Pacific National locomotives 9208, 9313 and TT130 with a Down empty coal train, Quipolly, New South Wales, 5 January 2017.

An empty coal train led by Glencore locomotives XRN010, XRN005 and XRN003 approaching Beresfield in the Hunter region of New South Wales, 10 April 2016.

C44aci Model Locomotives

David Matheson

5 May 2018

The C44aci model diesel-electric locomotive first entered service in 2008 with the introduction of Pacific National’s 92 Class. Designed and built by UGL at Broadmeadow in New South Wales, it was based on the Cv40-9i model of the NR Class and the C40aci model of the 5000 Class. The use of AC traction provided up to 25 per cent more adhesion than similar DC models. By varying AC current to precise levels through inverters, adhesion and wheelslip could be controlled more efficiently. The 92 Class were able to haul slightly heavier loads than Pacific National’s existing 90 Class, despite weighing considerably less. At full fuel capacity the 92 Class weighs 139.0 tonnes, whereas the 90 Class weighs 165.2 tonnes.

 

Following the success of the 92 Class, various rail freight operators ordered the C44aci model. Eight different companies throughout Australia currently own C44aci model locomotives: Pacific National owns the 92 and 93 Classes; Aurizon owns the 6000, 6020, ACA, ACB and ACC Classes, and two CF Class units; Centennial Coal owns the CEY Class; Chicago Freight Car Leasing Australia owns ten CF Class units; Genesee & Wyoming Australia owns the XRN and GWU Classes; Mineral Resources Limited owns the MRL Class; Fletcher International Exports owns the FIE Class; and Crawfords Freightlines owns the PHC Class.

 

The 92 Class and the 6000 Class have a traction output of 3184 kW while the other classes have a traction output of 3248 kW. This rating is almost three times more powerful than many of Australia’s first mainline diesels. Although all C44aci units share the same design and most of the same features, slight variations exist between some different classes.

 

C44aci model locomotives currently in service throughout Australia are listed below in order of their first entry to service. 

Class       Owner                                  Current Road Numbers

92            Pacific National                 9201–15

6000        Aurizon                              6001–6008, 6010–12, 6041–2

XRN        GWA                                  XRN001–30

ACA        Aurizon                              ACA6009

ACB        Aurizon                              ACB4401–6

CF          Aurizon; CFCLA                CF4401, CF4409 (Aurizon); CF4402–8, 

                                                         CF4410–12 (CFCL Australia)

CEY        Centennial Coal                CEY001–7

GWU       GWA                                 GWU001–9

6020       Aurizon                              6021–9

93            Pacific National                9301–20

ACC         Aurizon                            ACC6030–2

MRL         MRL                                 MRL001–6

FIE           FIE                                   FIE001–3

PHC        Crawfords Freightlines      PHC001–2

Class leader of the 92 Class, 9201, began trials on 15 August 2008, and after testing in the north-west of New South Wales, it returned to the manufacturer for painting. 9201, 9203 and 9202 hauled their first train after testing had been completed from Port Waratah to Ulan and return on 4 October. All 15 class members were in operation by the middle of March 2009. The 92 Class was designed for heavy coal haulage and intermodal freight operations. They are in service working Hunter Valley coal traffic in New South Wales, and are painted in Pacific National’s blue and yellow livery.

 

The 6000 Class began service when class leader 6001 was released to traffic on 30 September 2009. Twelve units were in service by the middle of August 2010, and an additional two arrived in 2017. They have been used in a range of duties, including Hunter Valley coal working and Melbourne–Adelaide intermodal service. They are painted in Aurizon’s yellow, grey, red and orange livery. Six members of the class were reclassified as the ACA Class for use in Western Australia, but later returned to their original designation. 6009 was again reclassified as ACA6009 and transferred to Western Australia in 2017.

 

The XRN Class entered service with mining company Xstrata, and XRN001 underwent its first light engine trial on 5 August 2010. They operate in Hunter Valley coal haulage. A total of 30 XRN Class units were in service by 2012, representing Australia’s largest fleet of C44aci units. They came into the ownership of Glencore when Xstrata was acquired by Glencore in 2013, and then Glencore was itself purchased by Genesee & Wyoming Australia in 2016. Most of the XRN Class members remain in Glencore’s yellow, grey and blue livery, but they are being progressively repainted into Genesee & Wyoming Australia’s orange and black livery.

 

The ACA Class locomotives first entered service as members of Aurizon’s 6000 Class. From October 2011 to February 2012 six units were reclassified as the ACA Class for use in Western Australia, but later returned to their original designation. 6009 was again reclassified as an ACA Class unit and transferred to Western Australia in September 2017. It is used in freight service with Aurizon.

 

The ACB Class units are in operation in freight service with Aurizon on standard gauge tracks in Western Australia. They were built in New South Wales and then hauled dead to Western Australia. Class leader ACB4401 arrived in Perth on 26 September 2011. It underwent trials before entering service on 9 December. All six ACB members were in service by the end of February 2012. They are painted in Aurizon’s yellow, grey, red and orange livery.

 

Twelve of the CF Class units entered service with Chicago Freight Car Leasing Australia from 2011 to 2013. The first three members were delivered on 9 December 2011 and the class was officially launched in a ceremony at Goulburn, New South Wales, on 16 December. CF4402 hauled a special train for invited guests from Goulburn to Moss Vale and return. The CF Class are in service in various areas: six are operating with CFCL Australia in New South Wales; units CF4403, CF4405, CF4406 and CF4410 are leased to Rio Tinto for operation in the Pilbara region of Western Australia; CF4401 and CF4409 are now in service with Aurizon after being sold in 2016. Most CF units are painted in CFCL Australia’s blue, grey and yellow livery. CF4407 and CF4408 are in Freightliner’s yellow and green livery, and CF4412 is painted in black and pink livery, the same colours worn by the jockey of the racehorse Black Caviar.

 

Seven members of the CEY Class entered service in February and March 2012. They are owned by New South Wales-based mining company Centennial Coal, but are operated by Southern Shorthaul Railroad. The CEY Class are the only locomotives owned by Centennial Coal. They are painted in Centennial Coal’s yellow and green livery but also bear the Southern Shorthaul Railroad logo.

 

Nine of the GWU Class units entered service in 2012. GWU001 and GWU002 undertook a light engine trial between the manufacturer’s Broadmeadow plant and Maitland on 1 March 2012. GWU001, GWU002 and GWU003 commenced their delivery run to South Australia on 4 April. The GWU Class are part of the Genesee & Wyoming Australia standard gauge fleet. Six are based in South Australia, where they are used in freight service. Three are used as trailing units behind XRN Class locomotives in Hunter Valley coal service. They are painted in Genesee & Wyoming Australia’s orange and black livery.

 

The 6020 Class also commenced duties in 2012. Class leader 6021 had its first trial on 17 August 2012 and was released to traffic on 29 August. Nine members were in service by the end of 2012. The 6020 Class units are primarily used for intermodal traffic. They are painted in Aurizon’s yellow, grey, red and orange livery.

 

Seventeen of the 93 Class locomotives entered service from 2012 to 2014, with a further three entering service in 2017. The first two units, 9301 and 9302, undertook trials on 28 June 2012 and were delivered to service on 5 July. Pacific National ordered these locomotives for intermodal service between Melbourne and Brisbane, although they have been used for other duties, such as hauling The Overland passenger train between Melbourne and Adelaide. They are painted in Pacific National’s blue and yellow livery.

 

Three units that had been ordered as part of Aurizon’s 6020 Class were reclassified as the ACC Class before delivery, prior to being assigned to duties in Western Australia. ACC6030 and ACC6031 undertook their first light engine trial between Broadmeadow and Maitland on 14 December 2012. ACC6031 became the 500th locomotive to be manufactured by UGL Limited and its predecessor companies in Australia. In January 2013 units ACC6030 and ACC6031 hauled various freight trains between Broadmeadow and Adelaide, from where they were hauled dead to Perth. All three class members entered service in early 2013 and operate in standard gauge freight haulage in Western Australia. They are painted in Aurizon’s yellow, grey, red and orange livery.

 

Six MRL Class locomotives were obtained by Mineral Resources Limited in 2014 for iron ore haulage in the Yilgarn region in the mid-west of Western Australia. MRL001 and MRL003 commenced their delivery run from Broadmeadow to Perth on 21 May 2014, and all six units were operational by the end of September. They are the only locomotives owned by Mineral Resources Limited. Although Mineral Resources Limited owns the locomotives, crewing and train operation is contracted to Pacific National. They are painted in Mineral Resources Limited’s red and grey livery.

 

The FIE Class consists of three units that are owned by Fletchers International Exports, but are operated by Southern Shorthaul Railroad. They are utilised hauling intermodal container traffic between Dubbo in the Central West region of New South Wales and Port Botany in Sydney. All three members of the class undertook trials in December 2014 and then entered service on 15 January 2015. The three units typically operate together and are painted in Fletchers International Exports’ red, blue and white livery.

 

Two PHC Class locomotives are owned by Crawfords Freightlines to operate their container services between Sandgate (near Newcastle) and Port Botany in Sydney. After trials on 25 February 2016, they entered service on 4 March. PHC001 is named Carrot and PHC002 is named Spud because owner Peter Crawford previously grew vegetables on his farm at Singleton. They are painted in Crawfords Freightlines’ red, grey and white livery.

 

A total of 136 of the C44aci model locomotives entered service in Australia from 2008 to 2017, and all remain in service. The C44aci model locomotives have been used in a wide range of duties and have become an integral part of freight train haulage across many regions of Australia.

 

 

References

Clark, PJ, An Australian locomotive guide, 2nd edn, Rosenberg, Sydney, 2015.

Motive Power, various issues.

Railpage <www.railpage.com.au>.

Walters, C, B Peadon & B Baker, A guide to Australasian locomotion, 2011 edn, Australian Railway Historical Society, New South Wales Division,

          Sydney, 2011.

Southern Shorthaul Railroad locomotives CEY005, CEY007 and CEY006 with a Down empty coal train between Blackheath and Mount Victoria in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, 12 May 2012.

Pacific National locomotives 9308, 9309 and 9304 with an Up steel train, Menangle bridge, New South Wales, 15 April 2013.