WAGR L class (diesel)
L3117 at Forrestfield in December 2012
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. 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.
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.
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.
In 1994 following the purchase of GML10, Comalco's R1001 was sent to Clyde Engineering, Kelso for overhaul. Upon its return in August 1994 R1002 was sold to Westrail and placed in service as LW276.
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.
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. 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.
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.
|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|
|68-547||Mar 1968||L257||3102, L257||Wagiman||Australian Locolease||Stored, July 2015, Picton|
|68-549||Apr 1968||L259||LZ3103||Aboriginal Stockman||Aurizon||Rebuilt|
|68-556||Oct 1968||L266||L3113||Aurizon||Stored Avon Yard|
|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|
||R1001||L277||Australian Locolease||ex Comalco, Weipa. Stored, May 2013, South Dynon Locomotive Depot|
||R1002||LW276, LZ3120||Aurizon||Rebuilt as Westrail LW276. ex Comalco, Weipa. Stored Avon Yard.|
- "20 Years Ago" Railway Digest October 1987 page 332
- Oberg, Leon (2010). Locomotives of Australia 1850s-2010s. Kenthurst: Rosenberg Publishing. pp. 346–348. ISBN 9781921719011.
- "Locomotives and Traffic" Railway Digest January 1985 page 12
- Railway Digest July 1984 page 247
- Railway Digest September 1994 page 8
- "The L Class Locomotives of WA" Railway Digest August 2000 page 18
- L Class (WAGR) Railpage
- LQ Class Railpage
- LZ Class Railpage
- L Class Vicsig
- "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.
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