WAGR S class

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WAGR S class
Preserved S549 Greenmount at Harvey following restoration to working condition
Type and origin
Power typeSteam
DesignerFrederick Mills
BuilderMidland Railway Workshops
Build date1943-1947
Total produced10
 • Whyte4-8-2
Gauge1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Total weight119 long tons 6 cwt (267,200 lb or 121.2 t)
Fuel typeCoal
Fuel capacity7 long tons 0 cwt (15,700 lb or 7.1 t)/
9 long tons 0 cwt (20,200 lb or 9.1 t)
Water cap.5,000 and 3,500 imp gal (23,000 and 16,000 L; 6,000 and 4,200 US gal)
 • Grate area40 sq ft (3.7 m2)
Boiler pressure200 lbf/in2 (1,379 kPa)
Cylinder size19 in × 24 in (483 mm × 610 mm)
Loco brakeSteam (locomotive)
Vacuum (tender)
Performance figures
Tractive effort30,685 lbf (136.49 kN)
OperatorsWestern Australian Government Railways
PreservedS542, S547, S549
Disposition3 preserved, 7 scrapped

The WAGR S class was a class of 4-8-2 steam locomotives built by the Midland Railway Workshops between 1943 and 1947 and operated by the Western Australian Government Railways (WAGR).

Details of design[edit]

The S class locomotives were built with a 4-8-2 wheel arrangement, a configuration commonly used in Australia for heavy goods locomotives, smaller driving wheels giving increased tractive effort at the cost of reduced speed.



In the 1920s and 1930s the West Australian rail system was thoroughly run down. The vast majority of locomotives were well past their useful service life and many were badly in need of repairs. The P and Pr classes had helped alleviate pressure on aging passenger locomotives when introduced in 1924 and 1938 respectively, but more powerful machines were needed with an order for 10 authorised.

Operational history[edit]

The first three were built in 1943, with the remaining seven deferred while Midland Railway Workshops completed its order for 10 Australian Standard Garratts for the Commonwealth Land Transport Board. A further two were completed in 1945, with the remaining five deferred again until 1947 while the Dm and Dd classes were built.[1]

The class was initially intended for service on both passenger and goods services on the Eastern Goldfields Railway between Perth and Kalgoorlie, though following World War II it worked primarily on the South Western Railway. After suffering from a range of early problems (which led to controversy involving the designer Frederick Mills), the class became highly popular and was very successful.[2][3][4]

The locomotives were given running-board nameplates and were named after Western Australian mountains, following the tradition established five years earlier with the Pr class, which were named after Western Australian rivers.[1] The locomotives were fitted with steam brakes, the tenders with vacuum brakes. All were fitted with semi-streamlining cowling over the entire length of their tops although this was later removed. The tenders were rebuilt reducing their coal capacity from nine to seven tonnes while increasing their water capacity from 15,900 to 22,700 litres.[1][4]

Most were condemned in 1971, with S549 operating the last WAGR steam hauled freight service on 24 December 1971.[5]


Three have been preserved:[4][5][6]

Class list[edit]

The numbers, names and periods in service of each member of the S class were as follows:[8]

Name In service Withdrawn Notes
541 476 Bruce 11 February 1943 17 June 1971 Renumbered 6 October 1945
542 477 Bakewell 26 June 1943 17 June 1971 Renumbered 21 September 1945, large tender, plinthed at East Perth Terminal, with tender from 547[9]
543 478 Brockman 17 September 1943 17 June 1971 Renumbered 9 October 1945, large tender
544 Hallowell 26 October 1945 17 June 1971 Large tender
545 Dale 15 December 1945 17 June 1971 Large tender
546 Egerton 5 July 1947 17 June 1971
547 Lindsay 9 August 1947 17 June 1971 Large tender. Preserved at Bellarine Railway, Victoria, with tender from 542[10]
548 Gardner 15 September 1947 17 June 1971
549 Greenmount 9 October 1947 14 August 1972 Currently being overhauled for the Wheatbelt Heritage Rail project.
550 Hardie 10 November 1947 17 June 1971


The S class designation was previously used for the S class locomotives that were withdrawn in 1916. It was reused from 1998 when the Westrail S class diesel locomotives entered service.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c Gunzburg 1984, p. 117.
  2. ^ Finlayson, Don (1986). Steam Around Perth. Perth: Australian Railway Historical Society WA Division. p. 50. ISBN 0959969047.
  3. ^ Turner, Jim (1997). Australian Steam Locomotives 1896-1958. Kenthurst: Kangaroo Press. p. 126. ISBN 086417778X.
  4. ^ a b c Oberg, Leon (2010). Locomotives of Australia 1850s-2010. Dural: Rosenberg Publishing. pp. 223–224. ISBN 9781921719011.
  5. ^ a b Whiteford, David; De Bruin, Charles; Watson, Lindsay; Watson, Neville (1983). Western Australian Preserved Locomotives. Elizabeth: Railmac Publications. p. 16. ISBN 0 949817 19 8.
  6. ^ McNicol, Steve (1994). WAGR Steam Locomotives in Preservation. Elizabeth: Railmac Publications. ISBN 9780949817976.
  7. ^ Locomotives Archived 2017-05-25 at the Wayback Machine Bellarine Railway
  8. ^ Gunzburg 1984, p. 119.
  9. ^ East Perth Bakewell Locomotive Remediation Public Transport Authority
  10. ^ S547 Australian Steam


  • Gunzburg, Adrian (1968). WAGR Locomotives 1940–1968. Perth: Australian Railway Historical Society (Western Australian Division). pp. 7–9, 47. OCLC 219836193.
  • Gunzburg, Adrian (1984). A History of WAGR Steam Locomotives. Perth: Australian Railway Historical Society (Western Australian Division). ISBN 0959969039.

External links[edit]

Media related to WAGR S class at Wikimedia Commons