Victorian Government Rlys 2-8-0 Locomotives in Australia

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class C (Locobase 2386)

Data from [], accessed 14 July 2006 and from Leon Oberg, Locomotives of Australia: 1850s - 2007 (Australia: Rosenberg Publishing Pty, 2007), pp. 168-169. See also "Modern Engine Needs Stronger Bridges," Melbourne Daily Herald, 23 November 1916, p. 4. archived on Trove at [], last accessed 18 October 2020; "Victorian Railways: New Consolidation Locomotive", Locomotive Magazine, Volume XXIV [24], whole number 312 (15 August 1918), pp. 128-129; and the Australian Railway Historical Society - Victorian Division's Railway History in Victoria 1900 - 1950, archived at [] . The first was delivered in 1918, the others followed in 1921 (5), 1922-1926 (20).

Designed by WM Shannon of the VR with an eye toward reliability and maintainability. The design included a Belpaire firebox and a surprising turn of speed, as its spidery drivers suggested. Although its nominal speed limit was 50 mph (80 kph), it would do 60 mph (97 kph) with a passenger train on some lines.

Melbourne's Daily Herald 1916 report supplied some anticipated train loads including 540 tons up a 2% grade compared to the earlier A2 4-6-0's (Locobase 2385) 340 tons. Associated costs for adopting the increased power included strengthening the Dudley Street bridge in the Melbourne yrds, "certain bridges" between Melbourne and Seymour and Melbourne and Woodend. Although delayed by iron shortages, the bridge work would be finished by the time the C class entered service, the paper promised. LM's August 1918 report added that on the level, the trailing load would be 1,350 tons.

Early struggles with manually stoking a large grate presaged a chequered career as the boiler was never quite big enough. Wikipedia notes that C5 was refitted in 1933 with an "Association of American Railroads (AAR) design of self-cleaning smokebox, to improve steaming qualities."

Indeed, according to the AHRS chronology , "Experiments into modified front end drafting by Edgar Brownbill result[ed] in modifications being made to many classes of locomotives. These relatively low cost modifications, resulted in considerably improved performance and deferred the construction of new locomotives until World War 2."

Wikipedia notes that "These changes, referred to as 'Modified Front End', were such an improvement that the rest of the A2 and C classes were progressively modified, as well as all of the K, N, S and X classes."

Still, the C-class boiler was relatively small for the cylinders and 10" (254 mm) piston valves the vessel served and the Cs struggled when called upon to pull the heavier passenger trains of World War II. A trial conversion to oil-burning in C15 in 1946 rejuvenated the design, particularly in its ability to boil more water quickly as steam was used, and all 26 were converted. They also received smoke deflectors similar in style to those seen on German locomotives in 1948.

Withdrawals began in June 1954 as the class was replaced by S-Class diesels.

Class J (Locobase 2391)

Data from for diagram at the State Archives at Victoria, presented online at [] . Also see [] . VF works numbers were 6096-6155.

Belpaire firebox heating surface included 9 sq ft (0.85 sq m) of arch tubes. A branch-line freight ("light lines goods") locomotive of relatively late origins. The first 30 were coal burners pulling tenders with the specified tonnage of coal. The last 30 burned oil and had tenders of 1,500-gal (1,800 US gal/6,810 litres) capacity. A key feature of the design was the provision for converting the class to standard gauge, which explains why the boiler was carried so high above the frame. The smokebox was framed by the small smoke-deflectors then in favor on German railways.

According to the article quoted in ("The New J Class," The Victorian Railways News Letter, May 1954, pp. 4-5), the locomotive compared favorably in weight and length to the preceding N-class 2-8-2s when taking into account the smaller turntables to be found on branch lines. 10" (254 mm)-diameter piston valves fed the cylinders. SCOA-P driver centers, according to Wikipedia, offered the strength of Boxpok drivers for less weight.

Despite the J's simplicity, 50-mph (80-km/h) speed capability, and attention to detail, however, the VR was already beginning it transition to diesel power and the little 2-8-0s would each serve less than 20 years. The last to be withdrawn was J 550 on 25 May 1972.

Class K (Locobase 2392)

Data from "K class steam locomotives" on the Victorian Railways website at [], last accessed 18 October 2020 and "K Class" on the "Premier Victorian rail resource" at [], last accessed 18 October 2020. See also "New Light Lines Consolidation Locomotive, Victorian Rys", Locomotive Magazine, Volume XXIX [29], No. 365 (15 January 1923), p. 7.

A branch-line freight ("light lines goods") locomotive built as needed apparently. Designed by Alfred Smith of the VR, the first 10 (then numbered K100-K109) went into service in 1922. The next 34 came out during World War II and the last 9 were produced in 1946. Seven of these rolled on Boxpok drivers.

(LM shows a superheater area of 303 sq ft/28.15 sq m.)

[] notes that the engine's operating range was 50-70 miles (80-113 km) per water tankful, 200 miles (124 km) per load of coal, and the Ks could hit 50 mph (80 kph). All sources also describe them as "trouble-free", the least problematic of all of the VR's classes. Like many of the VR's engines, these had Belapaire fireboxes.

Many were later fitted with smoke deflectors and the last seven rolled on Boxpok drivers. VicSig noted:

"Some engines were retrofitted with:

*Automatic Staff Exchangers

*Maine superheater equipment

*Electric lighting with Stone or Pyle generators

*Automatic couplers both ends

*Franklin Butterfly firebox doors

*Shaker table grate

*Modified front end with smoke deflectors

*Flange lubricators

*Cab operated blowdown cock

*Air operated sand gear

*Coal Sprinkler gear

*Displacement type water feeder"

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Locobase ID2386 2391 2392
RailroadVictorian Government RlysVictorian Government RlysVictorian Government Rlys
Number in Class266053
Road NumbersC1-C26J500-J559K140-K192
Number Built266053
BuilderNewportVulcan FoundryVictorian
Valve GearWalschaertWalschaertWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)17 / 5.1815.50 / 4.7215.50 / 4.72
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)25.75 / 7.8524.50 / 7.4722.83
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase 0.66 0.63 0.68
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)55.21 / 16.8360.42 / 18.4250.21 / 15.30
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)41,440 / 18,79732,480 / 14,73330,240 / 13,717
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)161,056 / 73,054128,352 / 58,220118,944 / 53,952
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)182,560 / 82,808149,968 / 68,024139,664 / 63,351
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)105,280 / 47,754102,032 / 46,28194,640 / 42,928
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)287,840 / 130,562252,000 / 114,305234,304 / 106,279
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)5640 / 21.365040 / 19.095044 / 19.11
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT)1800 / 6813 7.80 / 7 7.30 / 7
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)67 / 33.5053 / 26.5050 / 25
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)61 / 154955 / 139755 / 1397
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)204.50 / 14.10178.40 / 12.30178.40 / 12.30
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)22" x 28" / 559x71120" x 26" / 508x66020" x 26" / 508x660
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)38,618 / 17516.8528,674 / 13006.3228,674 / 13006.32
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.17 4.48 4.15
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)
Flue/Tube length (ft / m)
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)175 / 16.26127 / 11.80125 / 11.62
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)32 / 2.9731 / 2.8825.75 / 2.39
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)2090 / 194.171444 / 134.201442 / 134.01
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)327 / 30.38238 / 22.12238 / 22.12
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)2417 / 224.551682 / 156.321680 / 156.13
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume169.66152.74152.53
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation654455304594
Same as above plus superheater percentage746063055237
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area40,79825,82925,422
Power L1997173027281
Power MT545.95501.69539.81

All material Copyright ©
Wes Barris