Victorian Railways H class

Victorian Railways H Class

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Victorian Railways H class

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The H class was an express passenger steam locomotive that ran on Victorian Railways from 1941 to 1958. Intended to eliminate the use of double heading A2 class locomotives on Overland services on the steeply graded Western line to Adelaide, wartime restrictions led to only one locomotive being built. Nicknamed "Heavy Harry", H 220 was the largest locomotive ever built in Australia and the largest non-articulated steam locomotive to run on Australian railways.


By the late 1930s, the aging A2 class 4-6-0 locomotives, first introduced in 1907, were hauling passenger trains far heavier than those for which their designers had intended them. The S class 4-6-2 'Pacifics' had displaced them from North-eastern line services from 1928 onwards and allowed a faster timetable to be introduced; however, a Pacific-type locomotive was not necessarily ideally suited for the Western line. The section between Melbourne and Ballarat had sharply curved, steep inclines, the most notorious of which was the 10-mile, 1 in 48 gradient of the Ingliston bank. The VR opted to design a new locomotive for the task.

Design brief

In 1936, the major design requirements were finalised by the Victorian Railways Design Office for a steam locomotive that was capable of hauling a load of 550 tons (560 t) at minimum 20 mph (32 km/h) up Ingliston Bank. In order to develop the power required, a very large grate was...
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