Australian Diesel Loco Builders

Who were the Australian diesel loco builders? That’s the question that this page sets out to answer and you may be surprised at what a varied bunch the Australian diesel loco builders were.

They ranged across the globe from England, Belgium and Sweden to China, Canada, the USA and, of course, Australia. Some were extremely well-known while others seemed to be unlikely candidates for inclusion in this list and you may not have even heard of some of the builders listed here.

This list is different to others that you may have seen online or in railway books because this list includes what could loosely be described as “industrial” locomotives.

Some books and lists include a few builders of industrial locomotives but avoid delving too deeply into the interesting depths of mill locos but that’s where this list will take you. And we’ll also go down the mines and into other dark recesses of diesel locos were employed.

Companies that rebuilt locomotives, that were first built by other manufacturers, are also included in this list. For example Walkers Ltd built a number of diesel-hydraulic locos for Queensland Rail. WAGR and NSWGR and they are credited with those here. Many of those locomotives were subsequently rebuilt for industrial use and the companies that did the rebuilding are also credited here.

Some of the builders listed here might have only built one locomotive, and the Freight Australia workshops are an example of that, while other builders have been more prolific that you might think.

I should also point out that the list of Australian diesel locomotive builders isn’t limited to just diesel locomotives. Petrol driven locomotives were also used in Australia in the early days of non-steam propulsion and you will find a few of them listed here.

The abbreviations

CRCommonwealth Railways
NSWGRNew South Wales Government Railways
QRQueensland Railways
PrPrivate operators
SARSouth Australian Railways
TGRTasmanian Government Railways
VRVictorian Railways
WAGRWest Australian Government Railways
PNPacific National

A E Goodwin – Auburn, NSW
NSWGR – 44 and 48 Class

A Goninan and Company
had plants in NSW, QLD and WA and later became UGL
Pr – BHP (Newcaslte) CFCLA, Lysaghts, Comsteel, Invicta Sugar Mill, Macknade Sugar Mill, Tully Sugar Mill

Alco – USA

Alport – Hobart, Tas
Pr – Mt Bischoff Mine

Internal combustion loco built by Alport in Hobart, Tasmania for the Mount Bischoff mine at Waratah on the west coast

The Allport loco built for Mt Bischoff mine at Waratah on Tasmania’s west coast

Armstrong Holland – Melbourne Victoria

Aurizon – Redbank, Qld
Pr – Aurizon

Avteq – Victoria

Baguley – Burton-on-Trent, UK

Barclay – UK
PR – Silverton Tramway

Bundaberg Foundry – Bundaberg Qld
PR – Cane railways and coal mines
Bundaberg Foundry and Engineering has rebuilt a number of former QR DH Class locos into extremely useful locos on several mill lines in Queensland. They have also built under licence, a number of locos for underground mines in Queensland.

Caldwell-Valle – Auburn, NSW Australia

Clayton – UK

Cleveland Tractor Company – USA

Clyde Engineering – Australia
This company had plants in NSW at Granville and Kelso, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia
AN, ANR, CR, NSWGR VR, Westrail, PR – Hammersley Iron, various sugarcane networks

had plants in NSW & Qld and Western Australia
NSWGR Pr – BHP, various sugarcane networks including Millaquin Mill, Bingera Mill, Qunaba Mill, Gin Gin Mill, Inkerman Mill, Kalamia Sugar Mill, Invicta Sugar Mill,

Commonwealth Railways

Davenport – USA

Drewry Car Co – UK
WAGR (under contract from Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn)

EDI Rail – Australia
at plants in NSW, South Australia, Victoria and Queensland
PR – Freightlink, PN, SCT, QN


E M Baldwin – Castle Hill NSW
Pr – Cane locos for various sugar mills in Queensland

EMD – Canada
Pr – BHP Billiton, FMG

EMD – La Grange, USA
Pr – BHP Billiton

English Electric
at a plant in Rocklea, Brisbane
QR, SAR, TGR, WAGR PR – BHP, Mount Goldsworthy, Midland Railway

English Electric / Dick Kerr – UK

Freight Australia – Victoria
had workshops at Dynon
Pr – Freight Australia

GE Erie – USA

GE PT Lokindo – Indonesia
Pr –

GMDD – Canada
Freight Rail

Hudwell Clark – UK

Humbolt-Deutz Motoren AG – Cologne, Germany

Isis Central Sugar Mill – Cordalba Qld
PR – Isis Mill
The Isis Central Sugar Mill, near Childers, re-gauged and rebuilt two for QR DH class locos for use on their extensive cane network and rebuilt another ex QR DH that had already been re-gauged by Walkers

Karl Jaeger – Tasmania
Converted on 0-6-0ST to a 0-6-0DM by replacing the boiler with a diesel engine

Malcolm Moore
Pr – Bingera Sugar Mill, Isis Mill, Mossman Central Sugar Mill

Metro-Cammell – UK

Metropolitan Vickers / Beyer Peacock – UK

Morrison Knudsen – South Australia

Motive Power Industries – Boise Idaho

Motor Rail Simplex

New South Wales Government Railways – Chullora and Newcastle, NSW
The NSWGR had workshops in Newcastle and Sydney and in the days of steam built many different types of passenger and goods locos but when diesels came along construction was limited to just 3 classes – 72 Class (1), X100 Class (2) and X200 (10).

Both X classes were shunting tractors and were quite successful while the 72 Class was designed for heavier shunting but had some serious design flaws and saw little use.

Nohab – Sweden

North British

NREC (National Railway Equipment Company)- USA
PR – Qube

at a plant in South Australia

Pacific National – Victoria
has workshops at Dynon in Victoria
Pr – PN

Pleystowe Sugar Mill
Pr- Pleystowe Mill
In 1994 Pleystowe Mill re-built and re-gauged one former NSW SRA 73 Class standard gauge loco for use on their cane network

Progress Rail – USA
Tasrail PR – Bowen Rail Company

Queensland Railways – Ipswich
QR Pr – Northern Rivers Railroad

Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn – UK

Ruston – UK

Ruston & Hornsby – UK

SAR – Islington South Australia

SSR – Bendigo, Victoria

Tasmanian Government Railways

T Purcell & Company / Purcell Engineering – Auburn, NSW Australia


Tully Sugar Mill – Tully Qld
Pr – Tully Sugar Mill

In 2010 Tully Sugar Mill rebuilt and re-gauged one ex-NSW SRA 73 Class locomotive

United Group Limited – Newcastle
ARG, PN, QRN / Aurizon, SSR, Xstrata, Whitehaven, CFCLA/RFAM

Victorian Railways Newport

Vulcan Foundry – UK

Wabtec – Fort Worth Texas, USA
PRFortescue Metals

WAGR – Midland WA

Walkers Limited – Maryborough Queensland
NSWGR, QR, WAGR, Pr – Emu Bay Railway, Pacific National

Whitcomb – USA

Yorkshire Engine Co – UK