New South Wales 85 class locomotive

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New South Wales 85 class
Type and origin
Power type Electric
Builder Comeng, Granville
Build date 1979-1980
Number rebuilt 10
UIC class Co-Co
Gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Wheel diameter 1,250 mm (49.21 in)
Wheelbase 14.40 m (47 ft 3 in)
Length Over headstocks
17.73 m (58 ft 2 in),
Over coupler pulling faces: 19.00 m (62 ft 4 in)
Width 2.960 m (9 ft 8.5 in)
Height Over stowed pantograph:
4.305 m (14 ft 1 in)
Axle load 20.5 tonnes (20.2 long tons; 22.6 short tons)
Loco weight 123.0 tonnes (121.1 long tons; 135.6 short tons)
Electric system(s) 1,500 V DC Overhead
Current collection Two pantographs
Traction motors Mitsubishi MB-485-AVR, 6 of
Performance figures
Maximum speed 130 km/h (81 mph)
Power output One hour:
2,880 kW (3,860 hp)
2,700 kW (3,620 hp)
Tractive effort Continuous:
222.00 kN (49,908 lbf)
at 45 km/h (28 mph)
Operators Public Transport Commission
State Rail Authority
Number in class 10
Numbers 8501-8510
First run 9 June 1979
Withdrawn April 1998
Preserved 8501, 8507
Disposition 2 preserved, 8 scrapped

The New South Wales 85 class were a class of 10 electric locomotives built by Comeng, Granville between May 1979 and July 1980 for the Public Transport Commission.[1][2]

When introduced they were the most powerful locomotives in Australia with a rating of 2,880 kW. Based at Lithgow depot they were purchased principally to haul coal trains over the Blue Mountains line. They also hauled other freight trains and on occasions passenger services including the Indian Pacific.

Following the Illawarra line being electrified in 1986, 85s began to operate coal trains from Lithgow through to Port Kembla. They also occasionally hauled coal services from Glenlee Colliery on the Main South line to Port Kembla and Rozelle. They did not operate on the Main North line although in 1993 all were hauled to Taree for repainting at Landsdowne Engineering.[3]

A combination of National Rail electing to use diesel locomotives on electrified lines and a move to an open access model in New South Wales resulting in electric traction being priced out of the market saw the need for electric traction drop.[4] In April 1998, the 85 class were withdrawn and stored at Lithgow.[2][5]

In July 2000, FreightCorp moved three of the class to Werris Creek.[6] Two were sold for preservation, 8501 to the Sydney Electric Train Society and 8507 to the Dorrigo Steam Railway & Museum.[7][8] As at May 2015, both are stored at Werris Creek. The remainder were sold in 2003 to Silverton Rail and scrapped at Broken Hill.[2]


  1. ^ Walters, Chris (May 2007). "When They were Young – The 85 and 86 class Electric Locomotives". Australian Railway History. pp. 198–208. 
  2. ^ a b c NSW 85 Class Electric Locomotive 8501 Sydney Electric Train Society
  3. ^ "Goninan's (sic) Wins 85 Class Repaint Contract" Railway Digest June 1993 page 222
  4. ^ "Electric Sunset?" Railway Digest May 1998 page 19
  5. ^ "Electrics Live" Railway Digest August 1998 page 12
  6. ^ "FreightCorp starts sending electric locos to Werris Creek" Railway Digest August 2000 page 37
  7. ^ 85 Class Railpage
  8. ^ 85 Class Vicsig