When built, the C class were the most powerful locos in Australia. They were VR's main heavy goods locos until the arrival of the X class. Not the VR's finest steam loco design, their boilers were quite undersized. As coal burners they were commonly refered to by engineman as "man killers" Their elongated grates (9' 7") made them difficult to fire and were prone to clinkering. As early as 1919 the enginemen's union was lobbying for 2 firemen on the C class. Entire class converted to oil burners beginning August 1946. They had a #4 brake and straight air brake. It is believed that the Taradale and Mooroobool viaducts were strengthened to enable the operation of these heavier locos.
C 5 was the first VR loco fitted with a modified front end in May 1933. This modification became a standard upgrade on the A2, X, S, K, N classes. C5 was the first VR loco with a cross compound air compressor Jan 1929.
First loco class with cabside class and number plates.
C 1 was only C class painted Canadian red, (the then standard paint for VR steam locos) C 2 was the first new loco to be painted all over black.
Fitted with staff exchangers mid 1930's
"German pattern"smoke deflectors were added starting with C 22 in June 1948
Max speed increases from 50 to 60MPH for WWII passenger work.
First withdrawl C 20 June 1954, last withdrawn C 7 April 1962