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Victorian Railways

I now reside in Victoria, so this section is likely to see the most recent pictures of railway action. While I grew up in Victoria, I left the state when I was 10, and didn't have a camera at that time. We lived just 100 yards (pre metric) from a level crossing on the Lilydale line, which then saw goods travelling to Healesville and Warburton, so there were often K and J classes puffing past (often at hours past a boy's bedtime!) I also remember locos like the X and C classes seen at the more important depots, but unfortunately never got any piccies of them in action (or otherwise).

An email from Don Bruce follows up on these comments:

Hi John

I discovered your web site by accident today and was most interested in your comment that you lived near the Lilydale line when you were a child and observed goods trains bound for Healesville and Warburton. I was born and bred in Box Hill and from the time I was just a small child took a great deal of interest in the the locos, consists and infrastructure that was the norm in those days. In the early fifties it was quite common to see steam locos (occasionally two at a time) in the Box Hill yard. But my greatest fascination was reserved for the passenger consists of the through trains to Healesville and Warburton which passed through Box Hill. As a small child I used to see them passing through the Box Hill railway gates when my mother and father were doing their weekly shopping. They consisted of country stock hauled by two electric motors (usually dog box, but I am sure I once saw a pair of taits hauling one), with the train splitting in two at Lilydale - one half to Healesville and the other to Warburton. Unfortunately by the time I was old enough to start getting around by myself and start commuting to work in the city each day these trains had ceased running (I started work in 1961 and they ceased in 1957) and I never had the chance to travel on them in regular service. I did manage to travel on a handful of specials they ran during holiday periods for a short time after that and that was exciting. A couple of cousins took some movie footage at the time which I still have, but I still regret not having been able to find any photos or information about them when they were in regular service. From what you have already said on your site I doubt that you would have any photos but I was wondering if you also saw these particular trains and if there is anything you can tell me about them. I also wondered if there is anyone you know who might be able to provide anything further.

Thank you for creating such an interesting site. I will be spending a good deal more time in the near future enjoying it to the full.

All the best to you and yours for the new year.

Regards, Don Bruce

In response to Don's comments, I can add that I do recall seeing the occasional special train passing through Ringwood East (that memory is reinforced by the fact that the trains were full of passengers all waving and shouting!), but of the consist itself, I do not recall.

The Victorian Railways use a letter classification, with locomotives being identified by their class letter and road number. Minor modifications to a class resulted in suffixes, such as the D3 class derived from the D class. Because they have recycled class numbers from the steam to diesel era, this catalog is split into steam and diesel subsections, although these are not directly labelled as such.

Miscellaneous Victorian Railways Items

These are some general scenes around the Victorian system, mostly of stations and track work, but some fun bits, too!

A2 Class Ten Wheeler 4-6-0

The Victorian Railways could not make up their minds about these locomotives: some had Walschart's valve gear, some Stephenson's; some had smoke deflectors, some not; and some had Boxpok wheels, and some had plain spoked.

C Class Consolidation 2-8-0

There were 26 locomotives of this class built. In 1918 when it first entered service, C-1 was the most powerful locomotive in Australia. They were used on both express goods and passenger services, but lack of boiler capacity meant that they were among the first casualties of dieselisation. Only C10 has been preserved.

D3 Class Ten Wheeler 4-6-0

The D3 class started out life as the DD class, 261 of which were built from 1902 to 1921. The original saturated design was found to have some shortcomings, so commencing in 1914, various members of the class were converted to superheated design. In 1929, renumbering and reclassification took place, with the saturated locos being known as the D1 class, and the superheated locos the D2 class.

Further alterations in 1929 took place, with 94 of the D2 class being further rebuilt with larger boilers, and these became the D3 class. They were remarkably versatile locos, being used not only for shunting and light branch line work, but also for the occasional rostered main duty as well. They were capable of hard work, and speeds up to 80mph, and were quite popular with crews.

Loco DD980 was chosen to become the Commissioner's Loco, used for inspection touring of the Victorian rail network by the Railways Commissioner from 1916 onwards. This loco was rebuilt and renumbered to D3-639 in 1929, and was scrapped in 1958. However, the concept was too popular to be scrapped, and sister loco 658 was restored and renumbered as the second D3-639 in the early 60s, and today, this loco is retained for preservation running.

E Class 2-4-2T

The E class were originally introduced to haul Melbourne's suburban trains from 1890, and were built by Phoenix at Ballarat and Munro and Co in Melbourne. With electrification of the suburban network in the 1920s, they were relegated to shunting duties, apart from 20 which were sold to the SAR (classified there as the M class). They underwent extensive design modifications as their usage patterns changed: E236 is shown here as a 2-4-2T, while the other surving examples are both 0-6-0Ts. There are three surviving examples: 506 (now numbered as 236), 369 (both at ARHS Museum), and 371 (Newport shunter, now at Victorian Goldfields Railway).

H Class Northern 4-8-4

Three engines of this class were originally ordered, but due to the financial exigencies of World War II, only one was built. With a working weight of 260 tons, they were only slightly lighter than the NSW AD60 Garratts (264 tons), and had a tractive effort of 55,000 lbs, just 4,000 lbs less than the Garratts (as originally built).

J Class Consolidation 2-8-0

The J class were a development of the earlier K class , and 60 of these locos were built by Vulcan and entered service during 1954. An unusual feature was that they built for easy conversion from 5'3" broad gauge to 4'8.5" standard gauge, simply by reversing the wheel centres. The last loco in the class, J559, had the dubious distinction of being the last steam locomotive to enter VR service.

K Class Consolidation 2-8-0

The K class was initially a bit of an experiment. An initial 10 were designed by the VR CME Alfred Smith in 1919, and built by Newport Workshops. They proved so successful that in 1940 when further motive power was required, an additional 43 were built. These later ones received some modifications, and the final seven had Boxpok wheels, seen in these photos on K190.

R Class Hudson 4-6-4

The R class were in fact the fourth class of Victorian locomotive to be so labelled, and were orginally planned as Pacific (4-6-2) locomotives, but were altered to a Hudson (4-6-4) in a bid to reduce axle weight. The locomotives were designed and built over a protracted period of 10 years from first design sketches in 1943 to delivery of the final locos in 1953. Several engineers had a part in its design including Rolling Stock Engineer T D Doyle, CME A C Alston, and Boiler Engineer W A Rogerson.

Originally planned to be built by the Newport Workshops, an order for 20 units was started in 1946, only to be cancelled in Jan 1950, due to length delays and setbacks in the post-war reconstruction period. The 70 units finally built were all constructed by the North British Locomotive Company of Glasgow, and forwarded by ship over the period May 1951 to Aug 1953.

In service, the R class were good engines that arrived too late. While they were introduced to Overland working in Sep 1951, they lasted only 13 months in that service, and were replaced on all express main-line passenger service by the new B class diesel electrics by Mar 1953, before the last of the class had even been delivered. Consequently, most of the class spent most of their useful working lines in goods service.

Scrapping of the class started as little as ten years into the life of some engines. Apart from the preserved locos, they were all gone by 1970, and the last to be scrapped was R730 on 13 Oct 1969.

7 of the class have been preserved. 704 (notable as the engine which was displayed at the Festival of Britain in 1951) is statically preserved at the Williamstown Railway Museum, but the others all may see active service. At the time of writing, R707, R711, R761 and R766 are operational, while R700 and R753 are in storage.

X Class Mikado 2-8-2

The X class were built between 1929 to 1947, and were a development of the earlier C class. 29 units were built, and were designed to be converted to standard gauge, an idea that was a popular political football of the time. They eliminated double heading of goods trains, although they were demanding engines to drive.

As they were built as main-line goods locos, the arrival of diesels meant the death knell for them, and all were scrapped by 1961, save for X36 seen here preserved at Williamstown Railway Museum.

A Class Co-Co diesel electric

B Class Co-Co diesel electric

The B class were the Victorian Railways' first diesels, and were built by Clyde Engineering in Sydney. In 1952, the delivery run of the class leader, B60, made history when it hauled a goods train over the standard gauge from Sydney to Wondonga, where it was bogie exchanged for the run to Melbourne. This was the first time in Australia that a single engine had worked over multiple gauges.

The B class displaced the R class from The Overland and the S class from The Spirit of Progress, the chief VR express passenger trains, and led directly to the withdrawal of the H class and S class steam locomotives.

C Class Co-Co diesel electric

E class electric

These locos were built by the Victorian Railways to handle suburban goods traffic, and the occasional shunting of passenger stock. I recall seeing these locos at places like Box Hill goods yard, on my way by "red rattler" train between East Ringwood (my parents' home) and Glenferrie (my grandparents' home) at weekends. The phrase that stuck in my young impressionable mind from these electrified suburban goods yards was "DANGER! Contact with the overhead wiring will lead to instant death!

Unfortunately, the Box Hill goods yard is no more, and indeed, all suburban goods yards have disappeared, along with the rather ungainly looking but very utilitarian E class.

G Class Co-Co diesel electric

L class Co-Co electric

These locos were built to haul brown coal traffic over the 128 kms of Gippsland line between Morwell and Melbourne. They were built by English Electric, and 25 units were in service by August 1954. They were rated at 2400 hp.

With the demise of the coal traffic due to the advent of natural gas, they have all been withdrawn, and the electrification to Gippsland dismantled beyond Pakenham.

N Class Co-Co diesel electric

P Class Bo-Bo diesel electric

The P class were the Victorian Railways ...

S Class Co-Co diesel electric

The S class were the Victorian Railways equivalent of the NSW 42 class, itself a development from the original Commonwealth Railways GM class. They are rated at 1800 horsepower, with a total weight of 114 tons, being slightly lighter than the NSW units. The NSW units were also downrated in pwer, although they had the same GM EMD power unit.

T Class Bo-Bo diesel electric

The T class were introduced from 1955, and forced the withdrawal of steam locomotives in greater numbers. They were go anywhere mixed traffic locos, although as original delivered, suffered from lack of driving controls in the reverese direction, necessitating turning on turntables. The original units were delivered with footplate level cabs, but subsequent units had a raised cab that took the cab profile above the hood line. Later units were delivered with lower profile noses, and some have been rebuilt in this form.

Y Class Bo-Bo diesel electric

I originally had these down as diesel hydraulic, I don't know why, perhaps I just jumped to that conclusion. Derek Morton wrote to put me right: "the Y class are disel electric and use refurbished Tait power car bogies". Railpage Y class states:

The Y class could be found on branch lines all around Victoria, as well as being used for shunting at many locations. Some of the class can be found as pilots at Dynon or Newport, or shunting carriages at Spencer Street. A Y class has been used by APM at Maryvale and Traralgon.

An interesting feature about this class is that they used GE traction motors recycled from early 'Dogbox' electric suburban rollingstock. As well, some of the first batch had their entire bogies recycled from the 'Doggies'. Most now see use as shunters and pilots.

Electric Passenger Cars

Electric passenger trains (aka EMUs or Electric Multiple Units) of the Melbourne suburban system

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