Downer Rail GT46C (EMD)

Update: I completely forgot about this crazy video on YouTube! Although the GT46C-ACe only weighs 150 tons it's still a hell of a drop from the crane.



This week's topic, an Australian locomotive called GT46C using EMD technology and components should not be confused with another EMD export, the GT46 for India.

The Aussie GT46 is in fact designed and built by a firm called Downer Rail, a company came from the merger of the familiar Clyde Engineering, an overseas General Motors locomotive builder, and another Australian rail equipment engineering company called Walker. Major components of the GT46C mirror those of the popular SD70 roaming the North American railroad network (so yes, they have 16-710 engines!). The trucks on the GT46C though look to be of a different and perhaps more locally flavored design, instead of the HTC-R we come to know well on this end of the world.


Unlike the SD70 though (since these are built for the former National Rail system in Australia, not the famous heavy haul mining railroads), the GT46C weighs a lot less and comes at just around 150 tons (1 short ton = 2 000 lbs) Gross Rail Load (GRL, a good acronym to know), i.e. slightly heavier than a loaded standard North American freight car, which comes at 286 000 lbs.


There is a couple of versions of the GT46C, which I may as well cover at once, since to be completely honest, I can't really find much info on them (maybe not looking hard enough...). However I must say that the more overseas EMDs I find, especially the hidden ones with a different manufacturer's badge, the more intrigued I become by them. There's the first version, the GT46C (the model number is interesting really, GT has long been used by EMD to designate export models, but this loco here isn't exactly one, the Indian GT46 is, however), 46 for no particular reason that I can discover, C most likely for C-C axle arrangement (i.e. 3 powered axles per truck x 2 trucks). Then there's a more recent and advanced version with AC traction motors, called (did you guess it?) GT46C-ACe, sort of the Aussies' own SD70ACe (but their mining railroads do import low clearance version of the SD70ACe as road power).

The GT46C-ACe, notice the larger rad fan compartment on the long hood, a spotting feature that also distinguishes the newer versions from older SD70s
The GT46C locomotives are used by quite a few railroads under their own classification numbers. The biggest of these operators are Aurizon, SCT Logistics, Genesee & Wyoming, and Pacific National.

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