The 'L' Class Electric Locomotives
of the Victorian Railways
Click on pictures to advance to the next
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
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)
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
Briquettes were transported in open 'tippler' wagons to the old Newport power station
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 gray (grey) and orange livery.
Another L class electric loco has also been preserved for spare parts.
After you've checked out these pics, there is also a link to the page author's
YouTube pages at the bottom of this page
where there is also an 8 minute video of old clips of the L class electrics in
operation, and a video of the cutting down of the overhead on the gippsland
line and much :more.
L1166 Gippsland bound between Murumbeena and Hughesdale
L1173 double heading with another Locomotive of its class passing through Murumbeena
with an afternoon Gippsland passenger train
L1173 and another of the same class passing through 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
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 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.
L1154 with a Gippsland passenger train between Dandenong and Pakenham
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.
The same train with L1165 as in the above picture a little further down the line.
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.
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
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 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
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.
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 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.
This is an enlargement of the
locos in the picture above
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.
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.
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
L1161 on a Melbourne Passenger train between Huntingdale and Oakleigh
L1158 has just arrived at Traralgon at the end of the electrified line
with a night passenger train from Melbourne.
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
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 along part of the track between Moe and Warragul before the overhead
wires were cut down.
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
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
The wires were then dragged to the side for collection.
Cutting down the wires between Moe and Warragul in the early 1990s.