Victorian Government Rlys 4-8-4 Locomotives in Australia

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class H (Locobase 7687)

Many thanks to Graeme Reid, who contacted Wes Barris about the H class in July 2006 and prompted Locobase's research.

Data assembled 14 July 2006 from:

[], a website offering a model of this unusual locomotive and offering the original locomotive diagram in support.

[], Peter Ormsby's site of drawings with a summary of Heavy Harry's career, and


orgstate=V&type=Steam, which supplies the valve diameter, travel, lap, and lead info.

See also "H220", an entry last updated 31 March 2017 on the Australian Railway Historical Society Victorian Division Inc at [], last accessed 14 April 2017.

"Heavy Harry" was to be the first of three large mixed-traffic locomotives designed to handle the heavyweight Overland express to Adelaide. Chief Mechanical Engineer A C Ahlston assembled all the elements of prevailing practice in the prototype, which rolled out 7 February 1941. A large Belpaire firebox with combustion chamber and thermic syphons provided plenty of direct heating surface for the boiler; it was fed by an automatic stoker. No other Australian locomotive had so much combined heating surface or so large a grate. (The nearest competitors in both areas were the SAR's 500-class 4-8-4s, which were supplied by Armstrong-Whitworth; see Locobase 2419.) In terms of superheater area as a percentage of overall heating surface area, however, the H class ran a little lower than most main-line locomotives delivered in the same period.

Three 11"(279-mm)-piston valves fed the three cylinders, the middle one of which was actuated by a conjugation lever. The valves had 6 1/2" (165 mm) travel, 1 1/2 (38 mm) lap, and 1/4" (6.35 mm) lead. Exhaust poured out of a double blastpipe in a smokebox that was flanked by "elephant ear" smoke lifters.

From its initial run date of 7 February 1941 to its final run in May 1956, H220 traveled 821,860 miles (1,323,195 km). Its most intensive use came during a 2.7 year interval between 18 March 1949 and 23 November 1951 when it averaged almost 6,500 miles (10,465 km) per month.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Locobase ID7687
RailroadVictorian Government Rlys
Number in Class1
Road NumbersH220
Number Built1
Valve GearWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)17.50 / 5.33
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)36.50 / 11.13
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase 0.48
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)82 / 24.99
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)52,080 / 23,623
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)207,648 / 94,188
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)328,160 / 148,851
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)254,352 / 115,372
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)582,512 / 264,223
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)16,800 / 63.64
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT)10 / 9
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)87 / 43.50
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)66 / 1676
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)224.80 / 15.50
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)21.5" x 28" / 546x711 (3)
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)56,208 / 25495.55
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 3.69
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)
Flue/Tube length (ft / m)
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)367 / 34.11
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)68 / 6.32
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)3980 / 369.89
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)800 / 74.35
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)4780 / 444.24
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume225.52
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation15,286
Same as above plus superheater percentage17,885
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area96,527
Power L118,236
Power MT774.45

All material Copyright ©
Wes Barris