Victorian Railways S class (diesel)

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Victorian Railways S class
Preserved S303 at the Seymour Railway Heritage Centre in October 2007
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-electric
Builder Clyde Engineering, Granville
Model Electro-Motive Diesel F7
Build date 1957-1961
Total produced 18
UIC classification Co-Co
Gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in),
1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in)
Length 18.72 metres (61 ft 5 in)
Locomotive weight 116 tonnes (114 long tons; 128 short tons)
Fuel type Diesel
Prime mover Electro-Motive Diesel 16-567C
Engine type V16
Generator Electro-Motive Diesel D12/D22
Traction motors Electro-Motive Diesel D27/D37/D47
Cylinders 16
Performance figures
Maximum speed 133 km/h (83 mph)
Power output 1,350 kW (1,810 hp)
Operator(s) Victorian Railways
Number in class 18
Number(s) S300-S317
First run 1957
Preserved S303, S308, S310, S313
Current owner CFCL Australia
Pacific National
Southern Shorthaul Railroad
Disposition 6 in service, 4 preserved, 2 stored, 6 scrapped

The S class are a class of diesel locomotives built by Clyde Engineering, Granville for the Victorian Railways between 1957 and 1961.


West Coast Railway liveried S302 in 2001
Pacific National liveried S307 at Newport Workshops in March 2008

The S class was based on the Electro-Motive Diesel F7 design and were very similar to the GM12 class then being built by Clyde Engineering for the Commonwealth Railways. They were mechanically similar to the 1952 built double ended B class.

The first order for 10 locomotives, were progressively delivered between August 1957 and February 1958. The first four took the names and numbers of the recently scrapped S class steam locomotives, with all being named after prominent Victorians. An additional eight locomotives were ordered for use on the new North East standard gauge line and delivered between November 1960 and December 1961.[1][2]

The class were initially used on express passenger trains such as the Intercapital Daylight, Southern Aurora, Spirit of Progress and The Overland, but were also used on fast freights. On the broad gauge they often operated in pairs, while on the standard gauge they usually ran solo.[3] A second 'hostlers' cab was provided at the number two end, but was only used around depots, or to haul empty carriages short distances.[3]

In February 1969 two were destroyed in the Violet Town railway disaster, and were deemed uneconomical to repair and scrapped.[4] In January 1967 S317 was badly damaged in a head on collision with X33 south of Broadford Loop and was returned to Clyde Engineering for rebuilding.[1] In June 1982 S317 was again involved in a fatal accident when it ran into the rear of the Spirit of Progress at Barnawartha, killing the crew.[3]

As more modern locomotives were introduced, those on the standard gauge moved to the broad gauge.[4][5] Examples would periodically appear on the standard gauge.

Withdrawals commenced in the May 1987. In February 1994 four were sold to West Coast Railway for use on their Melbourne to Warrnambool passenger service.[6] By April 1999 only four remained in the V/Line fleet and even these were only used during periods of high demand.[7] A few have been preserved.

Privatisation brought an upturn in the class' fortunes with some overhauled and as at May 2014 remain in service with CFCL Australia, Pacific National, RailPower and Southern Shorthaul Railroad.[8][9]

Fleet status[edit]

Locomotive Serial no Name Entered service Withdrawn Scrapped Status Owner
First Order
S300 57-164 Matthew Flinders 21 Aug 1957 In service CFCL Australia
S301 57-165 Sir Thomas Mitchell 4 Sep 1957 Stored Pacific National
S302 57-166 Edward Henty 18 Sep 1957 In service Southern Shorthaul Railroad
S303 57-167 C J La Trobe 30 Sep 1957 Jul 1988 Preserved - Operational Seymour Railway Heritage Centre
S304 57-168 George Bass 15 Oct 1957 May 1987 Mar 1992 Scrapped
S305 57-169 Hamilton Hume 4 Nov 1957 2 Dec 1985 Feb 1991 Scrapped
S306 57-170 John Batman 25 Nov 1957 Stored Pacific National
S307 57-171 John Pascoe Fawkner 10 Dec 1957 In service Pacific National
S308 58-179 Sir Redmond Barry 20 Jan 1958 25 Jul 1988 Preserved - Static Australian Railway Historical Society
S309 58-182 William Lonsdale 24 Feb 1958 19 Jul 1988 1996 Scrapped
Second Order
S310 60-227 George Higinbotham 25 Nov 1960 Under Overhaul Seymour Railway Heritage Centre
S311 60-228 Sir Ferdinand von Mueller 16 Nov 1960 In service CFCL Australia
S312 60-229 Peter Lalor 27 Jan 1961 In service RailPower
S313 61-230 Alfred Deakin 24 Feb 1961 14 Dec 1994 Preserved - Operational Steamrail Victoria
S314 61-231 Sir John O'Shanassy 20 Apr 1961 7 Feb 1969 7 Feb 1969 Scrapped destroyed Violet Town railway disaster
S315 61-238 Sir Charles Gavan Duffy 16 Oct 1961 23 Aug 1988 Apr 1992 Scrapped
S316 61-239 Sir Andrew Clarke 10 Nov 1961 7 Feb 1969 7 Feb 1969 Scrapped destroyed Violet Town railway disaster
S317 61-240 Sir John Monash 7 Dec 1961 In service Southern Shorthaul Railroad


  1. ^ a b Ian Weickhardt (March–April 1979). "VR 'S' class diesel electric locomotive". Australian Model Railway Magazine: 34–36. 
  2. ^ Oberg, Leon (1984). Locomotives of Australia 1850s - 1980s. Frenchs Forest: Reed Books. pp. 196–197. ISBN 0 730100 05 7. 
  3. ^ a b c S class diesel electric locomotives Mark Bau's VR website
  4. ^ a b Railmac Publications (1992). Australian Fleetbooks: V/Line locomotives. Kitchner Press. ISBN 0-949817-76-7. 
  5. ^ Oberg, Leon (1980). Diesel Locomotives of Australia. Sydney: AH & AW Reed. p. 286. ISBN 0 589 50211 5. 
  6. ^ Peter Attenborough (February 2004). "West Coast Railway". Australian Model Railway Magazine: 32–34. 
  7. ^ "The Last of the Bulldogs" Railway Digest April 1999 page 40
  8. ^ S Class Railpage
  9. ^ S Class Vicsig

Further reading[edit]

  • Peter Bermingham (1995). The A7 era : the technical, pictorial and evolutionary history of the Victorian Railway's S Class diesel-electric locomotive. Horsepower Histories. ISBN 0-646-25614-9. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Victorian Railways S class diesel locomotives at Wikimedia Commons