English Electric Growl 

Classes: A class

A class

© English Electric Growl / Gary Roberts

Western Australia

Looking east towards the passing siding, empty trains to the mines entered the siding and reversed out once the loaded train had passed, A class no. 7 & 8, wait for the next arrival in September 1990

© Gary Roberts

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  • Overview
  • Status
  • Equipment
  • Specifications
  • History
  • Photographs
1966-1972, 1986¹
English Electric Australia, Rocklea Works, Brisbane, Queensland.
Running Numbers
Number Built
5 + 2¹

Reclassified by BHP in NSW to D46(K) class


2 WAGR K class locos became A class members, 1 in 1968 and 1 in 1986.
Locomotive Status
English Electric 12CSVT MKII
Main Generator
English Electric 822/16J
Auxiliary Generator
English Electric 755
Traction Motors
English Electric 538-1A x 6
Locomotive Brakes
Train Brakes
Wheel Arrangement
Imperial Metric
 4 ft 8½ in
 1435 mm
Minimum Curve  
 330 ft 0 in
 100584 mm
 57 ft 10½ in
 17640 mm
 9 ft 6 in
 2896 mm
 13 ft 8¼ in
 4172 mm
 108 tons
 109.8 tonnes
Fuel Capacity  
 1500 Gallons
 6818 litres
Power Rating  
 1950 / 1795 HP
 1454 / 1339 kW
Tractive Effort (Start)  
 67,000 lbs
 298 kN
Tractive Effort (Cont)  
 50,500 lbs at 12 mph
 225 kN at 19 km/h
 80 mph
 128 km/h

Goldsworthy Mining Limited[GML] ordered 3 locomotives for use on their private line that operated between Shay Gap and Port Hedland. These became known as the 'A' class and were built to the same specifications as the early batch of K Class delivered to Western Australian Government Railways[WAGR]. The first member of the A Class, No. 3, arrived late in 1966 from Rocklea, travelling to Western Australia by rail in the company of WAGR K, K206. After trials on the GML lines, it was joined by No's 4 and 5 in March 1967, two months after the 'last' K had been delivered to WAGR.

Early in 1968, two locomotives of the Goldsworthy fleet were involved in an accident near Finucane Island, No.3 and No.1 were derailed suffering serious damage. No.3 was out of service for over 5 months while it was rebuilt by the staff of GML. Only the Cab, frame and bogies remained from the original loco, all other parts were supplied new by English Electric at Rocklea.

GML were now suffering a motive power shortage with two locos sidelined, to resolve this shortage an agreement was made between GML and WAGR, for WAGR to supply one of their operational K class locomotives of the first batch in return for GML ordering a replacement loco of the same design to series 2 specifications from English Electric. K202 moved north in March 1968 and became No. 6, with the new loco, K210 being delivered to WAGR from EE a year later, in March 1969.

Another two locomotives were ordered by GML in 1971, again built to the original design specifications of their previous deliveries. No.7 and No.8 arrived in Western Australia in March 1972, this time by boat, increasing the A Class fleet to 6 examples.

At the end of 1985, GML were expanding their operations and required an additional locomotive to allow them to increase the number of trains in operation. At this time, English Electric were no longer producing locomotives and GML wanted a similar design to their current fleet, WESTRAIL, who were operating services for WAGR, was approached to see if they could purchase another of the original K class locomotives that they still owned. The outcome was that in March 1986, K203 left Perth by road en route to Goldsworthy, where it became No. 9.

Early in 1992 the whole of the Goldsworthy Mining Limited company was taken over by the Iron Ore section of the Broken Hill Propriety [BHP] and the ageing A class fleet of locomotives was deemed surplus to requirements. In June 1992, another section of BHP, the former AIS works in Port Kembla NSW, was looking for additional motive power. It assessed the A's and 6 of the seven were sold and moved to Port Kembla by ship in November 1992. No.4 had been heavily stripped prior to this assessment and was deemed too far gone to rebuild. It remains were not scrapped however, the carcass of the loco was disposed of in a landfill site at Goldsworthy.

The six locomotives of the A class were shipped to New South Wales soon after and were to become the D46 class at Port Kembla, bringing the history of the A class to an end.

Click on Thumbnails below to see a larger image. [ 23 available ]


This page was last updated on Sunday March 11th 2018