Some interesting articles in the papers from trove which talk of the order of the 46 class locos and electrification scheme, always interesting to look back on such things and how things actually worked out as compared to initial plans and timelines. For those into the finer details of things, this may be of interest as well.
Wednesday, 6 December 1950. Lithgow Mercury
"Forty Electric Locos Ordered for Sydney-Lithgow Line"http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/219760239?searchTerm=electric%20LOCOMOTIVE%20lithgow&searchLimits=l-decade=195
- Talks of preliminary work on electrification proceeding of the western line to Lithgow, orders have been placed in England for 40 electric locomotives to be used for both passenger and goods traffic.
- Notes that the Australian General Electric Pty. Ltd. obtained an order on behalf of Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Co. Ltd. for 40 electric locos from the NSW Government Railways to be used on Sydney-Lithgow line.
- Mentions that electrification over the mountains is being carried out to facilitate handling of coal traffic into Sydney.
- Also notes that (at the time) Metrovick had been manufacturing traction equipment for NSW Government Railways for last 25 years and had supplied them with more than 500 motor-coach equipment.
Wednesday, 2 May 1951 issue of Construction
- Notes that 3,000,000 pounds sterling contract for Sydney-Lithgow electrificaton had been let.
- Mentions that the firm of British Insulated Callenders Construction Company had undertaken to electrify the railway between Parramatta and Lithgow at cost of 3 million pounds.
- Notes that electrification will cut journey time by 30 minutes.
- Railways Commissioner Garside noted that the Sydney-Lithgow scheme will cost 7 million pounds, including new rolling stock.
- He also proposed the electrification of Sydney-Newcastle (approx 3.5 million), Sydney-Port Kembla (approx 2.75 million) and Sydney-Goulburn (approx 4.5 million).
Wednesday, 3 October 1951 issue of Construction
"40 ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVES FOR NSW GOVERNMENT"http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/222887121?searchTerm=electric%20LOCOMOTIVE%20lithgow&searchLimits=l-decade=195
- Talks of further details known about the 46 class electric locos at the time including power rating, regen braking features, etc.
Monday, 20 September 1954. Lithgow Mercury
"Progress and Problems of Rail Electrification"http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/220816391?searchTerm=electric%20LOCOMOTIVE%20lithgow&searchLimits=l-decade=195
- Notes of temporary setback in 1952-53 electrification of western line was being pushed ahead and that final section proposed between Lithgow and Wallerawang would be the subject of a report from a panel of experts who had studied a site for the location of the terminus.
- Notes that terminus for electrification would, at the very least, be located at Lithgow but that anything beyond that was the subject of study in the report
- Notes of projected target dates for progressive electrification to Blacktown (approx Feb 1955), Penrith (June 1955), Katoomba (April 1956), Mt Victoria (July 1956) and Lithgow (February 1957).
- The Commissioner for Railways also noted that at the time foundations, steelwork and overhead wiring was complete from the Parramatta to Blacktown area, while for the Parramatta to Penrith section foundations were practically complete and steelwork was at 70% complete and overhead wiring between Doonside and Penrith would commence in next month or so.
- Between Penrith and Bowenfels foundations were 30% complete and erection of steelwork beyond Emu Plains would commence at end of the month.
Thursday, 24 February 1955. Nepean Times
"Electric Train service to Blacktown"http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/100988384?searchTerm=electric%20LOCOMOTIVE&searchLimits=l-decade=195
- Notes that electric train service between Parramatta and Blacktown will be officially opened by Premier J J Cahill on Saturday February 26, 1955 at Blacktown railway station at 10:45am. The Shire Council planned great celebrations for the occasion.
- An official train would inaugurate the service and depart Sydney Terminal at 9:40am and return from Blacktown at 12:30pm.
Thursday, 28 June 1956. Nepean Times
"Faster Train Service. New Electric Loco." http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/101357926?searchTerm=electric%20LOCOMOTIVE&searchLimits=l-decade=195
- Notes that a new electric loco (4601) travelled the 36 miles from Sydney to Penrith on Monday, 25 June 1956 in 40 minutes, reaching a speed of 70 mph (113kmh).
- It is the first of 40 new engines ordered for use on the Mountains.
- It is anticipated that running costs will be reduced by at least 40% on the "old type engines" (steam).
- The Minister for Transport stated that the full benefit of the new engine would be seen when the line had been electrified as far as Lithgow next year.
- Notes that the new locomotives will pull goods trains as fast as passenger trains and will do away with a lot of the dirt, grit and dust which plague train crews.
- Notes that these engines will haul a load from Valley Heights to Katoomba in less than half the time it takes a 57 or 58 class steam locomotive.
- The Minister for Transport stated that the line would be electrified to Katoomba by August 1956 and to Mt. Victoria by the end of the year and to Lithgow by some time next year (first train, hauled by a 46, ended up running to Lithgow in June 1957).
- Notes that powered by one of these new engines, the "Fish" (Mt. Victoria service) would do the journey in 35 minutes less compared to what it takes now hauled by steam engines.
- Notes the new engines would also cut an hour off the ordinary train time from Sydney to Lithgow.
- They would also haul 750 tons of goods from Sydney to Lithgow in 3.5 hours as against a steam engine hauling 450 tons in 6.5 hours.
- Notes that in about 3 weeks time the new engine will be stationed at Penrith and will operate between there and Valley Heights on training runs with the new crew.
Thursday, 1 November 1956. Nepean Times
Lower Mountains Gets First Electric Train. "Chips" Electric Loco, next Mondayhttp://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/101359726?searchTerm=electric%20LOCOMOTIVE&searchLimits=l-decade=195
- Notes that the first passenger train to be hauled by an electric locomotive over the electrified sections of the Western Line will be the business train known as "The Chips" (Valley Heights service).
- The train will leave Valley Heights for Sydney at 7:21am next Monday, 5 November 1956.
- From Mondays to Fridays for time being the "Chips" will be powered by an electric locomotive between Sydney and Valley Heights, but on Fridays will have a steam engine hauling it, as it extends to Mt. Victoria.
- The 1:25pm train from Sydney to Mt. Victoria was at the time hauled by an electric locomotive from Mondays to Fridays, inclusive, between Sydney and Valley Heights.
- The 7:20pm from Valley Heights to Sydney which begins it's journey at Mt. Victoria will also be hauled by an electric locomotive from Valley Heights to Sydney from Mondays to Fridays.
- Coinciding with the introduction of the electric locomotives to the "Chips", the other business express the "Fish" now runs 4 minutes later from all mountains stations on the journey to Sydney but arrives at the scheduled time of 8:34am.
- The first electric locomotives began running on the Emu Plains-Springwood section of the electrified line on Thursday, 18 October 1956, but were used for railway testing purposes only.
- During the following week the electric locos, hauling empty cars, made 3 scheduled trips daily giving steam engine drivers tuition on the new locomotives.
- On Friday, 26 October 1956, special test runs were made with electric locos hauling trains of over 200 tons dead-weight and times of 18 and 20 minutes were recorded for non-stop trip between Penrith and Valley Heights.
- The "Chips" and the 1:25pm trains from Sydney and also the 5:58pm train from Mt. Victoria will on and after next Monday, 5 November 1956 be hauled between Sydney and Valley Heights and Valley Heights and Sydney (on Mondays to Fridays) by electric locomotives.
- Notes that time table running is being maintained until the introduction of the new time table concurrent with electrification of the line to Mt. Victoria.
Given some of this info, I guess it would be appropriate to post this shot I found of 4601 on a tour train. (Credit David Porter)
Photo taken Saturday, 26 March 1994 at Blacktown. It shows 4601 heading west on the main down with, more than likely, an RTM tour train coinciding with the commencement of final withdrawals of the class in February 1994. It features the same carriages pulled by 4604 on the October 22, 1994 "46 class farewell" tour by RTM (see page 1 for video of tour). 4601 lowered it's pans for the last time within 2 months after this tour and was withdrawn from service on May 17, 1994. The location of this photo was more than likely taken from the vicinity of the corner of Derby St and Railway Pde looking east towards Blacktown station as 4601 heads west towards Doonside. https://www.flickr.com/photos/daves_train_and_railroad_images/7507026312/in/album-72157630432149140/