English Electric Growl 

Classes: D34 class

D34 class

© English Electric Growl / Bill Parkinson

New South Wales, Australia

After arrival from Rocklea just two days earlier. The sole member of the D34 class was put to use on a coal train to Wongawilli Colliery on May 5th 1969, no. D34 is seen here climbing through the Kembla Valley.

© Bill Parkinson

  • Overview
  • Status
  • Equipment
  • Specifications
  • History
  • Photographs
English Electric Australia, Rocklea Works, Brisbane, Queensland.
Running Numbers
Number Built
Locomotive Status
English Electric 12CSVT MKII
Main Generator
English Electric 822/16J
Auxiliary Generator
English Electric 755
Traction Motors
English Electric 538 x 6
Locomotive Brakes
Air, Rheostatic.
Train Brakes
Wheel Arrangement
Imperial Metric
 4 ft 8 in
 1435 mm
Minimum Curve  
 264 ft 0 in
 80467 mm
 56 ft 10 in
 17323 mm
 9 ft 6 in
 2895 mm
 13 ft 11 in
 4242 mm
 132 tons
 134.1 tonnes
Fuel Capacity  
 1200 Gallons
 5455 Litres
Power Rating  
 1950 / 1795 HP
 1454 / 1339 kW
Tractive Effort (Start)  
 87,000 lbs
 387 kN
Tractive Effort (Cont)  
 57,000 lbs at 11 mph
 254 kN at 16 km/h
 30 mph
 50 km/h

Rather than being a Class of locomotives, D34 is actually a unique locomotive, being built to the specific requirements of its 'first' owners Australian Iron and Steel Propriety. AIS at Port Kembla was a division of the Broken Hill Propriety Compamy [BHP], which until the purchase of D34, used smaller diesels for duties between it's numerous complexes in the area around Port Kembla. All of these locomotives were knows according to their engine Horsepower, apart from their 1800HP locomotive, which was known as D34.


The locomotive was designed by English Electric during 1968 and was built at the Rocklea Works in Queensland during the first months of 1969. After trials within the Queensland area, D34 was transferred from Rocklea to Port Kembla by rail, in the formation of normal revenue earning freight trains, arriving on May 3rd 1969. After acceptance examinations, D34 entered service on May 5th 1969.


Some early teething problems included failures of the Auxiliary generator and radiator fan clutch bearings, but after modifications these problems were soon sorted out and D34 settled down to duties that were exclusively on traffic to and from the coal mines, such as Wongawilli. Another issue with the locomotive was the rigidity of the bogies which meant excessive wear on the infrastructure, a short term remedy for this included the fitting of flange lubricators, which reduced the problem significantly, a solution used many years later on the West Highland Line in the UK. Although reduced by the fitting of flange lubricators, in later years, this issue led to the locomotive being restricted to duties within the Port Kembla site. It was also commented that 'Queen Mary', as she was nicknamed, would find any infrastructure defect on the site, normally these 'findings' led to the locomotive being derailed!


For over 20 years 'Queen Mary' was the largest Diesel amongst the AIS/BHP Fleet, it was used widely and proved quite reliable, being well liked by both maintenance and operating teams. It had a number of mishaps during it's career, the cab seeming to bear most of the damage, but it was skillfully rebuilt on each occasion.


After over 23 years in service, the company purchased some 'sister' locos of D34 from BHP Iron Ore. These locomotives has been used by to haul Iron ore trains by Goldsworthy Mining Limited in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. With the purchase of these Goldsworthy A Class locomotives in 1992, and their introduction as the BHP D46 class in 1993, D34's ventures out on the ´mainline´ were diminished until it was decided to restrict it to 'local' duties due to the damage it had caused to infrastructure because it frames were too rigid.


D34 has 'changed' owners on numerous occasions since it's introduction, had has been repainted to suit. The last reorganisation of the company, now Bluescope, saw all it's locomotives sold to Pacific National, except for D34, which was sold to a private buyer for preservation in June 2012.


A new home for D34 was found at the State Mine Railway in Lithgow, but before it was allowed to moved by rail to it's new home, a number of inspections and repairs were carried out over the next 12 months at Steelhaven, before certification was granted for the move.

Click on Thumbnails below to see a larger image. [ 27 available ]


This page was last updated on Sunday March 11th 2018