Commonwealth Railways CL Class

I'm gonna write about this CL class from the former Commonwealth Railways of Australia. It is a very interesting locomotive, especially to those of us in North America, where the legendary bulldog nose on the F and E Units can only be found in nostalgia. The CL Class, still in service today, is the latest General Motors locomotive to feature that beautiful, streamlined, and timeless nose design.

Bulldog nose and porthole windows, what a classic design
Mechanically, the CL Class was an General Motors SD40, with all the parts we knew and were familiar with, when it was first designed and manufactured in the late 1960s and early 1970s by Clyde Engineering of Australia. This class of locomotives was operated from coast to coast between Sydney and Perth, Adelaide and Darwin by Commonwealth Railways and its successor Australian National.

On the side, I have a theory on why the CL class is named CL class. There is this other locomotive introduced in Australia by the Western Australia Government Railways a year before the CL Class and it's called the L Class. The L Class as we know it in North America, is the vastly popular SD40.

In the early 1990s, the CL Class of locomotives was contracted to be rebuilt by Morrison Knudsen Australia and it was split into two classes, CLF for freight service, and CLP with head end power for passenger service (or what was left of it).

Rebuilt CL Class in Genesee & Wyoming color scheme looking pretty sharp
Today, the CL Class locomotives are still going strong. Since the privatisation (and dismantling) of Australian National, these locomotives ended up in the hands of Aurizon (formerly known as QR National) and Genesee & Wyoming Australia.


Anonymous said…
Since the privatization of Australian railways, there has been a myriad of owners and paint schemes. The locos in the background of the video belong to Chicago Freight Forwarding, another US owned operation. Good times for a railfan.
Andrew Kerr
Sydney, Australia

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