S class diesel electric locomotives

VR was very pleased with all aspects of their B class so when it came time to order new locos they returned to Clyde for the S class which differed from the B class in having only one cab (a small "hostlers" cab was provided at the flat end for short distance, slow speed use) and a more modern engine (567C) The S class actually consist of two orders, the second order was placed in anticipation of the soon to be opened Melbourne to Albury standard gauge line. This second group (310 - 317) spent most of their early life on SG.

In broad gauge service their usefullness was limited in comparison to the B class on account of having only one cab. They racked up many miles in interstate "Jet" service and on "The Overland" where they usually ran "back to back"

In standard gauge service they usually ran solo. From the opening of the SG (1962) until the arrival of the X class (1966) they were the only mainline loco class on that track. In 1969 the horrific head on collision of a down goods and the up "Southern Aurora" at Violet Town resulted in S 314 and S 316 being destroyed beyond recognition. They were the first diesel locos on VR to be scrapped.

Until they were painted V/Line orange the S class changed very little over the years, the only major change was the removal of the valance around the fuel tanks.

All of the S's were built at Clyde's Granville N.S.W. plant


Road # Name:
S 300 Matthew Flinders
S 301 Sir Thomas Mitchell
S 302 Edward Henty
S 303 C. J. La Trobe
S 304 George Bass
S 305 Hamilton Hume
S 306 John Batman
S 307 John Pascoe Fawkner
S 308 Sir Redmond Barry
S 309 William Lonsdale
S 310 George Higinbotam
S 311 Sir Ferdinand Von Mueller
S 312 Peter Lalor
S 313 Alfred Deakin
S 314 Sir John O'Shannassy
S 315 Sir Charles Gavan Duffy
S 316 Sir Andrew Clarke
S 317 Sir John Monash

Road # Serial #
In service
Withdrawn Service life Disposition Color schemes Notes
S 300 57 - 164
09/1993 to W.C.R vrb - vlo - wcb - cfc
S 301 57 - 165
in service FA to F.V. vrb - vlo - fag
S 302 57 - 166
09/1993 to W.C.R vrb - vlo - wcb
S 303 57 - 167
28/6/1988 to S.R.H.C. vrb - fag
S 304 57 - 168
16/2/1988 scrapped 3/1992 vrb - vic - vlo
S 305 57 - 169
2/12/1985 scrapped 2/1991 vrb
S 306 57 - 170
in service FA to F.V. vrb - vlo
S 307 57 - 171
in service FA to F.V. vrb - vlo
S 308 57 - 179
25/7/1988 to ARHS museum vrb - vlo
S 309 58 - 182
19/7/1988 scrapped 1996 vrb - vlo
2nd order
S 310 60 - 227
in service FA to F.V. vrb - vlo
S 311 60 - 228
16/09/1993 to W.C.R. vrb - vlo - wcb
S 312 60 - 229
16/09/1993 to W.C.R. vrb - vlo
S 313 60 - 230
14/12/1994 to Steamrail, in service vrb - vlo - sr
S 314 61 - 231
07/02/1969 scrapped 7/2/1969 vrb
S 315 61 - 238
23/08/1988 scrapped 4/1992 vrb - vlo
S 316 61 - 239
07/02/1969 scrapped 7/2/1969 vrb
S 317 61 - 240
28/11/1994 to S.R.H.C. then GNR vrb - vlo - gnm


ABOVE: S 301 stored at Nth Melb, Oct. 1988

ABOVE: S 302 at Sth Dynon, March 1984

ABOVE: S 303 at Sth Dynon, Dec 1978

ABOVE: S 304 at Sth Dynon. June 23 1978.

ABOVE: S 305 at Ballarat loco depot, Sept. 1984 BELOW: Its work done, S 305 in the dead line awaiting its final journey to Spotswood to be scrapped. May 1987


ABOVE: S 306 at Sth Dynon, July 1986. BELOW S 306 in the V/Line colours June 2003.

ABOVE: S 307 at Sth Dynon loco depot, Oct. 1981.Note the whistle mounted on the nose, 307 was the only S to have its original style whistle nose mounted which I believe happened in the mid 1970's as a test to reduce noise in the cab.

ABOVE: S 308 at Sth Dynon loco, circa 1980

ABOVE: S 309 photographed Sept 1973, the fuel tank valance has been removed but the nose door is yet to be welded shut which happened in the late 1970's (photo courtesy Andrew Bau)

BELOW: S 309 in the V/Line scheme at Ararat loco depot, Sept. 8 1985

ABOVE: S 310 at Kilmore East, circa 1965.

ABOVE: S 310 at Albury, August 1984. BELOW: Hostlers end of S 310 at Sth Dynon loco depot. May 2003

ABOVE: S 311, photographed to show its new Flexicoil bogies, Jan. 25 1961 (VR photo RS 1505BELOW: S 311 at Sth Dynon, 1978,  17 years after the ABOVE photo Note the very small VR emblem on the nose.  

ABOVE: S 311 at Sth Dynon, 1978 Note the very small VR emblem on the nose.

ABOVE: S 311 at Sth Dynon, 1978

S 311 has its bogies changed at Bandiana during its delivery run from Sydney to Melbourne.

ABOVE: S 312 at Sth Dynon 1978
BELOW: S 312 in the V/Line scheme Nov. 1987

ABOVE: S 313 at Bendigo, 1978
BELOW: S 313 at Sth Dynon, note the modified markers lights. Nov. 1985


ABOVE: S 316 at Spencer Street at the head of the down Spirit of Progress, Until February 1969 S 316 was just another member of the second order of S class that spent almost all their lives on the SG. In Feb 1969 it was the loco at the head of the southbound Southern Aurora whose driver died at the controls and smashed head on into a northbound goods headed by S 314. Both locos were destroyed. Other S class went on to old age but S 314 and S 316, like rock stars that died in their prime, would assume almost mythical status as the years went by. BELOW: S 316 arrives at Spencer on the up Southern Aurora. photographers unknown.

S 316 on Southern Aurora at Spencer St



ABOVE: S 317 in the V/Line paint scheme. Additional marker lights, nose door welded shut, rear view mirrors, 5 chime horn, duplicated air hoses and radio equipped stickers, dual T wipers, were all "in service" modifications performed over the years. This photo was taken after the loco was rebuilt following the Barnawartha crash.

ABOVE: Freight Australia reluctantly painted S 301 in its corporate colours in Dec. 2003

ABOVE: S 300 at Spencer St in its "West Coast Railway" colour scheme. (Photo 2002 courtesy Greg Dixon)

S 311 at Spencer Street, August 2003.

ABOVE: S 302 at Newport workshops just after its withdrawl from V/Line service, March 2006

ABOVE: S 300 in Chicago Freight Car paint scheme, Bendigo March 25 2007

ABOVE: S 307 at Newport, Nov. 20 2007

The drivers control station of an S class. The S's had a very well designed cab, their main problem being that they were very noisy but visibility was great and all controls were in easy reach.

The article below is from the March 1964 VR Newsletter

ABOVE: Hostlers end of S 303 at Sth Dynon, 1978.

ABOVE: The hostlers end cab was a rather spartan affair. It was only used for moving the loco around terminals and loco depots and to haul empty cars short distances. For example it would haul the empty cars from Albury back to Wodonga and the empty SOP and Aurora cars between Sth Dynon and Spencer St. The large boxes contained the loco batteries.

Aftermath of the Southern Aurora crash, Feb. 1969

ABOVE: On June 17 1982, S 317 was the loco on an up standard gauge goods from Albury that ran into the back of the Spirit of Progress (which had broken down) at Barnawartha. Tragically the crew died and S 317 was extensively damaged as can be seen in the above photo taken at Sth Dynon loco depot. S 317 was rebuilt and continues in service to this day. Photo courtesy Paul Johnstone