South Australian Railways 900 class

The 900 class were a class of diesel locomotives built by Islington Railway Workshops for the South Australian Railways between 1951 and 1953.

South Australian Railways 900 class
Type and origin
Power typeDiesel-electric
BuilderIslington Railway Workshops
Build date1951-1953
Total produced10
Gauge1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in)
Wheel diameter1.07 m (3 ft 6 in)
WheelbaseBogie - 16ft 2in, overall total - 52ft 2in.
LengthOver coupler pulling faces:
20.17 m (66 ft 2 in)
Axle load21.3 tonnes (20.96 long tons; 23.48 short tons)
Loco weight128 tonnes (125.98 long tons; 141.10 short tons)
Fuel typeDiesel
Fuel capacity4,550 litres (1,000 imp gal; 1,200 US gal)
Prime moverEnglish Electric 16SVT
Engine typeFour-stroke V16 diesel
GeneratorEnglish Electric 822 type
Traction motors4 type 523A air cooled
Cylinder size10 inch bore X 12 inch stroke
MU workingX 3
Loco brakeWestinghouse Compressed Air, and Electric Dynamic
Performance figures
Maximum speed119 km/h (74 mph)
Power outputGross: 1,185 kW (1,590 hp)
Tractive effortContinuous: 151.00 kN (33,946 lbf) at 23.6 km/h (14.7 mph),
Starting: 279.00 kN (62,722 lbf)
OperatorsSouth Australian Railways
Number in class10
First run10 September 1951
Last run18 June 1985
Preserved900, 907, 909
Disposition3 preserved, 7 scrapped


The 900 class were the first main line diesels operated by the South Australian Railways. Ten were built at Islington Railway Workshops to replace steam locomotives on the heavily graded Mount Lofty Ranges. They operated both heavy freight trains and passenger services including The Overland. After the arrival of more powerful diesels, they were concentrated on the easier graded lines from Adelaide to Port Pirie and Peterborough.[1]

In March 1978 all were included in the transfer of the South Australian Railways to Australian National. Withdrawals commenced in May 1979[1] with the last two withdrawn on 18 June 1985 after operating a cement train from Angaston to Dry Creek.[2][3] Three have been preserved with the other seven scrapped.[4]


Three units have been preserved:


  1. Oberg, Leon (1984). Locomotives of Australia 1850's - 1980's. Frenchs Forest: Reed Books. p. 190. ISBN 0 730100 05 7.
  2. "South Australia" Railway Digest August 1985 page 247
  3. Broad Gauge 900-class diesel locomotives Chris' Commonwealth Railway Pages
  4. 900 Class Railpage
  5. Lady Norrie National Railway Museum
  6. The Tailem Bend Train Graveyard Weekend Notes 10 February 2013
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