English Electric Growl 

Classes: D46 (K) Class

D46 (K) Class

© English Electric Growl / Brad Coulter

New South Wales, Australia

D46 Class no. D47, approaches Cringila Yard on May 31st, 2000 with a train of empty coal wagons

© Brad Coulter

  • Overview
  • Status
  • Equipment
  • Specifications
  • History
  • Photographs
Reclassified by
BHP, Port Kembla, New South Wales.
Running Numbers
Number Reclassified

Reclassified to D class in Western Australia.

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 19km/h
 80 mph
 128 km/h

On arrival at Port Kembla at the end of 1992, the six A Class members were renumbered to match the current numbering scheme in operation at the works, the next in line being D46. The renumbering did not follow their previous A Class identities, as the two former WAGR K class locos were grouped together at the end of the sequence becoming D50 and D51. The others were numbered D46 to D49 following their previous numbers.

Early in 1993, D51 (ex A Class GML9/K203) was back in traffic and being used for crew training/evaluation purposes in March. It had been overhauled and returned to use by the BHP Rail workshops at Steelhaven. D50 (ex GML6/K202) was the next to re-enter service in June 1993. The overhaul of D47 (ex GML5) was also carried out at Steelhaven, whilst D49 (ex GML8) was sent to Chullora for the same work to be carried out.

During a railtour to the area on May 22nd 1993, D51 worked what is thought to have been its first passenger train when it top'n tailed the tour with D6, starting at Unanderra it visited the Coke Ovens, Sinter Plant, 4 & 5 Blast Furnaces, B.O.S. Plant, Continuous Caster, No. 2 Open Hearth, Kemira Bins at Mt. Kembla, before returning to Unanderra.

A catastrophic engine failure occurred in D51 in September 1993, this led to power unit being exchanged with that fitted to D46, which was then being worked on which the intention of reintroduction. During 1994, D47 was reinstated in February joining D50 and D51 as regulars of the BHP fleet with D34. D49 remained at Chullora throughout the year, arriving back at Steelhaven in December, after BHP Fitters had been sent to Chullora to speed up slow progress. D48 also received attention during the year, which included the fuel systems/tanks being flushed and the engine started, although considerable attention was required, not as much as D46 though which was now a forlorn shell at the back of Steelhaven shops.

Although identified as the 'D46 Class' by enthusiasts, within the works they were referred to by employees as the K's as they were of the same design as the WAGR K's and obviously two of them had been built for WAGR originally.

1995 began with three operational D46's at BHP, with the rebuild of D49 continuing through the year, work on D46 and D48 had now been abandoned for the time being. As the year drew to a close, a collision between D42 and D50 at the Coal Handling area at Port Kembla, led to D50 being withdrawn, thus reducing the fleet to two again. D49 eventually returned to traffic in May 1996, painted in High visibility BHP Yellow livery. The fleet remained at three for the remainder of the time the D46's were owned by BHP, D46 and D50 were used as a constant source of spares as they were required.

The three operational D46's at Port Kembla soldiered on until 2002, not without giving the maintenance crews some headaches, until they were finally withdrawn by BHP. This was not the end of their story though, all six were bought by South Spur Rail. D46 and D50 were stripped of their remaining useful 'parts' and scrapped on site, D48 was transferred west to the Midland workshops of SSR, whilst the 3 runners were 'overhauled' at Steelhaven for SSR for use on a new NSW project.

The four remaining D46 class locomotives were all reclassified as K Class on becoming part of the SSR fleet.

Click on Thumbnails below to see a larger image. [ 45 available ]


This page was last updated on Sunday March 11th 2018