Top Steam locos in Australia designed for freighters.(pre Diesels)

 
  jayrail Assistant Commissioner

Location: te Anau Southern Alps NZ
There has been many discussions on ,say WA, between the S Class and the V Class,in NSW the 57 class between the 58 class.
At that  time diesels were  not operating, so what was then  the top freighter class loco in all of  Australian States.?

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  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
There has been many discussions on ,say WA, between the S Class and the V Class,in NSW the 57 class between the 58 class.
At that  time diesels were  not operating, so what was then  the top freighter class loco in all of  Australian States.?
jayrail

Hi.  What do you mean by top exactly?  Most prolific?

Regards
Brian
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
I would nominate the Victorian X class. Simple, powerful, reliable and a good steamer.
The Victorian H class and the SAR 500s would also share top of my list. Just that the X class were more numerous and had a wider field of operation. The Victorian C class would come next.
All these were faster than the 57s and 58s.
Sorry I forgot the NSW 60s they would be up there too.
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Clearly the V class in WA.  The Class 500 in South Australia, the H220 in Victoria, D57/D58 NSW plus AD60 Garratts
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Clearly the V class in WA.  The Class 500 in South Australia, the H220 in Victoria, D57/D58 NSW plus AD60 Garratts
Trainplanner

Did H220 every work passenger services?
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Did H220 every work passenger services?
bevans

It did work The Overland from time to time as it was intended at one stage that the H class would be able to eliminate double heading.
  raymond Deputy Commissioner

Location: Gladstone, Queensland
Qld C17,made in the 100s also on the Comwealth railways.


  RAYMOND
  SAR520SMBH Junior Train Controller

SARs main broad gauge locos for freight were the 500 class, which were the largest and most powerful steam locos in Australia when introduced. They were also used on the Overland to eliminate double head Rx class with an Rx banker in the Adelaide Hills on the Overland.
SAR also used the 700, 710, 720, 740 & 750 (originally VR N class) class for freight locos too. Not as powerful as the 500 class but impressive locos all the same.
  CAP_gauge Junior Train Controller

It did work The Overland from time to time as it was intended at one stage that the H class would be able to eliminate double heading.
"Trainplanner"


The Victorian H class was designed specifically as a passenger train loco, for The Overland (as far as Ararat I think). There were to be three of them. The war put a stop to track upgrades so they could not be used on The Overland as intended. So construction was stopped after H220 was built, and it was primarily used on freight on the north-east line, but it was not designed for freight. It was occasionally on the Spirit of Progress.

Freight locos for all the mainland states have been mentioned in this thread. In Tasmania they had the Q class which were quite large by Australian 3ft 6in gauge standards of the time (1920s).

Frank
  jayrail Assistant Commissioner

Location: te Anau Southern Alps NZ
[quote=Trainplanner]Clearly the V class in WA. The Class 500 in South Australia, the H220 in Victoria, D57/D58 NSW plus AD60 Garratts




A good list.I have the fortune to be hauled by most pre Diesel. It is most interesting you included the WA
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
It did work The Overland from time to time as it was intended at one stage that the H class would be able to eliminate double heading.
Trainplanner
H220 did not work the Overland, although it was intended to. Its working life was spent on the North Eastern line. It occasionally worked the Spirit of Progress if an S was unavailable for some reason; similarly the Albury Express. It's major use was the Fast Goods.
I agree with earlier opinions that the Victorian X class is up there with the best goods locos, and certainly tops in Victoria.
  xke9600hp Train Controller

H220 did not work the Overland, although it was intended to. Its working life was spent on the North Eastern line. It occasionally worked the Spirit of Progress if an S was unavailable for some reason; similarly the Albury Express. It's major use was the Fast Goods.
I agree with earlier opinions that the Victorian X class is up there with the best goods locos, and certainly tops in Victoria.
Valvegear
Surely only locomotives with mechanical stokers should be considered for this category - everything else would have been limited by the individual skills/capability of the firemen.  The X class must have been a hell of a job to fire and I wonder if the load rating of these engines was reduced to reflect this.  I am guessing there is no one alive to actually describe what it was like to fire one on a maximum loaded goods on a tight timetable.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Not necessarily....
The X class had a grate area of 42 square feet same as an R (S class 50 square feet, 38 class 47 square feet). My understanding from a couple of old drivers many years ago is that they were generally well regarded. I don't doubt that they were hard work, everything was hard work in those days, compared to today but one quote that I well remember was 'the X class would steam on bluemetal'.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Surely only locomotives with mechanical stokers should be considered for this category - everything else would have been limited by the individual skills/capability of the firemen.  The X class must have been a hell of a job to fire and I wonder if the load rating of these engines was reduced to reflect this.  I am guessing there is no one alive to actually describe what it was like to fire one on a maximum loaded goods on a tight timetable.
"xke9600hp"
You are making the mistake of assuming that a mechanical stoker is foolproof and inherently better than hand firing. This is simply not correct. A mechanical stoker requires skilled handling; all it does is remove some physical effort, but it still takes skill to place the coal correctly. It is very easy to have excess pressure in the steam jets when the loco is steaming hard, resulting in a heap of unburnt coal in the front of the firebox.
I have an article in an old Newsrail somewhere, written by the late Gerald Dee, of his experience firing an X on a goods. He had no hesitation is saying that the X was an easy loco to fire, and a good steamer. Many of us knew Gerald and his reputation as an engineman is second to none.
YM-Mundrabilla's point about the grate size is well made, and 42 square feet was well within the capability of a competent fireman.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Surely only locomotives with mechanical stokers should be considered for this category - everything else would have been limited by the individual skills/capability of the firemen.  The X class must have been a hell of a job to fire and I wonder if the load rating of these engines was reduced to reflect this.  I am guessing there is no one alive to actually describe what it was like to fire one on a maximum loaded goods on a tight timetable.
xke9600hp
I would disagree as when all is considered, a free steaming hand fired loco is not a burden at all.  When the NSW 60cl arrived & according to the 1967 Southern WTT, from Enfield to Goulburn they only took 125 tons more than a standard goods engine except for those with the extended bunkers, not a great deal really, also they were not used that much after the delivery trials on the Blue Mountains owing to them being very slippery on the front tank, something that plagued the light types all their career, also they had a lighter load than the 57 & 58cl.

When the 59cl were converted to coal, they received a grate area the same as a 38, slightly narrower but slightly longer than the 38cl. with smaller coal capacity to work to Glbn from Enfield they used less coal than a 36 or 38cl on the same load, the 36cl had a shorter train length though.

Firing with a stocker was an easy job in some ways although you had to keep a close watch on the distribution of the coal, & if there was mixed coal in the bunker conditions charged dramatically, especially when heavier coal was used in them. Not that easy when the engine was working hard to understand why steam started to drop, & looking into the firebox to see how the distribution was going, was very hard on the eyes, no matter how much you tried to shield your eyes it was almost guess work.

The garatts had side adjusting flaps on the spreader plate which often needed adjusting to stop the back sides of the box filling up with coal, also a watch on how even the coal was being distributed from the plate.

The other aspect was that when you had run out of coal in the front of the bunker & you needed to pull the first slide, it meant a constant watch had to be made on the bunker, to ensure you pulled each slide before you ran out of coal in the trough, when on a steady heavy grade.

Chinese 2-10-2 QJ loco's had a larger grate area than a garratt, they were only 2 cylinder types, & were fitted with a stoker as well. however they rarely worked & were considered heavy on coal & water, as China Rail (CNR) worked their steam loco's with a 3 man crew, driver, fireman & assistant (coal monkey) the crew were paid extra money based on conservative driving & firing methods. These engines were hand fired rather than stoker fired by crew choices even when the stoker was working. Given the coal or slag as they called it, was very poor & the aspect their engines were designed to steam with it, the work they did was very commendable indeed.  I could not imagine any of our engines steaming with the same or similar poor quality coal. In fact only a driver who was a masochist would take an engine into traffic with that sort of coal in the tender.  

Thus much depends on the design of them as well, also maintenance played a big part as well as the skills of fitters, & their abilities to ensure valve timings were set right.
  Fireman Dave Chief Commissioner

Location: Shh, I'm hiding
What do you want to know when you say "top" loco? To properly answer the question it needs to be defined. Top could refer to capacity, efficiency, ease of work, time in traffic.
I haven't had the pleasure (?) of working a TF, but they'd have to be well up there.
  a6et Minister for Railways

What do you want to know when you say "top" loco? To properly answer the question it needs to be defined. Top could refer to capacity, efficiency, ease of work, time in traffic.
I haven't had the pleasure (?) of working a TF, but they'd have to be well up there.
Fireman Dave
Dave

Good points, especially how to define "top" loco.

Firing the TF's were not that bad but that applies to all the standards, which incidently were commonly just called freighters as applying to each 3 classes. While I never had the pleasure either of firing them on the South to Goulburn, I did very frequently on the Short North.

There were of course differences amongst them & within each class making some better than others. Those TF's with self cleaning smokeboxes, actually steamed better by firing them with a bank under the door like a passenger type engine with slopping grates, although very dirty with cinders a problem.

Considering the years in service, & overall reliability of them, they owed the railways nothing.
  Mufreight Train Controller

Location: North Ipswich
Dave

Good points, especially how to define "top" loco.

Firing the TF's were not that bad but that applies to all the standards, which incidently were commonly just called freighters as applying to each 3 classes. While I never had the pleasure either of firing them on the South to Goulburn, I did very frequently on the Short North.

There were of course differences amongst them & within each class making some better than others. Those TF's with self cleaning smokeboxes, actually steamed better by firing them with a bank under the door like a passenger type engine with slopping grates, although very dirty with cinders a problem.

Considering the years in service, & overall reliability of them, they owed the railways nothing.
a6et
Of the standard goods engines T, TF and K classes the K's were generally better steamers and would lug a bit better on grades than the T or TF but then some would say that the D59 conversions to coal were better freighters but on a dead pull a good T, TF or a K would do just as well, mostly a matter of personal opinion and as an argument as to which were the best freighters it is much a case of how long is a piece of string
  a6et Minister for Railways

Of the standard goods engines T, TF and K classes the K's were generally better steamers and would lug a bit better on grades than the T or TF but then some would say that the D59 conversions to coal were better freighters but on a dead pull a good T, TF or a K would do just as well, mostly a matter of personal opinion and as an argument as to which were the best freighters it is much a case of how long is a piece of string
Mufreight
The K class as oil burners did haul a slightly larger load than the rock choppers. Of the few remaining K's left that I worked on, they were no better, nor worse than the others, biggest advantage was you did not have to go underneath to do any oiling.

The biggest disadvantage the 59's had was they were more prone to slipping owing to the larger wheels.  The consideration in this debate is more the aspect of the Boiler pressure between them the freighters had 160psi against the 59 & even 36cl with 200 psi & the 38cl 245psi each hauling the same load on the Short South. Remove the 36 & 38cl from the list & the freighters work out as better engines based on the BP if nothing else.
  jayrail Assistant Commissioner

Location: te Anau Southern Alps NZ
As Bevans said at the start,what is the meaning of TOP?
Well the replies have found their  answers ,a  really informative discussion; I thank the contributors for their  much balanced observations.
On a personal observation the D57 could be near the top,but those S .A broad gauge heavies appeal too.
I think the engineers ,footplate teams  and accountants are the final arbritators.
  Mufreight Train Controller

Location: North Ipswich
The K class as oil burners did haul a slightly larger load than the rock choppers. Of the few remaining K's left that I worked on, they were no better, nor worse than the others, biggest advantage was you did not have to go underneath to do any oiling.

The biggest disadvantage the 59's had was they were more prone to slipping owing to the larger wheels.  The consideration in this debate is more the aspect of the Boiler pressure between them the freighters had 160psi against the 59 & even 36cl with 200 psi & the 38cl 245psi each hauling the same load on the Short South. Remove the 36 & 38cl from the list & the freighters work out as better engines based on the BP if nothing else.
a6et
As long as it did not have hollow wheels a 59 would keep its feet if the boiler level was kept over 3/4 of a glass but if the boiler was a bit soft approaching a washout the 59's were prone to priming.
One driver I knew would fail a 59 is there was prime covering the boiler and cab then take a T or TF that was probably in less than perfect condition, the suffering of the fireman in those days of transition.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
As Bevans said at the start,what is the meaning of TOP?
Well the replies have found their  answers ,a  really informative discussion; I thank the contributors for their  much balanced observations.
On a personal observation the D57 could be near the top,but those S .A broad gauge heavies appeal too.
I think the engineers ,footplate teams  and accountants are the final arbritators.
jayrail
Don't know for sure but my belief is that the Bean Counters had not yet taken over like they and the lawyers have today.

Both groups in those days occupied their rightful place as a 'service function'!
  a6et Minister for Railways

As long as it did not have hollow wheels a 59 would keep its feet if the boiler level was kept over 3/4 of a glass but if the boiler was a bit soft approaching a washout the 59's were prone to priming.
One driver I knew would fail a 59 is there was prime covering the boiler and cab then take a T or TF that was probably in less than perfect condition, the suffering of the fireman in those days of transition.
Mufreight
I only ever had one occasion with a 59cl priming & that was after the fuelman at Moss Vale, whose responsibility on day shift was to add the treatment to the water tank plant there, he forgot to do so on the M-F & added a weeks supply on the Saturday, by the time we got to Weriei the water in gauge was showing quite a darker colour, when getting the straight approaching the down distant signal the 59 started to prime with 3/4glass of water.

Getting to Exeter we informed control & took water samples, & told them we were dropping water & were going to fill up at Talong.

A 59cl would under normal conditions not prime even above 3/4 at least in my experience.  However, like any other engine including the freighters when working in areas of poor water, & drought conditions, they usually were washed out more often as a result of the minerals & contaminates.  I'm not sure a fireman would have been impressed with that attitude either, especially when a lot of the juice over the boiler was more the result of poor water rather than priming.

During the drought times, & on the west & south, 36c, & freighters & later 59c were all fitted with a small box on the backhead of the coal bunker & was filled with briguet blocks, it was the firemans job at designated water stops to add the required amount of briquettes to the water in the tender, helped heaps.

In the later years, garratts on the north were more prone to priming than any rock chopper, no matter how much or little the water was in the gauge..
  CAP_gauge Junior Train Controller

Of the standard goods engines T, TF and K classes the K's were generally better steamers and would lug a bit better on grades than the T or TF but then some would say that the D59 conversions to coal were better freighters but on a dead pull a good T, TF or a K would do just as well, mostly a matter of personal opinion and as an argument as to which were the best freighters it is much a case of how long is a piece of string
"Mufreight"


This thread has been very interesting, but I am very confused by the reference to "T, TF and K classes" in the context of this discussion. I thought you were referring to NSWGR locomotives, but they don't sound like any official NSWGR classes to me. And the biggest K class steam loco that I can think of was the Victorian light lines branch line loco.

Regards,

Frank
  a6et Minister for Railways

This thread has been very interesting, but I am very confused by the reference to "T, TF and K classes" in the context of this discussion. I thought you were referring to NSWGR locomotives, but they don't sound like any official NSWGR classes to me. And the biggest K class steam loco that I can think of was the Victorian light lines branch line loco.

Regards,

Frank
CAP_gauge
Yes the terminology is referring to NSW steam locomotives.

In general terms all steam locos in service & affected by the re-classing of their types in 1924 into the 2 class number system, (not all were re-classed owing to age & imminent withdrawal).  Most railway men still referred to many of them by their old pre 1924 class.  Consider also that when 100 or more of the one type was built they rolled over the number, thus the 30class included those with 31, the 32 & 33 were one class, 50, 51 & 52 were all one class, 53, 54 were one & 55 - 56 were one.

In that context, the 30Tclass were rarely referred to by the old S class owing to them essentially being a different class or type of engine, however the 30 tankers were still referred to as S class. 32cl as P class, 35 as Nannies, 36 as Pigs, 50 as T, 53 as TF, & 55 as K.  

The T, TF & K were deemed & bracketed as Standard Goods engines as they shared many common components, however many enginemen simply referred to them as (in a group of the three types) freighters.

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