Locomotives in the Tropics 3 - John Armstrong (BOOK)



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Locomotives in the Tropics 3 - John Armstrong (BOOK)

Before the first main line diesel electric locomotives entered service in Queensland late in 1952 the railway Mechanical branch already had experience with diesel engine powered rail vehicles. But that experience was with railcars rather than locomotives. It did have a small diesel mechanical unit DLL (see Chapter 8 Volume 2) that had been built at Ipswich Railway Works in 1939. This DLL was the first diesel locomotive built and owned by an Australian government rail system. But it bore little relationship to the newer and much more powerful machines coming on the market.

Historically, it was the early locomotive builders who designed as well as built steam locomotives and this practice continued for some decades in the nineteenth century before railways themselves undertook the work. From then the design was generally accredited to the head of each railway's engineering branch. In mane countries he was called the Locomotive Engineer or later, the Chief Mechanical Engineer. Of course it was his Chief Draftsman or Designing engineers and drawing office staff that was responsible for detailed design work. But the names Churchward, Chapelon, Drummond, Gresley, Mallet, Shay, Porta, Starrier and others were synonymous with steam locomotive design. In Australia the names of Clapp, Horniblow, Lucy and Young could be added.

The introduction of diesel electric locomotives saw a repeat of history. They were developed and supplied by specialist manufacturers, a situation that has prevailed in Australia for the last fifty years and has also largely transferred to the production of electric locomotives. Certainly, railway engineers have their input. They set the requirements and often the specifications. They have also had to keep them operating satisfactorily after their introduction, sometimes modifying them, to do so. But it is the big manufacturer whose name is associated with the diesel locomotive. In this country the names English Electric, General Electric and General Motors Corporation are associated with them through their Australian representatives or licensees Australian General Electric and Goninans, Clyde Engineering (Clyde-GM), Commonwealth Engineering, or Walkers Limited, and today's consortium EDI Rail of ANI-Evans Deakin Industries involving some of these former competitors.

There was a vast difference in expectations of the performance of diesel locomotives between the time little DL1 was built and 1950 when the first examples of the new motive power were ordered for Queensland...........

By John Armstrong
196 Pages, Colour, B&W, Gloss, Soft Cover

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