New South Wales 86 class locomotive

The 86 class is a class of electric locomotives built by Comeng, Granville for the State Rail Authority of New South Wales.[1]

New South Wales 86 class
8601 stored at Kooragang Island
Type and origin
Power typeElectric
BuilderComeng, Granville
Build date1983-1985
Total produced50
  UIC8601-8649: Co-Co
8650: Bo-Bo-Bo
Gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Wheel diameter1,250 mm (49.21 in)
Wheelbase15.40 m (50 ft 6 in)
LengthOver headstocks:
18.73 m (61 ft 5 in)
Over coupler pulling faces:
20.08 m (65 ft 11 in)
Width2.950 m (9 ft 8 in)
HeightOver stowed pantograph:
4.400 m (14 ft 5 in)
Axle load19.80 tonnes (19.5 long tons; 21.8 short tons)
Loco weight119.0 tonnes (117.1 long tons; 131.2 short tons)
Electric system/s1,500 V DC Overhead
Current pickup(s)Two pantographs
Traction motorsMitsubishi MB-485-BVR, 6 of
Performance figures
Maximum speed130 km/h (81 mph) (Design Max.)
105 km/h (65 mph) (TfNSW restriction)
Power outputContinuous:
2,700 kW (3,620 hp),
One hour:
2,880 kW (3,860 hp)
Tractive effortContinuous:
222.00 kN (49,908 lbf)
at 45 km/h (28 mph)
OperatorsState Rail Authority
Number in class50
First run15 March 1983
WithdrawnJune 2002
Preserved8601, 8606, 8607, 8644, 8646, 8649, 8650
Disposition1 operational, 6 preserved, 43 scrapped


The 86 class initially hauled passenger and freight services to Lithgow on the Main Western line and Wyong on the Main Northern line. Their sphere of operation extended to Newcastle on the latter line in June 1984 and to Port Kembla in January 1986 when the Illawarra line was electrified.

With a one-hour rating of 4,400 horsepower (hp), the 86 class was the most powerful locomotive in Australia at the time. Although no longer in regular use, the class remains among the most powerful in the country. Despite their higher power rating, they were generally regarded as inferior to the Metropolitan-Vickers built 46 class, which dated from the late 1950s.

The last unit was delivered as a Bo-Bo-Bo as a trial unit.[2] It spent long periods out of traffic undergoing repair.

In 1994/95 all were repainted by A Goninan & Co, Taree into FreightCorp blue.[3] By October 1997 18 had been withdrawn from service with cracked frames.[4] By this stage the amount of work requiring electrics was reducing. National Rail decided it would through haul its services and from March 1998 FreightCorp ceased operating them on Main Northern line services.[5] The need for electrics continued to decline with their remaining duties mainly being hauling coal trains from Lithgow to Port Kembla. The last examples were withdrawn in June 2002.

In 2002, most were sold to Silverton Rail and taken to Broken Hill then sold again in February 2006 to Allco Finance Group with some on sold, but most scrapped.[6][7] Four were leased back to RailCorp in 2004 (8601, 8609, 8622 and 8644) for use on infrastructure trains during construction of the Bondi Junction turnback.


  • 8601 & 8650 are owned by the Dorrigo Steam Railway & Museum
  • 8606 & 8649 are owned by the Sydney Electric Train Society, 8606 is currently based at Pacific National's Locomotive Maintenance Centre Lithgow. The loco has been brought to current network operating requirements to allow it to operate on the NSW electrified network. 8606 is operational and is to be used on heritage passenger excursions and for operating the Robel maintenance train in Sydney's city tunnels as required.[8] The loco was most recently used on the night of 27 and 28 November 2018 for such work. 8649 is currently held at Werris Creek, with re-activation planned for a return to service in 2019.
  • 8607 is privately owned, stored at the Canberra Railway Museum[9]
  • 8644 is privately owned, currently held at Chullora
  • 8646 is statically preserved at the Trainworks Railway Museum, Thirlmere


  1. Walters, Chris (May 2007). "When They were Young – The 85 and 86 class Electric Locomotives". Australian Railway History. pp. 198–208.
  2. "8650" Railway Digest November 1985 page 320
  3. "86 Class Repaints" Railway Digest April 1995 page 35
  4. "Out of Service" Railway Digest October 1997 page 31
  5. "Electric Locos" Railway Digest June 1998 page 35
  6. 86 Class Railpage
  7. 86 Class Vicsig
  8. NSW 86 Class Electric Locomotive 8606 Sydney Electric Train Society
  9. Movement of electric locomotive 8607 between Junee and Goulburn Australian Rail Track Corporation 7 March 2016

Further reading

  • New South Wales Rail System Locomotives. Sydney: Archives Section, State Rail Authority of New South Wales. 1984.

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