UGL Rail C44aci

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Australian Railroad Group AC4305 at North Dynon in September 2009
Type and origin
Power typeDiesel-electric
BuilderUGL Rail, Broadmeadow
ModelGE Transportation C44aci
Build date2008-present
Total produced140
 • UICCo-Co
Gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Length22.0 m (72 ft 2 in)
Loco weight140 tons (high)
138 tons (med)
134 tons (low)
Fuel typeDiesel
Prime moverGE Transportation 7FDL-16
AlternatorGE Transportation GMG192
Traction motorsGE Transportation 5GEB30
Performance figures
Maximum speed115 km/h (71 mph)
Power output3,184 kW (4,270 hp) (pre-2009 units)
3,244 kW (4,350 hp) (post-2009 units)
Tractive effort535 kN (120,000 lbf)
Centennial Coal
CFCL Australia
Consolidated Rail Leasing
Fletchers International Exports
Mineral Resources
Pacific National
Number in class139
Current ownerAurizon
Centennial Coal
CFCL Australia
Consolidated Rail Leasing
Fletchers International Exports
Mineral Resources
Pacific National
Disposition139 in service

The C44aci is a model of Australian heavy duty diesel electric locomotive designed by UGL Rail and built at the Broadmeadow factory. It is operated by a number of rail freight operators. The design is based on the National Rail NR class but with some modifications and upgraded features.


The C44aci was designed by UGL Rail in response to a tender issued by Pacific National, who required a locomotive to match the performance of their existing 90 class units when hauling heavy coal traffic, while still having the ability to work high speed intermodal services, with the change between applications to be simple.[1]

The existing UGL Rail Cv40-9i (NR class) locomotive design was used as a base, but with alterations including:[2]

  • Higher horsepower prime mover
  • Smaller main alternator
  • Enlarged radiator size now overhangs the walkway at the number 2 end to cope with the more powerful engine
  • AC traction equipment allowing an increase in haulage capacity
  • Addition of inline refuelling fittings
  • Isolated cab for reduced noise and vibration
  • A new design of fabricated bogies
  • Increased use of modular construction
  • Revised transition curves in the underframe to reduce the probability of fatigue cracking
  • Various body and cab modifications
  • A new Graham White Electric bell from North America

The NR class design had also been used as a basis for the AC traction QR National 5000 class introduced in 2005. This design did not meet the requirements for Pacific National due to the heavy axle load, acceptable on the heavily laid coal routes, but not on lines outside of the Hunter Valley.[2]

To reduce the weight, the level of fuel carried is altered: for intermodal applications the fuel level is 7,300 litres, for coal applications that permit higher axle loads the fuel level is increased to 13,500 litres, with an intermediate fuel level of 10,750 litres also available. These limits are enforced during refuelling by a float switch in the tank, the permitted level being set by a key switch with an indication displayed in the cab if the limits are breached.[2] The provision of inline refuelling permits the topping up of the tanks in transit from a separate tank wagon behind the locomotives.

The older GE Transportation FDL series engine was chosen instead of the newer GE Evolution Series engine used in the United States, due to the greater height not fitting in the restricted Australian loading gauge,[1] and there being no legal requirement to meet stringent Tier 2 emissions standards which drove adoption of the GEVO series elsewhere. The C44aci has one inverter per traction motor, this differs from competing Downer EDi Rail locomotives that have only one inverter per bogie. A further difference between the C44aci and the competing GT46C ACe is the lack of steering bogies to improve tracking properties and reduce the rate of wheel wear, instead fixed-frame pedestal-type bogies are used where all three axles are always held parallel.[1]

Simulation work showed that three C44aci locomotives could equal the performance of 90 class units in heavy mode, while in intermodal mode could outperform the older NR class units by 20% on services, with the same sectional running times and in some areas a slight reduction in fuel consumed due to the increased adhesion resulting from AC traction.[1] However the C44aci was outperformed by the comparable GT46C ACe locomotive produced by Downer EDi Rail in back-to-back trials performed by RailCorp on the steeply graded Cowan Bank.[3][4]

By operator[edit]

No 2 end of Pacific National 9307 at Taree in May 2013
Cab view of Pacific National 9307 in May 2013

As of May 2018, 139 were in service.[5]

Pacific National[edit]

The first of the Pacific National 92 class was officially launched at Port Waratah on 3 October 2008.[6] All 15 units entered service on coal trains in the Hunter Region and were trialed on Brisbane - Melbourne freights and return.[7][8] In 2012 Pacific National took delivery of six 93 class C44aci locomotives optimised for intermodal freight transport between Melbourne and Brisbane.[9][10] On 17 January 2013, Pacific National placed an order for another two (later expanded to five) 93 class locomotives.[11] In 2014, Pacific National extended the order of the 93 class to 9320 in which all 20 93 class are in service. The 93s are hardly now used on intermodal freight trains between Melbourne and Brisbane and to Perth , although occasionally, they haul The Overland from Melbourne to Adelaide, supplementing the NRs' roster. Now, most of the 93 Class are used on coal trains in the Hunter and Blue Mountains, occasionally visiting down south.[12][13]


No 2 end of QR National 6001 at North Dynon in September 2009

In July 2008 QR National subsidiary Australian Railroad Group ordered eight locomotives, with options for 16 more units. Intended for use on their Western Australian standard gauge lines, they were delivered between August and September 2009.[14] These units feature updated electronic control and engine management systems, and had their entry to service delayed by weight issues, with steel body side doors being replaced with lighter aluminium substitutes.[15] Since entering service they have been used on the Koolyanobbing to Esperance iron ore service, in the full fuel load (139 tonnes) configuration.[15]

In January 2009 QR National ordered twelve 6000 class units for use on coal and intermodal haulage.[16][17] The first was delivered in October 2009.[18] These units were to be fitted with electronically controlled pneumatic braking equipment, for operation with similarly fitted container wagons.[15][19]

QR National subsequently ordered an additional 12 locomotives specifically to operate its intermodal trains. The first nine were delivered in 2012 as the 6020 class with the final three diverted to Australian Railroad Group as the ACC class.[20][21]

Aurizon purchased two of the CF class from CFCL Australia and two new 6000 class units were built in 2017.[22]


In November 2009 Xstrata (rebranded Glencore in 2014) placed an order for 10 locomotives for their Hunter Valley coal operations.[23] This was followed by a further 20.[24] These were operated by Freightliner Australia.[25] Until Glencore sold its rail operations sector to Genesee & Wyoming Australia in October 2016.

CFCL Australia[edit]

In 2011 Chicago Freight Car Leasing Australia took delivery of six locomotives that were initially leased to Pacific National.[26][27][28] Another six were delivered in May and June 2013.[27] In October 2016 CF4401 and CF4409 were sold to Aurizon, more are expected to sold to Aurizon as lease arrangements expire.

Centennial Coal (Southern Shorthaul Railroad)[edit]

In 2012 Centennial Coal took delivery of seven locomotives for their coal operations.[29][30] These are operated by Southern Shorthaul Railroad.

Genesee & Wyoming Australia[edit]

Between April and June 2012 Genesee & Wyoming Australia took delivery of nine locomotives for use on Adelaide to Darwin services.[31][32] A further two were built but not delivered.[33] All 30 of the former Glencore XRN class are now owned by Genesee & Wyoming, and are progressively being re-painted into their colour scheme.

Mineral Resources[edit]

UGL Rail had four units on the production line for Consolidated Rail Leasing as the CRL class before the order was cancelled. They were completed and retained by UGL as lease units. They along with two units completed for but not delivered to Genesee & Wyoming Australia were sold to Mineral Resources as the MRL class. The first entered service in June 2014 haulling iron ore train from Mount Walton to Kwinana.[33][34]

Fletcher International Exports[edit]

In 2014, three were completed for Fletchers International Exports to haul the Fletcher's container service from Dubbo to Port Botany. Trains are run by Southern Shorthaul Railroad.

Crawfords Freightlines[edit]

Two locomotives have become the permanent motive power for the Sandgate to Port Botany container train operated by Crawfords Freightlines, replacing the leased C class locomotives as the motive power.[35][36]


Operator Class Number in class Road numbers Built Notes
Pacific National 92 15 9201-9215 2008-09 Principally used on Hunter Valley coal haulage, but on occasion, may be used on interstate freight services.
93 20 9301-9320 2012-13, 2016- 9318-20 ordered 2016[13]
Aurizon 6000 9 6001, 6003, 6004, 6006-6008, 6012, 6041, 6042 2009-2017 Originally 12 units, 6 converted to ACA class for Australian Railroad Group, 1 converted back in 2014, additional two delivered 2017[22]
6020 9 6021-6029 2012 Ordered to replace the older CLF/CLP class locomotives and 421 class on Aurizon's super-freighter services between Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane in 2012.

1 (6024) transferred to western Australia in October 2017 for use on local services

AC 8 AC4301–AC4308 2009 Ex Australian Railroad Group
ACA 1 ACA 6009 All 6 converted back to 6000 class for Aurizon's super-freighter services

1 converted back in October 2017

ACB 6 ACB4401-ACB4406 2011-12 Ex Australian Railroad Group, upgraded version of the AC class with a slightly higher power output
ACC 3 ACC6030-ACC6032 2013 Part of the 6020 class order
CF 2 CF4401, CF4409 2012-2013 Purchased from CFCL Australia October 2016[37]
Glencore XRN 30 XRN001-XRN030 2010-12 Owned by Genesee & Wyoming.
CFCL Australia CF 10 CF4401-CF4412 2012-13 Originally 12 units, CF4401 and CF4409 sold to Aurizon in October 2016.[37] All named after racehorses, CF4412 named Black Caviar, painted in black & pink livery
Centennial Coal CEY 7 CEY001-CEY007 2012 Owned by Centennial Coal, operated by Southern Shorthaul Railroad. Painted in the SSR livery, but with green replacing black for the stripe. Used on SSR coal train services to Newcastle and the Blue Mountains, and on occasion, to the Illawarra.
Genesee & Wyoming Australia GWU 9 GWU001-GWU009 2012 Chiefly used on the intermodal services between Adelaide and Darwin, but also on the Genesee & Wyoming Australia's smaller freight trains. GWU001-003 & GWU008-009 are currently used for their Hunter Valley coal operations.
Mineral Resources MRL 6 MRL001-MRL006 2013-14 Four ordered by Consolidated Rail Leasing, two by Genesee & Wyoming Australia. However, they have now been re-classed as MRL and entered service in Western Australia hauling iron ore trains
Fletchers International Exports FIE 3 FIE001-FIE003 2014 Three ordered by Southern Shorthaul Railroad to become the new motive power for the Fletcher's International Exports train between Dubbo and Port Botany, taking over from Qube Logistics' operation.
Crawfords Freightlines PHC 2 PHC001-PHC002 2016 Two ordered by Crawfords Freightlines to take over C class operation of the Crawfords Freightlines rail container service from Sandgate to Port Botany, entered service in March 2016.

Related development[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Graham Haywood (December 2008). "Pacific National 92 class locomotives for coal and intermodal" (PDF). Railway Technical Society of Australasia: NSW Chapter Newsletter. Retrieved 26 October 2009.[dead link]
  2. ^ a b c Graham Haywood (August 2008). "Pacific National 92 class locomotives for coal and intermodal" (PDF). Railway Technical Society of Australasia: SA Chapter Newsletter. Retrieved 26 October 2009.[dead link]
  3. ^ "New SCT locomotives". Railpage Australia Forums (Locomotives and Rolling Stock). Retrieved 5 September 2009.
  4. ^ "Downer EDI Rail's GT46C ACe locomotive hailed 'King of the Mountain'". AusRAIL. 17 July 2009. Retrieved 5 September 2009.
  5. ^ "Australia Wide Fleet List" Motive Power issue 96 November 2014 pages 64-71
  6. ^ Pacific National launches new Hunter Valley coal locomotives and wagons Archived 11 April 2013 at the Wayback Machine Pacific National 3 October 2008
  7. ^ Mark Carter (October 2008). "Loco boom for manufacturers" (PDF). Rail Horizons. Retrieved 26 October 2009.
  8. ^ 92 Class Vicsig
  9. ^ Pacific National boasts new UGL locomotives Australian Transport News 10 September 2012
  10. ^ Six new locomotives workhorses for Pacific National Archived 25 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine 12 September 2012
  11. ^ "UGL secures $170 million in new projects" (PDF). UGL Limited. 17 January 2013.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "UGL in $594 million deal with rail company Pacific National". The Australian. 29 June 2016.
  13. ^ a b Listing of additional 93 class locomotives on the ARTC network Australian Rail Track Corporation 13 December 2016
  14. ^ "Australian Rail Group has ordered eight 3.2MW diesel locomotives for use on Western Australian standard-gauge lines". International Railway Journal. July 2008. Retrieved 26 October 2009.
  15. ^ a b c "ARG AC class enter service". Motive Power: 34–35. October 2009.
  16. ^ "QR signs $70 million-plus locomotive purchase from United Group". QR Corporate - Media Releases. 18 January 2009. Retrieved 26 October 2009.
  17. ^ "United Group wins QR deal". International Railway Journal. February 2009. Retrieved 26 October 2009.
  18. ^ "Wongm's Rail Gallery - QRN 6001 in Melbourne". 1 October 2009. Archived from the original on 1 February 2013. Retrieved 26 October 2009.
  19. ^ 6000 Class Vicsig
  20. ^ 6020 Class Vicsig
  21. ^ ACC Class Vicsig
  22. ^ a b Addition of 2 new 6000 class locomotives Australian Rail Track Corporation 8 March 2017
  23. ^ UGL secures $108m in rail freight orders WA today 18 November 2009
  24. ^ XRN Class Vicsig
  25. ^ Freightliner and Xstrata sign Australian coal contract Railway Gazette International 25 September 2009
  26. ^ Australian thoroughbreds take to the rails Chicago Freight Car Leasing Australia 4 February 2012
  27. ^ a b CF Class Vicsig
  28. ^ Loco boom for manufacturers Archived 10 April 2013 at the Wayback Machine Rail Horizons October 2008
  29. ^ New Centennial fleet doubles haulage capacity Archived 25 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine 18 July 2012
  30. ^ CEY Class Vicsig
  31. ^ GWA boosts locomotive fleet Archived 22 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine 21 June 2012
  32. ^ GWU class Vicsig
  33. ^ a b "Mineral Resources buy their own Trains" Railway Digest May 2014 page 30
  34. ^ Annual Report for year ended 30 June 2014 Archived 23 February 2015 at the Wayback Machine Mineral Resources
  35. ^ From carrots to cargo The Singleton Argus 26 February 2016
  36. ^ Two new UGL Locomotives, Carrot and Spud, for Crawfords Freightlines UGL Rail 26 February 2016
  37. ^ a b Transfer of ownership of two CF class locomotives Australian Rail Track Corporation 24 October 2016

External links[edit]