The Fearsome 46's - all things 46 class electric loco

  GrahamH Chief Commissioner

Location: At a terminal on the www.
A short regular afternoon working from Lithgow to Mt Victoria hauled by 4634 in July 1972.

A Down goods train hauled by 4613 departing Hornsby in 1966. Both pans raised, apparently.

The inaugural Indian Pacific train with two 46s waiting to depart from Sydney Terminal on the evening of 23/02/1970.

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  SydneyCider Locomotive Driver


- I have also added 4620 to the main locomotive detailed listing on pg 1.

August 1962. 4620 at Gosford

13 May 1975. 4620 waiting to depart Clyde Yards with Lachlan Valley Railway empty car working with steam loco 5917

18 January 1977. Granville disaster. Photo of 4620 on it's side

20 January 1977 Daily Telegraph "Second Crash by Jinx Loco"
- Mentions of involvement in Wentworth Falls derailment when 4620 left the rails at 160kmh on July 16, 1965 while hauling wagons loaded with cement
- Mentions every truck on 44-unit goods train was wrecked but driver and 2 crewmen escaped injury
- The train ended up a pile of twisted and torn steel alongside the railway line only a few yards from Wentworth Falls railway station
- Claims that on that occasion air brakes on train failed just out of Katoomba and train built up to 160kmh down the 7km decline to Wentworth Falls

20 January 1977. Daily Mirror "Death Train to Return"
- Shows photo of 4620 after damage sustained in 1965 wentworth falls derailment
- Mentions that 4620 will probably be repaired and resume the Sydney-blue mountains run but also notes that the move would probably be strongly opposed by relatives of those injured or killed
- Spokesman to PTC didn't believe there was anything "supernatural" about the loco because of 1965 and 1977 accidents and shouldn't be automatically written off just because it has derailed. Mentions that no-one died in the 1965 derailment.
- Minister for Transport Mr Cox said that 4620 had been repaired and thoroughly examined before return to service after 1965 derailment.
- All 46 class locos in fleet were checked following Granville accident to ensure they were safe. All were found safe and later returned to service
- NSW secretary of Australian Union of Locomotive Enginement Bernie Willingale said that 4620 could be back in service in 3 months

21 January 1977 Daily Telegraph "Union Ready to have Crash Loco Back"
- NSW President of Australian federated Union of Locomotive Enginemen Mr. E R Booth denied that 4620 was jinxed and was prepared to drive it if it went back into service. He also expected it to be back in service in 3 or 4 months
- Union officials said there was no talk of banning 4620
- Mentions that 4620 was also involved in 160kmh derailment at Wentworth Falls in July 1965

More on Flickr:

9 November 1979. 4620 stripped and body pushed onto side at Chullora, probably just before scrapping (website source:

Granville accident as covered by Channel 7 News 18 Jan 1977

Videos (pre-entered search for "granville 1977" in youtube will show good list as below)
  NSWRcars Chief Train Controller


20 January 1977 Daily Telegraph "Second Crash by Jinx Loco"
- Mentions of involvement in Wentworth Falls derailment when 4620 left the rails at 160kmh on July 16, 1965 while hauling wagons loaded with cement
- Mentions every truck on 44-unit goods train was wrecked but driver and 2 crewmen escaped injury
- The train ended up a pile of twisted and torn steel alongside the railway line only a few yards from Wentworth Falls railway station
- Claims that on that occasion air brakes on train failed just out of Katoomba and train built up to 160kmh down the 7km decline to Wentworth Falls

Photos of the 1965 Wentworth Falls derailment can be found here:

Note 4620’s spoked driving wheels.
  SydneyCider Locomotive Driver

GrahamH and NSWRcars thanks for contributing those interesting photos. Looking at the damage sustained to 4620 in 1965 I wonder why they didn't choose to re-build 4620 again in 1977 based on the initial comments in the papers that there was no immediate/automatic decision to write the loco off? I wonder if the final report into the inquiry made any recommendations that the loco not be retained? or perhaps it was a case of 2 strikes and you are out or the fact that there would perhaps be numerous people who would not be happy to see it in service again after the disaster?
  SydneyCider Locomotive Driver

In this post I will summarise some of the details from my copy of the May 1993 Railway Digest which i dusted off this weekend which gave a short, yet very information rich report on the status of the 46 class and the early withdrawals at that time.

May 1993 Railway Digest page 191

46 class report
- mentions that long term future of this class is at best described as uncertain.
- mentions short term plan is to have 31 of 39 locos retained for service. (4620 since long gone)
- the remaining 8 locos  were to have had their bogies removed and were at the time sitting on ground at various sites waiting to provide spare parts to other members of the class
- mentions that at present there is one set of bogies at Clyde, Kelso, off 4633, one set at Goninans, Newcastle off 4637 and one set at GEC, Rocklea, QLD off 4635. Mentions body of 4635 is also at Rocklea.
- mentions 4637 was brought to Lithgow by road on Nov 13 1992 and placed on 4634's bogies
- mentions the withdrawn 46's are those that were not rebuilt or rewired and have unmodified cabs. Such units having been banned from leading unit status by the AFULE.

Gives list of withdrawn units as follows:-
- 4619 was removed from service April 15, 1992 and stored at Chullora. It was moved to Lithgow during Feb 1993. Unit is to be stripped, bogies removed and placed in 'Lawn Cemetery' at Lithgow Loco.
- 4631, 4632, 4633 and 4634 are at Lithgow and have had their bogies removed, stripped and have been put out to grass.
- 4635 was towed to GEC, Rocklea, QLD on September 11, 1991 for bogie overhaul. The body will eventually make trip to Lithgow for stripping.
- 4636 is currently in traffic but will shortly be stripped and put out to grass at Lithgow. (NOTE: 4636 was last of these 46's that were not re-built/re-wired to be withdrawn. It was pulled from service in February 1994)
- 4640 is currently stored at DELEC having been stripped and will shortly be transferred to Lithgow.
- 4618 was in storage at Chullora and on January 11, 1993 was transferred to Lithgow and on March 20, 1993 it's bogies were removed and placed under 4638.
- The body of 4618 was placed on one of the turntable roads at Lithgow where it will be kept until some replacement bogies arrive. It will then undergo an overhaul and be returned to service. (NOTE: This didn't end up happening and the loco was subsequently put out to grass)

It's worth noting that it seems overwhelmingly most of these earlier (1989 - 1992) withdrawn units  that hadn't been re-built/re-wired still featured all 3 of the round portal windows on the side of the loco and single head lamps. 4636 was one of these but lasted a bit longer (withdrawn 08 Feb 1994). All of these locos, including 4636 were mass scrapped on December 6, 1994 after they were stripped for spares and bogies retained for the rest of the fleet which remained operational for about another 1-2 years. The ones that were then slowly withdrawn in 1994 - 1996 and mass scrapped in mid to late 1998 had 2 of the windows on the side (the middle window panel was replaced with an additional vent panel and probably had something to do with having been re-wired or had a big overhaul that these others never got). Most of these also had the double head lamps. It's interesting that most of these earlier withdrawn units were all in the 463x range, probably because they were due for a big overhaul later after most of the older 46's were done, however when the time came around in the early 1990's it was decided to wind down the 46 class and as such it never happened. Below is a list of those scrapped on December 6, 1994 as per above.

4618 withdrawn 28 Dec 1989
4619 withdrawn 27 May 1992
4631 withdrawn 10 Jan 1991
4632 withdrawn 30 July 1991
4633 withdrawn 30 July 1991
4634 withdrawn 30 July 1991
4635 withdrawn 12 Feb 1991
4636 withdrawn 08 Feb 1994
4637 withdrawn 12 Feb 1991
4640 withdrawn 18 Oct 1990

Photos of some of these early withdrawn units to be scrapped

25 September 1991. 4640 with 48114 at DELEC

c. 1990s. 4640 and 7341 at DELEC. Shows 4640 stripped including its resistor bank, which is open

c. 1991. 4640 at DELEC jacked up waiting for exchange bogies

c. 1992. 4637 withdrawn and set aside for scrapping with 3 others on "rotten row" at Lithgow loco depot c. 1992

c. 1992. 4637 sitting on "rotten row" with bunch of other 46's that had already been withdrawn from service.  Lithgow loco depot

c. 1992 4632, 4629 and others. 4632 is body only lithgow loco

c. 1992 4632 4631 at Lithgow Loco depot bodies only

06 March 1993. Lithgow loco depot Stored, 4637, 4618, 4628 and 4635 at Lithgow Loco Depot

06 March 1993. Bodies only of 4619 and 4632 Lithgow Loco depot

06 March 1993. Bodies only of 4633 and 4634 at Lithgow loco

24 July 1993. 4631 and 4632 at Lithgow loco depot body only

04 Oct 1993 Lithgow Loco Depot. 4619 body only with in background 4612 and other diesels

18 Jan 1994. 4618 and 4619.

c. 1994. 4640 and long string goodwin alco 48 class at DELEC

c. 1994 4631, 4632, 4633 Lithgow Loco depot body only

18 Jan 1994 4633, 4632, 4631, 4634 at Lithgow Loco

c. 1994 4631, 4632, 4633 bodies only at Lithgow Loco

18 Jan 1994 4635 at Lithgow Loco

October 1994. 4634 and other 46's
  SydneyCider Locomotive Driver

In this post I will list videos showing any of the scrapped 46's in action. (will be updated over time if any further videos are found)

Update: 5 May 2017

4501/7100 prototype and a 46 class at Parramatta in late 1950's / early 1960's 4:40

46's to scrap Thu July 9 1998. Movement of 46 class locos stored at Redfern to Sims Metal at Mascot to be cut up for scrap

46xx/46xx in 1987 with coal train Tickhole Tunnel Newcastle 1987 at 3:00

46xx/46xx/46xx freight 1987 tickhole tunnel newcastle (4:42)

Electric locos sydney underground Aug 1993 because of diversions shows 4622/4606/4639

4604 Oct 22 1994 hauling NSW RTM Farewell to 46 class tour around sydney

4625/46x6 in 1987 going through Wondabyne with north bound freight

4636/46xx hauling Indian Pacific through Lidcombe to Sydney at 4:50 (12 Oct 1984 at 3:35pm)

4639/4625 Up goods Fassifern. 2 locos proceed down Fassifern bank with up goods on 10 April 1986

4605/46xx at Enfield yard Delec at 8:13

4632/46xx/4629 passing through enfield north with freight train probably late 1980s or early 1990s
  MILW Junior Train Controller

Location: Earth
The 46s were always one of the best locomotives in NSW but got relatively little attention. It was a pity to see 4638 rotting away outside at Broadmeadow.
  SydneyCider Locomotive Driver

Yes, hopefully there will be a happy ending for 4638, it's amazing to see her in original livery on tours. From what I've seen of the photos the team at Valley Heights have done an amazing job with the restoration of 4601, although not sure if that loco can/will run again. It would be amazing to have the class leader and first of it's type in service which also had honours as the leading unit to haul the first ever Indian Pacific in operating condition, but that is all much easier said than done. From the videos I have seen and judging by the posts on this forum, it seems the 46's have plenty of fans and the videos show the tours being popular. The tours that these could take part in are also of interesting nature because of the locations they typically ran on for commuter traffic, ie, through the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury River, etc and it would be interesting to see them being attached for banking duties/assists for steam services - as they were used back in the day, adding an extra, interesting dimension to steam tours through these locations.

Pics for this post!  

1960's 4632 passing on the main down through Burwood near the overpass bridge adjacent to Burwood Public school

1960's 46 class with commuter train at Sydney Terminal in distance one can see a U-set

1960's 4611 at Enfield South

c. 1974 4603/46xx at Lithgow waiting on Indian Pacific

c. 1975 4636 returning after banking duties

Dec 1977 4608/46xx at Gosford

Dec 1977 4606/46xx at Mt. Victoria

14 June 1980 5917 arrives at Katoomba, assisted up the steep gradients by 4629 from Penrith

1981 4628/4615 on main west

April 6, 1982 4629 Gosford commuter service

1982 4634 approaches Strathfield with short commuter

late 1983 4630, 4609 and another 46 at Enfield

1986 4636 with 4442 on duty

30 Dec 1988 4606/4618 at Cowan with Brisbane bound freight

5 Nov 1989 Candy 4640 at Broadmeadow

9 Sep 1992 Red Terror 4639 at Broadmeadow

3 July 1993 4607/4621/4605 Broadmeadow

29 May 1995 4639/4626/4630/4614 Cockle Creek
  SydneyCider Locomotive Driver

Haven't updated this thread for a while but will post updates when time permits. This particular post is to do with 4601.

The Valley Heights Loco Depot Museum posts regular Depot Diaries every few months giving an update as to what has been happening at the museum. The diaries are in depth and cover a lot of interesting events and work carried out at the museum. It seems that from 2011 onwards, a number of interesting and significant things have happened with 4601. Below I'll list the Depot Diary editions that cover anything related to work done on 4601. This will be particularly interesting to anyone who is a 46 fan or knows a thing or two about the technical aspects of the 46 class and will understand what they referring to in terms of some the technical work done to the loco. By the looks of things the people there have been doing an amazing job and sounds very much like it is a case to try and put pieces of the puzzle back together again and then I guess see what pieces of the puzzle are missing.

Depot Diary No 107 July 2011 - Dec 2011 -

- This diary notes that with 4601 having been withdrawn earlier than some of the other 46's, it had been stripped of some of its parts, including it's main bank of resistors. It notes that the team has a complete set of resistors and installed them into 4601's resistor bank and carried out other restoration work (also contains photos)

Depot Diary No 109 Oct 2012 - Oct 2013 -

- Notes of further restoration work carried out and sorting of spare parts

Depot Diary No 110 January 2015 -

- Notes nearing completion of the static restoration of this loco. (In March 2015, they posted a facebook photo of a completely statically restored 4601 to much positive/excitement by the viewers/followers)

- notes that resistors have been fitted to 4601, apart from the side bays (holding brackets missing)
- a trip was made to Broadmeadow to photograph 4638 in order to help identify and fit missing components from stock

Depot Diary No 113 April 2016 -

- talks of restoration of some of wiring to No 1 End HT and attempt to recover missing "interlock" units
- also talks of plans to create a Train Simulator, ie, a train simulator program running on a pc with screen in front of the driver's seat. Plan to use modified USB keyboard to connect it to computer and to an interface board which is in turn connected to the 46 class controls allowing them to be used to simulate driving the loco

Depot Diary No 114 July 2016

- Talks of wiring work to No 1 end HT and several interlock units having been recovered and installed with several more required
- further work on "Train Simulator"

- talks of work to No 2 end drivers controls, installing a commercial available "sonar alert" to replace missing alarm and repairs to weak field mechanism to working condition
- Talks of No 1 end HT work, noting very poor condition and considerable equipment missing. Notes of installation of 6 interlock units
- Talks of No 2 end HT work, connecting field shunt resistors
- installation of resistors that were missing to detect wheel slips
- Notes of missing Compressed Air Reticulation lines/pipes. Notes that unlike 4638, these are all missing from 4601 and work has commenced on manufacturing replacements.
- Notes of installation (No 1 and 2 ends) of resistor banks into fan compartments that control air compressors and auxillary generator.
- Further work on Train Simulator.
- Notes of restoration to lighting system of loco. Notes that system supplied by 12 volt battery and low energy bulbs used to reduce power consumption. Notes that given condition of the wiring of loco decision made not to energise system at original 120volts and use 12 volt battery.
- Other electrical work

Depot Diary No 115 Jan 2017 -

- Talks about installation of "Arc Chutes" in No 2 end HT
- further work on Train Simulator

The Depot Diary No 116 April 2017  -

- Talks of great progress made with train simulator.
  SydneyCider Locomotive Driver

c. 1958, just before introduction of the u-boats. 4628 hauling "The Chips" near Parramatta

46 class model (of 4601) on float for electrification celebration parade at Gosford January 23, 1960

c. 1960's 46 class electric locos at Gosford

c. 1960's. 4640 (it appears) passing through somewhere in Hawkesbury River area with a Sydney to Newcastle express passenger train. Having passed over the steep gradients, the 46 is then exchanged for a steam or diesel locomotive for rest of the journey to Newcastle.

Would be amazing (if possible) to see 4638 in her original livery make an appearance to mark 60 years of electrification to Gosford in January 2020!

August 27, 1970. 4612 enters sidings at Gosford with a down goods where it is exchanged for the Garratt Steam Locomotive No. 6002.

August 27, 1970. 4636 and 4614 detached from down steel train and running to Gosford station

December 1977. 4614 and 4425 at Gosford

April 6, 1982. 4629 hauling a Gosford commuter service on April 6, 1982 (no idea where)

As always, credit to all relevant parties and owners of these lovely photographs.
  4206 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Dorrigo yard
Keep posting, these are great photos and memories
  SydneyCider Locomotive Driver

Given the celebrations of the Blue Mountains railway line this weekend, may as well keep the theme with the images going that way with the 46's, given their importance to this particular line. These photos were all taken from 12 November 1979 - 15 November 1979 by Rob O'Regan, so all credit to him. They show various 46's at work hauling Blue Mountains interurban passenger trains to and from the city. (main site)

12 Nov 1979, 4628 with DOWN Passenger passing through Westmead

12 Nov 1979, 4629 with UP Passenger passing through Wentworthville

12 Nov 1979, 4629 with DOWN Passenger passing through Westmead

12 Nov 1979, 4634 with DOWN Passenger passing through Wentworthville

12 Nov 1979, 4640 with DOWN Passenger passing through Westmead

13 Nov 1979, 4611 with DOWN Passenger passing through Wentworthville

15 Nov 1979, 4615 with DOWN Passenger at Blacktown

15 Nov 1979, 4638 with UP Passenger passing the Clyde yards and former Clyburn platform

15 Nov 1979, 4605/4606 with DOWN Indian Pacific passing through Toongabbie

2 Others from flickr

December 1977, 4609 with Passenger train at Katoomba

1982. 4616/46xx glide down hill from Katoomba as seen from cab of Central West XPT
  SydneyCider Locomotive Driver

Just a quick update for today. The following link is from the Valley Heights Depot facebook page showing photos from the early days of restoration work to 4601 and ties in with a previous post I made about 4601's restoration.

It shows some interesting shots including the missing resistors for 4601 and with a portion of a (complete) spare set being installed with the use of a forklift
  SydneyCider Locomotive Driver

Indian Pacific Info and photos

Photo of 4601 with headboard leading the inaugural Indian Pacific on February 23, 1970 just before departure

Photo of carriages from Sydney Terminal platform (official website for the Indian Pacific)

Comeng 3: Comeng a history of commonwealth engineering vol 3 - Info on Indian Pacific starts pages 27/28

To summarise above in case link doesn't work:-

- On Monday, 23 February 1970, the Commonwealth NSW Government hosted a formal dinner of 500 VIP guests at the Wentworth Hotel in Sydney where the Governor-General Sir Paul Hasluck officially declared the Sydney-Perth standard gauge passenger service open
- That same evening the first of 2 divisions of the inaugural Indian Pacific train departed Sydney's Central Station (Sydney Terminal) at 10:50pm. The first division was hauled by electric locomotives 4601 and 4602 with senior NSW driver from Eveleigh, R. Walkington in charge. 4601, given leading honours was decorated for the occasion with the inaugural headboards.
- The first division, which was primarily comprised of the first-class cars, carried VIP guests - including the Governor-General who travelled in the SSA-class Special Service Car.
- The second division hauled by 4603 and 4604 left shortly after at 11:00pm. This second consist was comprised of a combination of first-class and economy-class cars and carried railway executives and press representatives.
- At Lithgow the 46 class electrics were detached and 2 NSWGR 421 class diesel-electric locomotives (not sure which particular locos) were put in charge of each division through to Broken Hill, beyond the electrified network.
- From Broken Hill to Port Pirie the first division was hauled by 2 SAR 600-class locos and second division by 1 600-class and 1 830-class. At Port Pirie the 2 trains were amalgamated into one huge train of 27 cars that was over 700m in length and weighed around 1320 tonnes. It was the largest and heaviest passenger train ever to operate in Australia at that time.
- The Indian Pacific was hauled as far as Kalgoorlie by 3 Comrails locos - 1 CL-class, 2 GM-class. On the final leg from Kalgoorlie to Perth it was headed by 2 WAGR L-class locos - completing the train's 3962km journey across Australia.
- According to a reporter who was there for the trip large crowds of interested onlookers filled track-side vantage positions to cheer the inaugural journey of the Indian Pacific at almost every town and settlement along the 2461 mile Sydney-Perth standard gauge line. This was particularly noticeable at Sydney Terminal where despite the late hour, thousands of people were waiting to see the train leave from the decorated No 1 Platform.
- Large crowds were also present at Port Pirie to witness the unveiling of a commemorative plaque by Governor-General Sir Paul Hasluck with the ceremony taking place at 12:30am.
- Brief welcoming ceremonies were arranged by local government authorities at Broken Hill, Peterborough and Port Pirie. The Governor-General also met with local residents at some of the isolated settlements that were passed along the way includingTarcoola, Cook and Rawlinna.
- A comprehensive publicity campaign was arranged by the WAGR with 12,000 people joining in festivities at the arrival ceremony at Perth Terminal station which included the invited guests and VIP passengers.
- There is also a photo of Commissioner of Commonwealth Railways Keith Smith in the dining room of the Special Service Car. Interestingly it states that it was forbidden to take photographs inside this car for many years and as such there are no official interior photos available of the car in it's "as built" condition.
- Normal revenue services of the Indian Pacific commenced on 1 March 1970 (Perth to Sydney) and on 2 March 1970 (Sydney to Perth)

For the sake of completeness here is the post by Electra for the composition of the inaugural Indian Pacific, this is a copy paste of his post so as to keep everything here in one thread, so credit to him for the share (original thread here:-

"Fortunately, we have that initial consist recorded by the authors of "Coaching Stock of the NSW Railways - Vol.2" (Eveleigh Press, Sydney, 2002); on page 243:

1st train - Locos 4601 & 4602.
HGM.204  power/brake van.
ER.210     dormitory (crew) car.
ARL.249   first class twinette sleeping car.
ARL.247   first class twinette sleeping car.
ARJ.241   first class roomette sleeping car.
CDF.266  cafeteria-club car.
DF.264    dining car.
AFC.239  first class lounge car.
ARJ.240   first class roomette sleeping car.
ARL.261   first class twinette sleeping car.
ARM.253  first class twinette sleeping car with deluxe compartment.
ARM.252  first class twinette sleeping car with deluxe compartment.
SSA.260  special service car.
HM.259    brake van.

2nd Train - Locos 4603 & 4604
HM.257    brake van.
ER.2O4    dormitory (crew) car.
BRJ.214   economy-class twin-berth sleeping car.
BRJ.218   economy-class twin-berth sleeping car.
BRJ.215   economy-class twin-berth sleeping car.
CDF.229  cafeteria-club car.
DF.235    dining car.
AFC.236  first-class lounge car.
ARJ.242   first-class roomette sleeping car
ARL.262   first-class twinette sleeping car.
ARM.251  first-class twinette with deluxe compartment.
HGM.202  power/brake van.

Obviously, these trains were carrying some carriages which would become spares held at Perth when the first run arrived there.

The normal "I-P" consist at the start was HGM. ER. BRJ. BRJ. BRJ. CDF. DF. AFC. ARM. ARJ. ARL. HM."

Further info on the consist of the Indian Pacific and how it changed over the years can be seen here:-

Also here is a bonus photo of 4601 on a tour train taken on 06 June 1964 at Rockdale station (credit to Graham Ahern photography)

If I have time this weekend I'll update the main listing on page 1

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