E class electric locomotives

Melbourne's electrification had not been in service for long when it was decided to build 2 small electric locos (1100 & 1101) of a "steeple cab" design ABOVE, for suburban goods service. Five years later a further 10 electric locos (1102 - 1111) were constructed to a "box cab" design BELOW. These locos shared much mechanical and electrical equipment with Tait suburban trains. 1922 VR correspondence refers to the class a "E class" it appears that until 1955 they were simply known as "Electric Locos" with the introduction of the L class electrics they were classed as "E class" The later E's were commonly called "Black locos" or "Electric chairs" by Enginemen. Rail enthusiasts were fond of calling them "Butterboxes"

Road #
In service
Withdrawn Disposition Color schemes Notes
1954 scrapped 1955 Black
1954 scrapped 1955 Black
E 1102
03/1983 preserved ARHS museum Black - vrb
E 1103
3/6/1980 scrapped Black - vrb
E 1104
1/9/1980 scrapped June 1981 Black - vrb
E 1105
28/12/1980 scrapped Black - vrb
E 1106
to Steamrail, stored Black - vrb
E 1107
1981 scrapped Black - vrb
E 1108
Oct. 1981 to Steamrail, stored Black - vrb
E 1109
to Steamrail, under restoration Black - vrb
E 1110
July 1982 scrapped Black - vrb
E 1111
1981 scrapped Black - vrb

Until 1965 the E's were painted black, in April 1965 approval was given to paint the remaining E's in blue and gold. No E's made it into V/Line orange. 

Oct. 1955 VR newsletter states that the 2 steeple cabs are to be scrapped as their underframes are not suitable for conversion to auto couplers.

The E's were quite a significant loco in that they were the first locomotive VR ever built that wasn't a steam loco.

Feb 3 1955 application of letter "E"

Jan 12 1955 approval given to remove trip gear

April 12 1965 approval to be painted blue/gold

June 20 1967 E's to remain at Jolimont and mannned by ERD drivers until hump built

All of the E's were built by the Victorian Railways.




ABOVE & BELOW: 1101 at Flinders St yard, circa 1925, photo courtesy PROV



ABOVE: Electric loco 1100 on a down goods at Elsternwick. This photo was taken sometime between 1923 (electric locos 1100 and 1101 introduced) and July 1926 (2 position signals at Elsternwick abolished). Judging by the presence of the well dressed gentlemen on the loco I would guess this is some sort of test run so it could be safely assumed that 1100 is quite new.

Some notes from Des Jowett: The shot of the Dive Bomber 1100 at Elsternwick may be one of the test trains. On 6-8-24 a 586 ton train ran, and the next day a 34 vehicle train. They are written up in "The Argus" of 8-8-24. Interestingly they were apparently built for one man operation and were never ever provided with a seat for the Loco Assistant - only a portable stool. They were fitted with a GE C 90E Controller (the others had a C 90F) which had dead mans button similar to the reds and looked like a larger version of them. When I used to ride them on the Caulfield goods 1950-52, the buttons were still there but flat on top of the handle with no spring pressure. The Jolimont Branch meeting of 9-11-23 received news from the Dept that a second man would be provided and Fireman Rochester was acting as Loco Assistant. Read about it in The Footplate for Nov/Dec 1923 p287 The Electrical Engineering Branch Corres in 1923 at the P.R.O. re the tests in Flinders St yard call them E class, but this was soon knocked on the head and PJV has corres refs. to them to remaining unclassed. They were pretty noisy as the crew sat in with the contactors and dynamotor without any proper cab. In winter to keep warm they used to run them on a grid notch, rather than full series or series parallel, to use the grids as a radiator.

ABOVE: 1101 at Spencer Street during the 1954 Centenary exhibition.

ABOVE & BELOW: End views of 1102 at the start and end of its life.


ABOVE: E 1102 at Sth Dynon loco 1978

ABOVE 1103 approximately 10 years after being built, the electric headlights were an early addition, note the presence of the trip apparatus. official VR photo.

ABOVE: E 1103 at Sth Dynon, 1978.

ABOVE: E 1104 at Flinders Street yard . Jan. 4 1977 Photo courtesy Peter J. Vincent

ABOVE: E 1104 at Williamstown, 1978.

ABOVE: E 1106 at Sth Dynon loco, 1978.

ABOVE: photo courtesy Peter J. Vincent BELOW, photo courtesy Rob O'Regan 


ABOVE: E 1108 at Jolimont yard, July 22 1967. Photo courtesy Des Jowett.

ABOVE: E 1108 at Sth Dynon loco, 1978

ABOVE: Photo courtesy Peter J Vincent.

ABOVE:  E 1109 at Fairfield APM siding, 1983

ABOVE: E1110 at Sth Dynon, 1979

ABOVE: E 1111 at Sth Dynon July 1979 Photo courtesy Rob O'Regan

BELOW: The following 5 photos show two Es under construction.1928 (PROV photos)






ABOVE & BELOW: show interior views of one of the steeplecabs Official VR photographs

BELOW: E 1104, still in black, on an up Frankston goods near Parkdale.  July 24 1968. Photo courtesy Des Jowett.


ABOVE: E 1102 on the Warragul yard pilot, Jul 16 1963. Photo cortesy Des Jowett

BELOW: E 1102 "as preserved" at the Nth Williamstown railway museum.