X class diesel electric locomotives

X 31 at Sth Dynon loco, Sept 19 1981.
There were three distinct series of X's.

X's 31 to 36 and 37 to 44 were built at Clyde's Granville N.S.W. plant

X 45 to 54 were built at Clyde's Rosewater S.A. plant

All X's were included in the sale of VR (PTC) to Freight Victoria.

Until 1983 all of the X's wore the VR blue and gold paint scheme, after this time the X's were painted in several different schemes as outlined below.

Click on the color schemes for a photo.

vrb VR blue and gold
vlo V/Line orange and grey
fvg Freight Victoria green & gold
fag Freight Australia green & gold

1st Series X class


Road # Serial #
In service
Withdrawn KM at Jan. 1998 Disposition Color schemes Notes
X 31 66 - 484
. 4,976,047 to F.V. to SRHC vrb - vlo(7/1988) - fag
X 32 66 - 485
. 4,788,021 to F.V. vrb - vlo(12/1983) r/b to 3000HP by FA (XR 555)
X 33 66 - 486
. 4,331,309 to F.V. vrb - vlo(7/1986) - fag r/b to 3000HP by FA (XR 553)
X 34 66 - 487
. 5,184287 to F.V. vrb - vlo(2/1986) r/b to 3000HP by FA (XR 554)
X 35 66 - 488
. 3,702,300 to F.V. vrb - vlo(10/1984) r/b to 3000HP by FA (XR 551)
X 36 66 - 489
. 4,136,911 to F.V. vrb - vlo(12/1987) - fag

X 35 at Sth Dynon loco, Oct 14 1984

BELOW, X 36 at West Footscray, 1978

The first series of X class were basically an S class in a completely redesigned carbody. They had a single set of controls that were set up for the long end to lead, in fact the long end was the No. 1 end. To run short end leading the driver had the brake valves and speedo behind him which could make driving them uncomfortable.

Over the years most if not all X's were put on the standard gauge for various lengths of time. On broad gauge they were common sights on interstate "Jets" and did a lot of long distance passenger working. They were common on all of the named trains, Aurora, Spirit, Daylight, Overland and the Vinelander. About the only mainlines they didn't run over much were the Gippsland line and until the late 70's, the Bendigo line. (The B class were pretty much the sole passenger power on the Bendigo line until the late 70's)

X 31 spent practically all of its first 20 years on the SG. The main reason for this was that as delivered Clyde had botched the design of the opening for the staff exchanger and they could not get it to work, not until it finally came off the SG in the mid 80's did Newport fix the problem. This info came from viewing official departmental correspondence, NOT from "word of mouth"

X 33 was involved in a very serious head on collision near Broadford loop on Jan. 5 1967. It was so badly damaged it had to be returned to Clyde for rebuilding.

X 35 had a rather sad career as it was involved in a frame bending level crossing smash at Glenorchy in 1971 in which it hit a loaded gravel truck at high speed and then fell off a bridge that was close to the level crossing. It was repaired but its bent frame meant that aligning the engine to the generator was an almost impossible task according to a shop foreman at Sth. Dynon. Years later it was involved in a fairly serious side swipe.

X 35 lies in the floodplain of the Wimmera river near Glenorchy after hitting a gravel truck
whilst running the afternoon Dimboola to Spencer Street pass. 1971.

2nd Series X class


Road # Serial #
In service
Withdrawn Service life Disposition Color schemes Notes
X 37 70 - 700
. . to F.V. vrb - vlo - fag
X 38 70 - 701
. . to F.V. vrb - vlo - fag r/b to 3000HP by FA (XR 550)
X 39 70 - 702
. . to F.V. vrb - vlo - fag
X 40 70 - 703
. . to F.V. vrb - vlo - fag r/b to 3000HP by FA (XR 552)
X 41 70 - 704
. . to F.V. vrb - vlo - fag
X 42 70 - 705
. . to F.V. vrb - vlo
X 43 70 - 706
. . to F.V. vrb - vlo - fag
X 44 70 - 707
. . to F.V. vrb - vlo

X 37 as delivered from Clyde at Sth Dynon. 1970

The 2nd series of X class boasted a 645 engine, a much more modern engine than the 567's that were in the first series. Outwardly they were almost a carbon copy of the earlier X's, the main difference being larger radiators needed because of the newer engine.

Over the years it has been reported that X 37 and X 38 were built with parts from S 314 and S 316 that were destroyed in the Southern Aurora crash in 1969. It is time to set the record straight. The original order was for 6 X's but after the Aurora crash VR felt that they needed to replace the 2 wrecked S class. According to official VR correspondence X 37 and X 38 are shown as "rebuilds" this was because the budget for the original order of 6 X's had already been set aside. The money for the additional 2 X's presumeably coming from operating expenses. Correspondence with Clyde verifies that no parts were used from the S class and personal checking showed that the serial numbers on major components were consecutive for the whole class. So whilst it is true that X 37 and X 38 were "replacements" for the wrecked S class they were built as 100% new locomotives.

Recently Freight Australia has rebuilt X 38 with a 3000HP turbocharged engine, Dec 2001

X 44 at Sth dynon loco depot, Jan. 1 1985

X 37 at Sth Dynon, June 2003

X 37 in Freight Victoria paint scheme, Sth Dynon, March 18 2007

X 41 in Pacific National paint scheme, Sth Dynon March 18 2007

Drivers control stand on X 37 when brand new.

3rd Series X class


Road # Serial #
In service
Withdrawn Service life Disposition Color schemes Notes
X 45 75 - 792
. . to F.V. vrb - vlo - fag
X 46 75 - 793
. . to F.V. vrb - vlo - fag
X 47 75 - 794
. . to F.V. vrb - vlo - fvg - fag doo cab
X 48 75 - 795
. . to F.V. vrb - vlo - fag
X 49 75 - 796
. . to F.V. vrb - vlo - fvg - fag
X 50 75 - 797
. . to F.V. vrb - vlo - fag
X 51 75 - 798
. . to F.V. vrb - vlo - fag
X 52 75 - 799
. . to F.V. vrb - vlo - fag
X 53 75 - 800
. . to F.V. to QRN vrb - vlo - fag
X 54 75 - 801
. . to F.V. to QRN vrb - vlo

A "new X" under construction at Clyde's Rosewater SA plant.

X 47 just after delivery
Photo courtesy Peter J. Vincent

The 3rd series of X's were instantly known as "new X's" by railfans and enginemen alike. They featured a much improved cab but they could only run short end leading, reducing their versatility. Mechanically they were almost identical to the 2nd series X's except they were fitted with a AR10 alternator. The "new X's" also ushered in the 26L brake to the Victorian Railways. They saw their main use on interstate jets and interstate passenger trains where their single direction cab was not a handicap. About half of the "new X's" lived on the standard gauge for extended periods of time. They were the first VR locos to be used in the through running agreement with NSW

X 54 at Sth Dynon loco, 1978

Almost half of the new X's sit around the standard gauge turntable at Sth Dynon. 1979.

Below, from a 1975 VR newsletter

In 2001, X 38 underwent a major rebuild. The main feature being the addition of a turbocharger to the 16 cylinder 645 engine which increased the horsepower from 2,000 to 3,000. The horsepower increase required an enlargement of the radiator. The cab was also heavily modified to allow for one man operation. The rebuild has been an outstanding success and more X's are to be modified. X 38 has since been re-classed and renumbered to XR 550

Photo courtesy Greg Dixon

Following on from the succesful X to XR rebuild program, several more XR's have been built new b y Freight Australia/Pacific National

please email me with any corrections,comments or questions

page last modified8/12/12