ALCOs Down Under

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Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
I saw a photo in the photo gallery dated 2009 of an Australian built ALCO cab unit leading a freight. The engine looked like an American ALCO FA body mounted over three axle trucks from an American ALCO PA. It was a very good looking engine and quite an amazing find since ALCO cab units have not run in regular service in North America for several decades.

Unfortunately I cannot retrieve the photo. Do any members in Oz have photos of these units and can you tell us something about them? Are they still in regular service?
G'day Bill,
There were a total of 137 of the DL500B built in Australia by A E Goodwin from 1955. 100 of these being the NSWR 44 class, the others being the 930 class of the SAR.
Yes, some still exist today in revenue service, 7 units, plus 13 units are preserved by various societies. They were the first use of the Alco 251B motor in Australia. Except for the first six built for the SAR (which were single cab), all others have two cabs. They rode very well and performed very well. And, best of all, they performed like Alcos, heaps of black exhaust smoke from turbo lag.
Most crews actually preferred the number two blunt end cab as this did not have the contactor noise heard in the number one end streamlined cab. And, when a ground relay occurred, it was like a shotgun blast.
G'day Bill,
Excluding the iron ore Pilbara region of WA, NSW had the most aussie alcos for a state railway. The first alcos in NSW were the RSC3 MLW 40 class units imported from Canada.
Those serving until the late 1960s and then utilized as parts to create the 442 class DL500G. Two of the 40 class are preserved. Six 43 class with the Alco 244H motor were built from 1956, these built by Goninan for the NSWR. As mentioned 100 units of the 44 class DL500B were built by A E Goodwin for the NSWR. 40 units of the 45 class hood unit DL541, 165 units of the 48 class 6 cylinder 950 hp DL531, and 40 units of the "Jumbo" 442 class DL500G, the 50 units of the 80 class CE615 built by Comeng comprised the NSWR Alco fleet. One of the 45 class continues in revenue service today, a couple are preserved. Nine of the 442 class continue today, the remainder of the class rebuilt as GE units. Quite a few of the 48 class continue in service today. 14 of the 80 class also continue in service.
G'day Bill,
Independent Rail Australia are today part of Qube. The IRA was originally Lachlan Valley Rail Freight. The Lachlan Valley Railway commenced as a preservation society, and continue to operate in some facets today. Lachlan Alco Locomotive Group being an offshoot of such. Hunter Valley Railway Trust also possess a couple of the 44 class. Sadly, appearance of 44 class today is rare, especially as lead unit. If you have any questions regarding the various Alco classes that work or continue to operate down-under, don't hesitate to ask. I had bounced around in the cabs of many aussie alcos for some years. And, have always preferred them to EMD units.
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