,400 US gal)
Lubricant cap.166 imp gal (750 l; 199 US gal)
Coolant cap.175 imp gal (800 l; 210 US gal)
Sandbox cap.12 cu ft (0.34 m3)
Prime moverEMD 16-567C
RPM range275-835
Engine typeTwo-stroke V16 diesel
AspirationRoots blower
GeneratorEMD D32F
Traction motors6 x EMD D67
Cylinder size8.5 in × 10 in (216 mm × 254 mm)
Performance figures
Maximum speed71 mph (114 km/h)
Power outputGross: 1,800 hp (1,340 kW),
For traction: 1,800 hp (1,340 kW)
Tractive effortContinuous: 70,900 lbf (315.38 kN) at 6.9 mph (11.1 km/h)
OperatorsDepartment of Railways New South Wales
Public Transport Commission
State Rail Authority
Northern Rivers Railroad
Number in class10
NicknamesRocking Horses
First runDecember 1965
Preserved42101, 42102, 42103, 42105
Current ownerAurizon
The Heritage Locomotive Company
Dorrigo Steam Railway & Museum
Private Owner
Disposition1 stored, 4 preserved, 5 scrapped

The 421 class are a class of diesel locomotives built by Clyde Engineering, Granville for the Department of Railways New South Wales in 1965/66. These mainline locomotives were a follow on from the 42 class. The 421s retained the classic bulldog nose as with the other Clyde built GM and S locomotives at one end, but featured a flat-cab at the other end. In this respect, they are unique amongst bulldog nose locomotives in the world.


The 421 class initially entered service on the Main South line before being transferred to Bathurst in 1970 to operate services on the Main Western line between Lithgow and Broken Hill including the new Indian Pacific service. However, due to their poor ride quality, they were returned to the Main South. In 1982, they were briefly used on through services to Melbourne.[1]

All 10 were withdrawn from service in December 1986 and January 1987 and put in store at Junee Locomotive Depot, even though some had only recently been overhauled.[2] In June 1989 two were moved to Cardiff Locomotive Workshops.[3] One was resurrected from July 1989 until January 1990 before most were offered for sale in 1990.[4][5]

Four locomotives were purchased by Northern Rivers Railroad.[6] After undergoing some restoration work at Junee, in October 1996 they worked to their new base at Casino where the work was completed ready for the commencement of operations in October 1997.[7] Northern Rivers Railroad used them to haul the Ritz Rail tourist rail service from Casino to Murwillumbah on the Murwillumbah line and various freight and infrastructure trains on the North Coast line as a sub-contractor to FreightCorp. Northern Rivers Railroad purchased 42106 from a private owner, and moved it from storage at the New South Wales Rail Transport Museum, Thirlmere to Casino in September 1998.[8]

All were included in the sale from Interail to QR National in March 2002,[9][10] who regularly operated them as far south as Melbourne. Three were withdrawn and placed in store in January 2013 with one remaining in service.

Two have been preserved. In December 2009 42101 was transferred from the Goulburn Rail Heritage Centre to Eveleigh Railway Workshops for restoration by 3801 Limited.[11] After being fitted with refurbished traction motors at Chullora Railway Workshops in October 2011, it returned to Eveleigh to be restored back to operational condition in March 2012.[12] It undertook its first trials on Cowan Bank on the evening of 25 October 2014 and was repainted in its original Indian red livery by UGL Rail, Auburn in January 2015.[13]

In January 2011, 42102 moved from storage on Kooragang Island to the Dorrigo Steam Railway & Museum.[14][15]

In mid 2016, units 42109 and 42106 were scrapped by Aurizon. 42109 had been in storage since 2011 due to an engine fire and 42106 was part way through a conversion to run on pulverised coal, before the conversion was stopped and the unit sat stored for several years.

In late 2017, 42103 and 42105 were bought by a private owner for preservation. This locomotive was reactivated and made its first trip to Rothbury in December 2017. 42103’s first trip after reactivation was working Lachlan Valley Railway's Blue Seude Express to Parkes with 4204 & 4716 in January 2018. Since then, it worked the Australia Day Flyer to Kiama and has been seen running light engine in numerous locations. It has now been affectionately named “Chumster”.[16][17]

Status Table[edit]

As of April 2018, 42107, the last operating member of the class under Aurizon, has entered storage at Broadmeadow, NSW. Four have been preserved and five have been scrapped. [18] [19]

NSW No Serial No Entered Service Current/Last Owner Livery Status
42101 65-468 22 Dec 1965 The Heritage Locomotive Company Indian Red Preserved, Operational
Eveleigh Railway Workshops
42102 66-469 24 Jan 1966 Dorrigo Steam Railway & Museum SRA Candy Stored
42103 66-470 15 Feb 1966 Privately Owned by Chumrail SRA Candy Preserved, Operational
Eveleigh Railway Workshops
42104 66-471 28 Feb 1966 State Rail Authority PTC Reverse Scrapped
42105 66-472 15 Mar 1966 Privately Owned by Chumrail NRR Rainbow Preserved, stored at Goulburn
42106 66-473 14 Apr 1966 Aurizon Undercoat Scrapped
42107 66-474 12 May 1966 Aurizon NRR Rainbow Stored Broadmeadow, NSW
42108 66-475 3 May 1966 State Rail Authority SRA Candy Scrapped
42109 66-476 6 Jul 1966 Aurizon NRR Rainbow Scrapped
42110 66-477 25 Jul 1966 State Rail Authority Austerity Red Scrapped


  1. ^ Bromby, Robin (1988). Australian Rail Annual 1988. Sutherland: Sherborne Sutherland Publishing. p. 14. ISBN 1 86275 004 1.
  2. ^ "Locomotives & Traffic 421 Class Report" Railway Digest February 1987 page 47
  3. ^ "Locomotives and Traffic 421 Class" Railway Digest August 1989 page 276
  4. ^ "42107" Railway Digest March 1990 page 106
  5. ^ "Locos for sale" Railway Digest July 1990 page 239
  6. ^ "Locomotives and Traffic 421 Class" Railway Digest December 1990 page 439
  7. ^ "The Northern Rivers Railroad" Railway Digest December 1996 page 28
  8. ^ "Motive Power 42106" Railway Digest November 1998 page 41
  9. ^ "QR moves into NSW with Northern Rivers Railroad buy" Archived 2015-02-06 at the Wayback Machine Rail Express 12 March 2002
  10. ^ "QR National push" WorldCargo News March 2002
  11. ^ Train Alteration Advice No: TAA 0818-2009 Australian Rail Track Corporation
  12. ^ TOC Waiver RailCorp 19 March 2012
  13. ^ Friends of 42101 Facebook page
  14. ^ 42102 Vicsig
  15. ^ 421 Class Railpage
  16. ^ [1] Youtube Footage of Blue Seude Express 2018
  17. ^ [2] Details On Elvis Event 2018
  18. ^ "Australia Wide Fleet List 2014" Motive Power issue 96 November 2014 page 64
  19. ^ ”Locomotives @, 42103”

Further reading[edit]

  • New South Wales Rail System Locomotives. Sydney: Archives Section, State Rail Authority of New South Wales. 1984.

External links[edit]