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Standard Gauge DE

DE 90 to 91

DE & MDH at Port Augusta 1976

During 1943 the Commonwealth Department of Munitions imported four diesel-electric locomotives, built by the General Electric Co., from the United States of America for use as shunters at St. Marys, New South Wales. These were the first diesel-electric locomotives in service in Australia and were obtained under the Lend-Lease system. They were numbered 7920-7923 U.S.A.C.L. After World War II they were taken over by the New South Wales Railways, where they were used in the Sydney passenger yards as the 79 class, retaining their original numbers.

In 1948 No. 7921 and 7922, were resumed by the Commonwealth Government and sent to Woomera for use on the Long Range Weapon Project. When no longer required for that project they were taken over by the Commonwealth Railways, where they officially entered service on 24 July 1950, receiving the classified DE90 and 91 respectively. Even before officially entering service on the Commonwealth Railways these two units were employed in mainline service in July and August 1949 during a period of coal shortage resulting from the New South Wales coal strike. This gives them the honour of being the first diesel locomotives to operate on the Commonwealth Railways. During this time they worked goods and mixed trains between Port Pirie Junction and Woomera.

Having only a small horsepower they were generally restricted to light shunting work, with one being based at Port Augusta, and the other at Port Pirie, however they did occasionally work trains to Tarcoola. As train lengths and tonnages increased the DEs were replaced on shunt work by the larger MDH and GM class engines, only being used infrequently by the early 1970s. During 1972, as part of the Whyalla line construction, DE 91 was used regularly on ballast trains. Both units were transferred to Australian National Railways in 1975.

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DE 90 DE 91
Class:DE
Builder:General Electric Company, USA
Introduced:1950
Number in Class:2
Model:B-B-88/88-4GE733
Wheel Arrangement:Bo-Bo
Engine:Manufacture:Caterpillar
 Model:D17000 (2)
Cylinders:Number:V8 (4 stroke)
 Bore & stroke:5¾ in. x 8 in.
Horsepower:380/350
Traction Motors:Number:4
 Model:GE-733
Generator:GE-GT555
Gear ratio:11.25:1
Tractive EffortStarting:26,300 lbs
 Continuous:13,000 lbs at 7.2 mph
Length (over coupling points):33 ft. 5 in.
Maximum Axle Load:11 tons
Total weight:44 tons
Fuel Capacity:210 gallons
Maximum Speed:35 mph

More Pictures >

DE 90

DE 90 at Port Pirie DE 90 at Port Augusta Workshop in 1976.

Diesel locomotive with Bo-Bo wheel arrangement, built by General Electric Company, USA.
1943Built by the General Electric Company, USA, builder No.17939, for use as a shunter at the Commonwealth Department of Munitions factory, St Mary's, New South Wales.
1945To New South Wales Railways as No.7921.
1948Returned to Commonwealth Government ownership and sent to Woomera, South Australia.
24.7.1950Taken over by the Commonwealth Railways.
1975To Australian National Railways.
-Sold to New South Wales Rail Transport Museum, Thirlmere.

DE 91

DE 90 at Port Pirie 19.5.2002 Port Dock  DE91 + V260

Diesel locomotive with Bo-Bo wheel arrangement, built by General Electric Company, USA.
1943Built by the General Electric Company, USA, builder No.17933, for use as a shunter at the Commonwealth Department of Munitions factory, St Mary's, New South Wales.
1945To New South Wales Railways as No.7922.
1948Returned to Commonwealth Government ownership and sent to Woomera, South Australia.
24.7.1950Taken over by the Commonwealth Railways.
1972Allocated to ballast train work on the new line to Whyalla.
1975To Australian National Railways.
-1988To Port Dock Station Railway Mueseum.



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