Commonwealth Railways GM class

The GM class are a class of diesel locomotives built by Clyde Engineering, Granville for the Commonwealth Railways in several batches between 1951 and 1967. As at January 2014 some remain in service with Genesee & Wyoming Australia and Southern Shorthaul Railroad.

Commonwealth Railways GM class
Three Genesee & Wyoming Australia GM class locomotives in April 2008
Type and origin
Power typeDiesel-electric
BuilderClyde Engineering, Granville
ModelElectro-Motive Diesel ML1, later model A16C
Build date1951-1967
Total produced47
 • UICGM1-11 A1A-A1A
GM12-47 Co-Co
Gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Fuel typeDiesel
Engine typeV16
Performance figures
Power outputGM1-11 1,119 kW (1,501 hp),
GM12-47 1,305 kW (1,750 hp)
OperatorsCommonwealth Railways
Number in class47
PreservedGM1, GM2, GM28, GM36
Current ownerGenesee & Wyoming Australia
Southern Shorthaul Railroad
Disposition4 in service, 3 preserved, 14 stored, 26 scrapped


Preserved GM2 at the National Railway Museum in July 2010
Two GM class on the Trans-Australian at Rawlinna in May 1986
GM43 at Mount Gambier while on broad gauge in April 1995
Genesee & Wyoming Australia GM43 and two other GM class locomotives in April 2008

The design was based on the Electro-Motive Diesel EMD F7 locomotive.[1] The first 11 were delivered with EMD 16-567B, 1119 kW engines and four powered axles with the remainder having 16-567C, 1305 kW engines and six powered axles. The final 11 were fitted with dynamic braking.[2]

Delivered to operate on the standard gauge Trans-Australian Railway, the first entered service in September 1951. Further orders saw 47 in service by December 1967. They operated on all of Commonwealth Railways's standard gauge lines including those to Broken Hill, Alice Springs and Adelaide when converted to standard gauge in 1970, 1980 and 1982 respectively.

In January 1972, three (31, 32 & 34) were loaned to the Victorian Railways for use on the North East line. The latter two were returned in May 1976, the former in November 1976.[3]

In July 1975 all were included in the transfer of Commonwealth Railways to Australian National. In 1979 a few operated to Lithgow, New South Wales on trials, while in October 1983 three (23, 24 & 28) were hired to V/Line returning in October 1985.[3][4]

The GM class were manufactured for standard gauge use, some of the locomotives were converted to operate on 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm) broad gauge for some of their lives.

Apart from one destroyed in an accident in 1985, withdrawals began in 1988.[2] GM1 was placed on a plinth in Port Augusta, GM2 was donated to the National Railway Museum, Port Adelaide and GM3 to Clyde Engineering, Kelso.[5] By October 1994 only 15 remained in service.[6] A locomotive shortage saw Australian Southern Railroad return GM1 to service in December 1997.[7]

In 1998 Great Northern Rail Services purchased 12 from Australian Southern Railroad.[8] Most were scrapped for parts with only three returning to service seeing use in Melbourne and Sydney. Following Great Northern ceasing operations in 2003, these were sold to Chicago Freight Car Leasing Australia before being resold to Southern Shorthaul Railroad.[2]

In May 2005 Australian Railroad Group forwarded GM30 to Forrestfield workshops to be receive a 2237 kW engine, as fitted to the CLs. The project was never completed and the shell was scrapped.[2][9]

In November 2010 the Department for Infrastructure & Transport placed GM1 in the custody of Rail Heritage WA.[10] In May 2012 Clyde Engineering sold GM3 to Southern Shorthaul Railroad and it was transferred to their Lithgow State Mine Heritage Park & Railway workshop for overhaul.

As at September 2015 most of the Genesee & Wyoming Australia units are stored serviceable due to more modern power available for freight services in South Australia while the Southern Shorthaul Railroad units are used on infrastructure trains in New South Wales.[11][12][13][14]

Status tableEdit

Locomotive Entered Service Current Owner Livery Status
GM1 September 1951 Rail Heritage WA CR Maroon/Silver Stored, Parkes
GM2 November 1951 National Railway Museum CR Maroon/Silver Static Display
GM3 December 1951 Southern Shorthaul Railroad CR Maroon/Silver Stored, Lithgow State Mine Heritage Park & Railway
GM4 January 1952 - - Scrapped
GM5 January 1952 - - Scrapped
GM6 February 1952 - - Scrapped
GM7 March 1952 - - Scrapped
GM8 March 1952 - - Scrapped
GM9 April 1952 - - Scrapped
GM10 June 1952 Southern Shorthaul Railroad SSR Yellow Operational
GM11 July 1952 - - Scrapped
GM12 October 1955 Greentrains AN Green Stored, North Bendigo
GM13 November 1955 - - Scrapped
GM14 April 1956 - - Scrapped
GM15 April 1956 - - Scrapped
GM16 July 1956 - - Scrapped
GM17 March 1957 - - Scrapped
GM18 April 1957 - - Scrapped
GM19 May 1957 Railpower AN Green Overhaul, Goulburn Rail Heritage Centre
GM20 June 1957 - - Scrapped
GM21 July 1957 - - Scrapped
GM22 July 1962 Southern Shorthaul Railroad SSR Yellow Operational
GM23 August 1962 - - Scrapped
GM24 September 1962 - - Scrapped
GM25 October 1962 AN Green Scrapped
GM26 November 1962 - - Scrapped
GM27 January 1963 Southern Shorthaul Railroad SSR Yellow Operational
GM28 February 1963 Seymour Railway Heritage Centre CR Maroon/Silver Under overhaul
GM29 March 1963 - - Scrapped
GM30 December 1964 - Undercoat Scrapped
GM31 January 1965 - - Scrapped
GM32 January 1965 - - Scrapped
GM33 March 1965 - - Scrapped
GM34 April 1965 Genesee & Wyoming Australia AN Green Scrapped
GM35 April 1966 - - Scrapped
GM36 May 1966 Seymour Railway Heritage Centre CR Maroon/Silver Stored
GM37 June 1966 Genesee & Wyoming Australia GW Orange Operational
GM38 June 1966 Genesee & Wyoming Australia AN Green Stored
GM39 July 1966 - - Scrapped
GM40 January 1967 Genesee & Wyoming Australia AN Green Stored
GM41 February 1967 - - Scrapped, cab preserved
GM42 February 1967 Genesee & Wyoming Australia GW Orange Stored
GM43 March 1967 Genesee & Wyoming Australia GW Orange Operational
GM44 April 1967 Genesee & Wyoming Australia GW Orange Stored
GM45 May 1967 Genesee & Wyoming Australia GW Orange Operational
GM46 June 1967 Genesee & Wyoming Australia AN Green Stored
GM47 December 1967 Genesee & Wyoming Australia GW Orange Stored



  1. ^ GM1-class A1A-A1A diesel-electric locomotive No.2 National Railway Museum
  2. ^ a b c d Oberg, Leon (1980). Diesel Locomotives of Australia. Sydney: AH & AW Reed. p. 283. ISBN 0 589 50211 5.
  3. ^ a b Bromby, Robyn (1988). Australian Rail Annual 1988. Sutherland: Sherbourne Sutherland Publishing. pp. 10/11. ISBN 1 86275 004 1.
  4. ^ "Victorian Standard Gauge Report" Railway Digest July 1985 page 201
  5. ^ "GM3" Railway Digest November 1990 page 395
  6. ^ "South Australian Motive Power Update" Railway Digest October 1994 page 14
  7. ^ "SA Snapshot" Railway Digest February 1998 page 31
  8. ^ "Great Northern Puts Faith in GM Chant" Railway Digest November 1998 page 16
  9. ^ Issue 104/10[permanent dead link] West Australian Railscene e-mag 11 October 2010
  10. ^ GM1 Rail Heritage WA 2 November 2010
  11. ^ Standard Gauge GM Chris' Commonwealth Railway Pages
  12. ^ GM Class (GM1 to GM11) Railpage
  13. ^ GM Class (GM12 to GM47) Railpage
  14. ^ GM Class Vicsig


  • Fluck, Ronald E; Marshall, Barry; Wilson, John (1996). Locomotives and Railcars of the Commonwealth Railways. Welland, SA: Gresley Publishing. ISBN 1876216018.