4-6-2 S Class
Class: 4-6-2 S Class
Designer: Alfred E Smith
Weight: 223 tons
Purpose: Express Passenger
Information: The ‘S’ Class 4-6-2 Pacific was the most prestigious of Victorian Railways express passenger locomotive designs built to haul trains between Melbourne and Sydney prior to dieselisation of the route in the 1950’s.
Details: Four members of the ‘S’ Class express passenger locomotives were built in Victorian Railways Newport workshops between 1928 and 1930. The ‘S’ Class design was strongly influenced by the work of Sir Nigel Gresley’s renowned A1 three cylinder locomotives. Because of their heavy axle load the class were restricted to the North Eastern mainlines for their entire working lives.
Improvement modifications to the class were made over the years. Modifications included boiler and firebox improvements and a change from coal to oil firing. These changes all brought about improvement to performance, economy, and maintenance.
However, the biggest change affecting appearance came in 1937 when external streamlining was added. Like the British express passenger locomotives being streamlined at the time, it proved more cosmetic than functional. All four locomotives were so adorned and were turned-out in a magnificent royal blue and gold livery matching the named train ‘Spirit of Progress’. At this time a new and larger capacity tender was added. The locomotives were named after prominent Australian historical figures as follows:
S 300: Matthew Flinders
S 301: Sir Thomas Mitchell
S 302: Edward Henty
S 303: C J La Trobe
The maximum permissible speed on Victorian Railways at the time was 70-MPH. The rebuilt locomotives were capable of higher speeds. Class member S302 Edward Henty in fact, set the Australian speed record for steam traction while hauling the 500-ton train at 79.5-MPH.
By 1952 dieselisation of Victorian Railways was inevitable. Because the ‘S’ Class had limited route availability, due to their high axle loads, all were condemned to scrap being withdrawn between 1953 and 1954.
4-6-2 S Class Releases (1)
V.R. 4-6-2 Class S Locomotive - Sir Thomas Mitchell