WAGR L class (diesel)

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Western Australian Government Railways L class
L3117 at Forrestfield in December 2012
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-electric
Builder Clyde Engineering
Granville: L251-L273
Eagle Farm: L274-L277
Model Electro Motive Diesel GT26CW
Build date 1967-73
Total produced 27
AAR wheel arr C-C
UIC class Co-Co, Co′Co′
Gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Length 19.36 m (63 ft 6 in)
Axle load 22.5 t (22.1 long tons; 24.8 short tons)
Loco weight 137 t (135 long tons; 151 short tons)
Fuel type Diesel
Prime mover Electro Motive Diesel 16-645E3
Aspiration Turbocharged
Generator Electro Motive Diesel AR10A4
Traction motors Electro Motive Diesel D77
Performance figures
Maximum speed 137 km/h (85 mph)
Power output 2,240 kW (3,000 hp)
Tractive effort 298 kN (67,000 lbf)
Operators Western Australian Government Railways
Number in class 27
Numbers L251–L277
First run October 1967
Current owner Aurizon
Australian Locolease
Disposition 4 in service, 19 stored, 4 scrapped

The L Class are a class of diesel locomotives built by Clyde Engineering, Granville and Eagle Farm for the Western Australian Government Railways between 1967 and 1973.


With the 657-kilometre (408 mi) Eastern Goldfields Railway between Perth and Kalgoorlie being converted to standard gauge, the Western Australian Government Railways started to take delivery of 23 Electro Motive Diesel GT26CW locomotives from Clyde Engineering in October 1967.[1] The design was based on the Electro-Motive Diesel EMD SD40 reduced in height to fit within the Australian loading gauge. At the time they were comfortably the largest and heaviest diesel locomotive operated by a government operator.[2]

All were delivered from Sydney via Melbourne and Adelaide, necessitating them being placed on broad gauge bogies for the journey between Dynon and Port Pirie.[2]

They entered service hauling iron ore trains in Koolyanobbing and the Indian Pacific. However they were quickly removed from passenger trains after it was realised the damage they could cause to the track at higher speeds.[2]

In 1972 Comalco purchased two locomotives of the same design for use on its 19.5-kilometre (12.1 mi) line at its bauxite mine in Weipa. These were built with an extra 11 tonnes (11 long tons; 12 short tons) of ballast for increased adhesion. In 1973 the Western Australian Government Railways took delivery of a further two, funded by Western Mining Corporation as part of the building of a nickel mine at Mount Windarra. All four were built by Clyde Engineering's Eagle Farm factory.[2]

In 1984 three were leased to V/Line to haul services on the standard gauge Melbourne to Albury line.[3] One even operated through to Sydney in May 1984.[4]

In 1994 following the purchase of GML10, Comalco's R1001 was sent to Clyde Engineering, Kelso for overhaul.[5] Upon its return in August 1994 R1002 was sold to Westrail and placed in service as LW276.[2]

Following the delivery of the Q class locomotives in 1997 many were withdrawn with those remaining in service relegated to trailing locomotive status.[6]

In July 1998, seven were sold to Australian Transport Network. After being overhauled by National Railway Equipment Company, Whyalla, four were placed in service by ATN Access hauling grain trains in southern New South Wales and Victoria. Three were included in the sale of Australian Transport Network to Pacific National in February 2004 while the fourth along with the three unused examples along with one of the operational units were sold to Rail Technical Services, Dynon who resold them to QR National subsidiaries Interail and Australian Railroad Group for use in New South Wales.[2]

L266 at Kalgoorlie in January 2005

The remainder were included in the sale of Westrail to Australian Railroad Group in December 2000. All were included in the sale of Australian Railroad Group's Western Australian operations to QR National in June 2006.

All of the locomotives now under the control of Aurizon have been renumbered as the 3100 class.[7][8][9][10] Those fitted with Q-Tron traction control have had the LQ prefix applied, those with ZTR traction control LZ. Some were transferred to New South Wales to haul trains from the Manildra Group's flour mills at Gunnedah, Manildra and Narrandera to Bomaderry from 2003 until 2008.[2]

In 2011 Comalco sold R1001 to Australian Locolease who placed it in service as L277 and leased it to El Zorro to operate grains trains in Victoria.

In 2015 a number of Aurizon locomotives were sold to Apex Industrial for export to South Africa. 3102 was not exported: it was resold to Australian Locolease in September 2015 and renumbered L257.

Models of the L class have been produced in HO scale by two companies. Haskell and SRM.

Class list[edit]

As at August 2015, 4 remain in service with Aurizon in Western Australia, 19 are in storage and 4 have been scrapped.[11]

In service Original number Renumbered Name Owner Notes
67-541 Oct 1967 L251 - Thunderbird 1 Pacific National Scrapped, May 2015, Werris Creek
67-542 Nov 1967 L252 3101 Kurra Kurraka Aurizon Rebuilt, Stored Goulburn
67-543 Dec 1967 L253 LZ3119 Aurizon Rebuilt, Stored Avon Yard
67-544 Jan 1968 L254 - Enterprise NCC 1701 Pacific National Stored Cardiff Locomotive Workshops
67-545 Feb 1968 L255 LZ3105 Aurizon Rebuilt, Stored Avon Yard
67-546 Mar 1968 L256 3106 Aurizon Rebuilt
68-547 Mar 1968 L257 3102, L257 Wagiman Australian Locolease Stored, July 2015, Picton
68-548 Mar 1968 L258 3107 Aurizon Rebuilt
68-549 Apr 1968 L259 LZ3103 Aboriginal Stockman Aurizon Rebuilt
68-550 May 1968 L260 L3108 Aurizon
68-551 Aug 1968 L261 LZ3109 Aurizon Rebuilt
68-552 Aug 1968 L262 L3110 Aurizon
68-553 Oct 1968 L263 3111 Aurizon Rebuilt
68-554 Oct 1968 L264 LZ3112 Aurizon
68-555 Oct 1968 L265 LQ3121 Shoalhaven Aurizon
68-556 Oct 1968 L266 L3113 Aurizon Stored Avon Yard
68-557 Nov 1968 L267 LZ3114 Aurizon Rebuilt
68-617 Dec 1968 L268 L3115 Aurizon
68-618 Jan 1969 L269 - Westrail Withdrawn, May 1995. Scrapped, Feb 1996.
68-619 Mar 1969 L270 - Red Dwarf Pacific National Scrapped, May 2015, Werris Creek
69-620 Apr 1969 L271 LQ3122 John Douglas Kerr - Historian Aurizon Stored Goulburn
69-621 May 1969 L272 L3116 Aurizon Stored Avon Yard
69-622 Jun 1969 L273 3104 Purnu Aurizon Stored
72-752 Jan 1972
R1001 L277 Australian Locolease ex Comalco, Weipa. Stored, May 2013, South Dynon Locomotive Depot
72-753 Jan 1972
R1002 LW276, LZ3120 Aurizon Rebuilt as Westrail LW276. ex Comalco, Weipa. Stored Avon Yard.
73-779 Sep 1973 L274 3117 Aurizon Rebuilt
73-780 Oct 1973 L275 L3118 Aurizon


  1. ^ "20 Years Ago" Railway Digest October 1987 page 332
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Oberg, Leon (2010). Locomotives of Australia 1850s-2010s. Kenthurst: Rosenberg Publishing. pp. 346–348. ISBN 9781921719011. 
  3. ^ "Locomotives and Traffic" Railway Digest January 1985 page 12
  4. ^ Railway Digest July 1984 page 247
  5. ^ Railway Digest September 1994 page 8
  6. ^ "The L Class Locomotives of WA" Railway Digest August 2000 page 18
  7. ^ L Class (WAGR) Railpage
  8. ^ LQ Class Railpage
  9. ^ LZ Class Railpage
  10. ^ L Class Vicsig
  11. ^ "Australia Wide Fleet List" Motive Power issue 96 November 2014 pages 65, 69
  • Gunzburg, Adrian (1968). WAGR Locomotives 1940–1968. Perth: Australian Railway Historical Society (Western Australian Division). pp. 45–46, 50. OCLC 219836193. 

External links[edit]

Media related to WAGR L class (diesel) at Wikimedia Commons