Commonwealth Railways GM class

The GM class are a class of diesel locomotives built by Clyde Engineering, Granville for the Commonwealth Railways in several batches between 1951 and 1967. As at January 2014 some remain in service with Genesee & Wyoming Australia and Southern Shorthaul Railroad.

Commonwealth Railways GM class
Three Genesee & Wyoming Australia GM class locomotives in April 2008
Type and origin
Power typeDiesel-electric
BuilderClyde Engineering, Granville
ModelElectro-Motive Diesel ML1, later model A16C
Build date1951-1967
Total produced47
  UICGM1-11 A1A-A1A
GM12-47 Co-Co
Gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Fuel typeDiesel
Engine typeV16
Performance figures
Power outputGM1-11 1,119 kW (1,501 hp),
GM12-47 1,305 kW (1,750 hp)
OperatorsCommonwealth Railways
Number in class47
PreservedGM1, GM2, GM28, GM36
Current ownerGenesee & Wyoming Australia
Southern Shorthaul Railroad
Disposition4 in service, 3 preserved, 14 stored, 26 scrapped


The design was based on the Electro-Motive Diesel EMD F7 locomotive.[1] The first 11 were delivered with EMD 16-567B, 1119 kW engines and four powered axles with the remainder having 16-567C, 1305 kW engines and six powered axles. The final 11 were fitted with dynamic braking.[2]

Delivered to operate on the standard gauge Trans-Australian Railway, the first entered service in September 1951. Further orders saw 47 in service by December 1967. They operated on all of Commonwealth Railways's standard gauge lines including those to Broken Hill, Alice Springs and Adelaide when converted to standard gauge in 1970, 1980 and 1982 respectively.

In January 1972, three (31, 32 & 34) were loaned to the Victorian Railways for use on the North East line. The latter two were returned in May 1976, the former in November 1976.[3]

In July 1975 all were included in the transfer of Commonwealth Railways to Australian National. In 1979 a few operated to Lithgow, New South Wales on trials, while in October 1983 three (23, 24 & 28) were hired to V/Line returning in October 1985.[3][4]

The GM class were manufactured for standard gauge use, some of the locomotives were converted to operate on 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm) broad gauge for some of their lives.

Apart from one destroyed in an accident in 1985, withdrawals began in 1988.[2] GM1 was placed on a plinth in Port Augusta, GM2 was donated to the National Railway Museum, Port Adelaide and GM3 to Clyde Engineering, Kelso.[5] By October 1994 only 15 remained in service.[6] A locomotive shortage saw Australian Southern Railroad return GM1 to service in December 1997.[7]

In 1998 Great Northern Rail Services purchased 12 from Australian Southern Railroad.[8] Most were scrapped for parts with only three returning to service seeing use in Melbourne and Sydney. Following Great Northern ceasing operations in 2003, these were sold to Chicago Freight Car Leasing Australia before being resold to Southern Shorthaul Railroad.[2]

In May 2005 Australian Railroad Group forwarded GM30 to Forrestfield workshops to be receive a 2237 kW engine, as fitted to the CLs. The project was never completed and the shell was scrapped.[2][9]

In November 2010 the Department for Infrastructure & Transport placed GM1 in the custody of Rail Heritage WA.[10] In May 2012 Clyde Engineering sold GM3 to Southern Shorthaul Railroad and it was transferred to their Lithgow State Mine Heritage Park & Railway workshop for overhaul.

As at September 2015 most of the Genesee & Wyoming Australia units are stored serviceable due to more modern power available for freight services in South Australia while the Southern Shorthaul Railroad units are used on infrastructure trains in New South Wales.[11][12][13][14]

Status table

LocomotiveEntered ServiceCurrent OwnerLiveryStatus
GM1September 1951Rail Heritage WACR Maroon/SilverStored, Parkes
GM2November 1951National Railway MuseumCR Maroon/SilverStatic Display
GM3December 1951Southern Shorthaul RailroadCR Maroon/SilverStored, Lithgow State Mine Heritage Park & Railway
GM4January 1952--Scrapped
GM5January 1952--Scrapped
GM6February 1952--Scrapped
GM7March 1952--Scrapped
GM8March 1952--Scrapped
GM9April 1952--Scrapped
GM10June 1952Southern Shorthaul RailroadSSR YellowOperational
GM11July 1952--Scrapped
GM12October 1955GreentrainsAN GreenStored, North Bendigo
GM13November 1955--Scrapped
GM14April 1956--Scrapped
GM15April 1956--Scrapped
GM16July 1956--Scrapped
GM17March 1957--Scrapped
GM18April 1957--Scrapped
GM19May 1957RailpowerAN GreenOverhaul, Goulburn Rail Heritage Centre
GM20June 1957--Scrapped
GM21July 1957--Scrapped
GM22July 1962Southern Shorthaul RailroadSSR YellowOperational
GM23August 1962--Scrapped
GM24September 1962--Scrapped
GM25October 1962AN GreenScrapped
GM26November 1962--Scrapped
GM27January 1963Southern Shorthaul RailroadSSR YellowOperational
GM28February 1963Seymour Railway Heritage CentreCR Maroon/SilverUnder overhaul
GM29March 1963--Scrapped
GM30December 1964-UndercoatScrapped
GM31January 1965--Scrapped
GM32January 1965--Scrapped
GM33March 1965--Scrapped
GM34April 1965Genesee & Wyoming AustraliaAN GreenScrapped
GM35April 1966--Scrapped
GM36May 1966Seymour Railway Heritage CentreCR Maroon/SilverStored
GM37June 1966Genesee & Wyoming AustraliaGW OrangeOperational
GM38June 1966Genesee & Wyoming AustraliaAN GreenStored
GM39July 1966--Scrapped
GM40January 1967Genesee & Wyoming AustraliaAN GreenStored
GM41February 1967--Scrapped, cab preserved
GM42February 1967Genesee & Wyoming AustraliaGW OrangeStored
GM43March 1967Genesee & Wyoming AustraliaGW OrangeOperational
GM44April 1967Genesee & Wyoming AustraliaGW OrangeStored
GM45May 1967Genesee & Wyoming AustraliaGW OrangeOperational
GM46June 1967Genesee & Wyoming AustraliaAN GreenStored
GM47December 1967Genesee & Wyoming AustraliaGW OrangeStored



  1. GM1-class A1A-A1A diesel-electric locomotive No.2 National Railway Museum
  2. Oberg, Leon (1980). Diesel Locomotives of Australia. Sydney: AH & AW Reed. p. 283. ISBN 0 589 50211 5.
  3. Bromby, Robyn (1988). Australian Rail Annual 1988. Sutherland: Sherbourne Sutherland Publishing. pp. 10/11. ISBN 1 86275 004 1.
  4. "Victorian Standard Gauge Report" Railway Digest July 1985 page 201
  5. "GM3" Railway Digest November 1990 page 395
  6. "South Australian Motive Power Update" Railway Digest October 1994 page 14
  7. "SA Snapshot" Railway Digest February 1998 page 31
  8. "Great Northern Puts Faith in GM Chant" Railway Digest November 1998 page 16
  9. Issue 104/10 West Australian Railscene e-mag 11 October 2010
  10. GM1 Rail Heritage WA 2 November 2010
  11. Standard Gauge GM Chris' Commonwealth Railway Pages
  12. GM Class (GM1 to GM11) Railpage
  13. GM Class (GM12 to GM47) Railpage
  14. GM Class Vicsig


  • Fluck, Ronald E; Marshall, Barry; Wilson, John (1996). Locomotives and Railcars of the Commonwealth Railways. Welland, SA: Gresley Publishing. ISBN 1876216018.
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