The 'L' Class Electric Locomotives
of the Victorian Railways

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L1168 passing through Oakleigh 
 with a Sunday passenger train 
 Gippsland bound
L1168 passing through Oakleigh railway station with a Sunday, Gippsland bound passenger train and passing the entrance to the former Oakleigh railway yards.

The 25 L class 1,500 volt D.C. electric locomotives of the Victorian Railways, were made by English Electric, and imported in the early 1950s as part of the rejuvination of the railways.  Such a major program as this was, which included many other locomotive classes, while introducing the first main line diesel electric B class and the last orders of steam locomotives, was essential to the economic development of the state, the railways of which had become run down both before and during World War II. The L class electric locomotives were for use on the line to the Latrobe Valley as far as Traralgon, some 80 miles from Melbourne. There was a branch from Moe to the former briquette factory at Yallourn (about 80 miles from Melbourne), and a branch to the briquette factory at Morwell, about half way between Moe and Traralgon. Briquettes are small bricks of dried, crushed and pressed brown coal which turns the color (colour) to black. The compressing of the brown coal, in such a way, ensures a great deal of heat energy can be transported in a single load. Brown coal itself, which has a high percentage of moisture had been railed to the Newport power station near Melbourne in earlier times. At the time, half of Victoria's electricity was being generated at Yallourn and a power station and briquette plant was also built at Morwell. Briquettes were transported to Melbourne in trains of a thousand tons, pulled by the electric locomotives, in 4 wheel wagons, with usually about 50 in each train. Before natural gas and oil was discovered in Bass Strait and utilised, briquettes were a very popular and efficient way of heating homes in winter and a popular fuel for much, now closed industry. Briquettes were transported in open 'tippler' wagons to the old Newport power station in Melbourne. The wagons were unloaded on the 'tippler' which turned them almost upside down. A natural gas fired power station has replaced the old Newport power station; the latter was originally built for the electrification of Melbourne's electric suburban train system. The old Newport power station has been demolished. The L class, each weighing more 97 tons, it was boasted, being of 2,400 horsepower, could almost silently, pull a loaded 1,100 ton goods train up the steepest grade, and work 400 ton passenger trains at 75 miles per hour. They were taken out of service from about the late 1970s, and the electric overhead wires beyond Pakenham, have been pulled down. Electric suburban trains now operate on the remaining part of the original Gippsland electrification, between Dandenong and Pakenham. A few locos survive, L1150 is in the railway museum at Newport now in its original blue and gold livery and L1162 has been restored to operational order, and has also been painted in original colors (colours). It has been used occasionally for special trips, and as such was the last electric train from Warragul although at that time in was in the newer grey (gray) and orange livery. Another L class electric loco has also been preserved for spare parts.
Videos are at the bottom of this page
L1166 between Murrumbeena 
 and Hughesdale
L1166 Gippsland bound between Murumbeena and Hughesdale

L1173 and another L class passing 
 through Murrumbeena with 
 a passenger train
L1173 double heading with another Locomotive of its class passing through Murumbeena with an afternoon Gippsland passenger train

1173 and another of the same 
 class passing through Oakleigh
L1173 and another of the same class passing through Oakleigh

L1150 between 
 Huntingdale and Oakleigh
Class leader of the 25 L class electric locomotives was L1150, here pictured in the new livery that was inflicted upon some before all the locomotives were withdrawn and replaced with diesel power. This picture, from a color slide as are also the others, was snapped between Huntingdale and Oakleigh

General Electric locomotive L1168
 with a train from Gippsland
 passes between Huntingdale and Oakleigh on its way to Melbourne
Electric locomotive L1168 with a train from Gippsland passes between Huntingdale and Oakleigh on its way to Melbourne with a train of sylish carriages dating from the steam days.

L1155 at Dandenong with a late afternoon 
 Gippsland bound Passenger train
L1155 at Dandenong station in the 1960s with a Gippsland passenger train, showing off one of its two distinctive original pantographs. All 25 L class electric locomotives were each originally fitted with two of these pantographs.

English Electric locomotive
 L1154 with a passenger train 
 between Dandenong and Pakenham
L1154 with a Gippsland passenger train between Dandenong and Pakenham

An unusually long Melbourne bound 
 passenger train pulled by L1165, climbs the grade 
 out of Traralgon on a dark rainy afternoon
An unusually long Melbourne bound passenger train with L1165 in charge climbs the grade out of Traralgon on a dark rainy afternoon. Traralgon being about 80 miles from Melbourne, was the limit of the electrified railway and steam and diesel power were used beyond.

English Electric locomotive
 L1165 with a Melbourne passenger 
 train from Traralgon
The same train with L1165 as in the above picture a little further down the line.

An English Electric locomotive
 with a goods train near Berwick
An L class electric with a gippsland train which included 4 wheel wagons for loads of timber from the now closed terminus of Orbost which is beyond the electrified section.

English Electric locomotiveL1155 
 with Dandenong Passenger train, 
 crossing the Dandenong creek
L1155 shown in a picture above after having changed ends after terminating at Dandenong, is shown here crossing the Dandenong creek before that arrival at Dandenong

English Electric locomotive L1155 
 and a Tait Suburban at Dandenong
The Loco L1155 of the train in the above picture, awaits departure time for its Gippsland destination, while a Tait Suburban train awaits its departure time for Melbourne. Each of these trains is now but a memory.

Before the days of the West Gate bridge, this steam powered ferry
 which pulled itself across the river ulilizing heavy chains,
 connected the Williamstown side of the Yarra River near Melbourne, 
 with the Port Melbourne side The old Newport Power Station is 
 in the background
Before the days of the West Gate bridge which now carries many hundreds of thousands of vehicles per week, this unique steam powered ferry, which pulled itself across the river ulilizing heavy chains, connected the Williamstown side of the Yarra River near Melbourne, with the Port Melbourne side of the river. The heavy chains sank to the bottom of the river so as not to foul ships. The old Newport Power Station is in the background, A rake of 4 wheel wagons used to transport coal or briquettes, together with a 6 wheel brake van, can be seen beside the power station. This power station, of which only part of it is shown, was dismantled when A new gas powered station was completed upstream (to the right). Most shipping to Melbourne's docks in the Yarra River passes this point. The ferry could carry about 25 passenger cars. The newport power station was constructed in about the 1920s in connection with the electrifification Melbourne's suburban railway system. This picture was taken with retinette 1a 35 mm camera in the early .1960s.

Train loads of briquettes from the 
 Latrobe Valley in Gippsland, fueled 
 the Power station at Newport
Train loads of briquettes from the Latrobe Valley in Gippsland, fueled the Power station at Newport

Coal tippler at Newport power station
Coal tippler at Newport power station which emptied the rail wagons of briquettes. This picture was taken after the power station was closed.

A view of the old and new Newport power 
 stations before the old one was dismantled
A view of the old and new Newport power stations before the old one was dismantled. The tall chimney is of the new gas fired station. The then new West Gate Bridge is in the background.

L1160 and another L class on the Gippslander near Morwell
L1160 and another L class on the Melbourne side of Morwell on an unusually long Gippslander about 1970. The train, on its return from Bairnsdale, was hauled by a T class diesel electric east of Traralgon where the electrified railway ended. The second locomotive in the picture above was not operating which indicates the power capability of a single L class loco when the fast schedule is considered.

L1160 and another L on the Gippslander near Morwell
This is an enlargement of the locos in the picture above

Electric locomotive L1165 on a goods at Morwell
L1155 and another English Electric locomotive depart Morwell for Traralgon with a goods train which includes as the second vehicle, a once very familiar six wheel guard's or brake van.

English Electric locomotive L1160 on 
 a Traralgon passenger train at Morwell
Taken on the other side of the tracks to the picture above is this Traralgon bound passenger train in charge of English Electric locomotive L1160. A Spirit of progress type air conditioned carriage was a normal feature of this daily train which otherwise consisted of wooden carriages. The locomotive and air conditioned car were fitted with auto type knuckle couplers and no buffers. The first wooden carriage had the auto couplers at the front end and the older hook and screw type couplings on the other end to match the couplers on the rest of the train. The cars at the rear of the train, together with all others on the system, were later all converted to auto type couplings. Similar trains were run to Warragul except without air conditioned cars. Interestingly, the carriages with different couplings on each end, would obviously have had to be turned at the destinations for the return.

L class locomotive and goods train between Moe and Morwell Victoria
Between Moe and Morwell, is a train consisting of four wheelers and bogie wagons of various sorts, drawn by an English Electric locomotive of the Victorian Government Railways L class

English Electric Locomotive L1161 0n a Melbourne train at Oakleigh
L1161 on a Melbourne Passenger train between Huntingdale and Oakleigh

L class English Electric Locomotive after arrival at Traralgon
L1158 has just arrived at Traralgon at the end of the electrified line with a night passenger train from Melbourne.

L class electric L1159 on empty briquette train at Oakleigh
L class electric locomotive, L1169 between Oakleigh and Huntingdale with a trainload of some 50 four wheelers heading for Yallourn or Morwell for another load of Briquettes. These trains were a regular sight and supplied Melbourne and the old Newport power station before the days of natural gas from Bass Strait. The locomotive is about opposite Gadd Street. The siding at the right has long since been removed. It ended at a long platform upon which there was a large warehouse which was empty at this time; and it was said that it served an army camp which was said to be situated here. It would have dated from World War 2 days or before, but historic information is hard to find. Before the siding was dismantled, it served a concrete mixing plant, and bogie wagons of cement were regularly delivered. The siding had been electrified well before the introduction of the L class, apparently for the E class electrics, but the electrification ended a little beyond this point and did not extend into the platform. Note the wooden pole nearby; this and others, supported the overhead wires around the left bend shown. There was a right bend after this which then aligned the siding with the main line but further over. The caution signal seen in the distance, was for Huntingdale station, particularly in regard to the hand operated railway gates. This signal and the former railway gates were operated from within a signal box at Huntingdale station. A long wire connected the signal with an operationg lever while the gates were operated with a big wheel with mechanical connections. A road overpass now exists. Note also the long supported wooden enclosed carrier on the other side of the railway, common in those days, for communication cables associated with the railway operation. Huntingdale station was originally named East Oakleigh and the name was changed to Huntingdale about the 1950s or 1960s.

Cutting Down the Overhead Wires
A view of part of the electrified Gippsland 
 line between Moe and Warragul
A view along part of the track between Moe and Warragul before the overhead wires were cut down.

Cutting down the wires above the electrified Gippsland 
 line between Moe and Warragul
Cutting down the wires between Moe and Warragul in the early 1990s. The road vehicle shown, was reversed along the track above which the wires were being removed, and the operations were from an attached 'cherry picker' The wires thus fell away from the operator when they were cut.

Cutting down the wires above the electrified Gippsland 
 line between Moe and Warragul
Cutting down the wires between Moe and Warragul in the early 1990s. The operator, having already cut through the main wire, is reaching up with a power operated tool, to cut through the support wire. The wires were then dragged to the side for collection.

Cutting down the wires above the electrified Gippsland
 line between Moe and Warragul
Cutting down the wires between Moe and Warragul in the early 1990s.


Electric trains between Warragul and Drouin Victoria early 1990s
from Graeme Reid on Vimeo.
http://vimeo.com/66553209


The last Electric Locomotive at Warragul
from Graeme Reid on Vimeo.
http://vimeo.com/66559387


L Class Electric Locomotives and Suburban trains Oakleigh 1980s
from Graeme Reid on Vimeo.
http://vimeo.com/66545618


Electric Trains on the Gippsland line Victoria Australia
from Graeme Reid on Vimeo.
http://vimeo.com/67096041


Gippsland Line De-electrification
from reidgck on Vimeo.
http://vimeo.com/66481657


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How an abt Wilderness Railway Steam Locomotive works
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