Fire danger puts English Electric diesel in limelight

A RARE English Electric diesel loco worked passenger trains on the ‘Mary Valley Rattler’ heritage line in Queensland in September because of extreme weather and fire danger posed by the normal steam workings. 

Ex-Queensland Rail loco No. 1632, one of 34 ‘1620 Class’ locos manufactured by the English Electric Company in Rocklea, near Brisbane, between 1967 and 1969, was in use in place of the usual steam loco. 

The 1620 Class locos are fitted with an EE 6CSRKT Mk2 engine, and were in use until the mid 1990s. 

No. 1632 stands at Amamoor at the head of the 12.00 Amamoor-Gympie on September 23. 
The single-cab loco had been turned on the turntable at Amamoor, and was driven by two retired Queensland Rail drivers who had first worked together in 1970. D LANGHAM

Ten were exported to Asia and six have been preserved, although passenger use is exceptionally rare, with the locos mostly used for PW trains by heritage railways.

The 23km-long ‘Mary Valley Rattler’ line reopened in October 2018 after a six-year closure following two derailments. 

In 2016 the Gympie Regional Council provided AUS$4million to restart operations as the railway is a major tourist attraction.

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