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8180 and 8129 hauling a rake of grain wagons westward, Old Kangaloon Rd crossing, west of Robertson, 16 January 2015.

Pacific National locomotives TT131, 9312 and TT117 on the coal roads passing Tarro with an Up coal train, 20 April 2017.

Pacific National Locomotive Fleet

David Matheson

 27 December 2020

Pacific National is one the largest rail freight operators in Australia, with trains operating in all mainland states and territories.  Freight traffic includes coal, grain, steel and intermodal freight. Its fleet consists of over 600 locomotives and around 13,000 wagons. Two broad business areas of Pacific National are national intermodal freight haulage and bulk haulage.  National intermodal freight haulage includes interstate containerised freight services, interstate steel freight services, regional freight rail services in Queensland, and the provision of locomotives for passenger trains. Pacific National transports approximately 70 per cent of the long-haul intermodal freight in Australia.


Bulk haulage includes coal, grain, minerals, concentrates and construction materials. Pacific National is the second-largest coal rail haulage provider in Australia, with over 41 per cent of export coal haulage. In the 2014–15 year Pacific National transported around 72 per cent of the coal haulage market in New South Wales and around 26 per cent in Queensland. In New South Wales coal trains operate from mines in the Hunter Valley, Illawarra, Lithgow, Mudgee and Gunnedah regions, with coal for export being hauled to the ports of Newcastle and Port Kembla. Coal is also transported to power stations and steelworks. In Queensland Pacific National operates from mines in the Bowen Basin through the Goonyella, Blackwater and Newlands rail systems. Additionally, Pacific National carries around 75 per cent of grain hauled by rail in the eastern states of Australia.


Pacific National was formed in 2002 when a joint venture between Toll Holdings and Patrick acquired the assets of the National Rail Corporation and the New South Wales Government operator FreightCorp. In 2007 Pacific National was purchased by Asciano, but in 2016 it broke away to become a standalone company when it was sold to Australian Logistics Acquisition Investments.


In October 2020 the Pacific National Fleet consisted of 621 locomotives of 32 different classes. Most of these locomotives were in service, although 65 were stored at various locations.


The following classes are represented in the current Pacific National fleet.
















































Some of the classes indicated above also have units in service with other operators.


A few interesting features of the Pacific National fleet are noted below.

  • The oldest locomotives in the Pacific National fleet are S306 and S307. These units entered service with Victorian Railways in 1957 and are now over 60 years old. They are currently stored.

  • The newest locomotives in the fleet are PH Class units PH001, PH002 and PH003, which entered service in 2019.

  • The most numerous class is the NR Class, of which there are 119 units in service.

  • The most powerful locomotives in the fleet are the 71 Class electric units, which have a traction output of 4000 kW.



‘Australia wide fleet list 2020’, Motive Power, issue 132, November/December 2020.

Bray, N, PJ Vincent & DM Gregory, Hidden treasures & epilogue: a brief history of Victorian Railways, Brief History Books, Melbourne, 2014.

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

Oberg, L, Locomotives of Australia: 1854 to 2007, 5th edn, Rosenberg, Sydney, 2010.

Pacific National, <>.

Peadon, B, ‘Port Kembla Steelworks fleet update’, April 2015 <>.

Railpage <>.

Scott, J, Power to the rails: a history of Victoria’s diesel and electric locomotives, John Scott, Melbourne, 2011.

Walters, C, A guide to Australasian locomotion, 2020 edn, Australian Railway Historical Society, New South Wales Division, Sydney, 2020.

PN Locomotive Fleet-table 1.jpg
PN Locomotive Fleet-table 2.jpg

8224 and 8225 with an Up freight, Taree, 12 July 2020.

Pacific National locomotives NR60, LDP009 and NR48 with a Down freight train approaching Warnervale station, 9 October 2020.

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