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N.S.W. 80 Class 

8001 new
Photo by John Hurst 

 The Public Transport Commission Of New South Wales (P.T.C.) had not received any new locomotives since the delivery of the last 47 and 442 class units in late 1973.  By 1977 they began to have severe shortages of locomotives and had to hire in locomotives from other operators.  The new Wran Government had inherited a run down railway system that needed money spent on it urgently. As such tenders were called for the supply of 30 new mainline units that were to be of 2000hp and capable of multiple unit working .  The successful tenderer was Commonwealth Engineering (COMENG) of Granville in Sydney.
COMENG proposed to build an updated version of the 442 class with the newer Alco 12.251CE engine and Mitsubishi electrical equipment. The first unit 8001 was ready for trails by September 1978 however due to several problems including and industrial dispute and weight distribution problems the unit did not perform a trial until 31/10/78 when  it ran to Penrith . A load trial then ran on 2/11/78 when the first unit ran to Broadmeadow . By 29/11/78 the class leader was running on the Southern line training crews. 8002 was soon to join in crew training and by the end of the year a third unit had been delivered. Deliveries continued throughout 1979 however there were many failures and units were returning to Granville for modifications and repairs during this period. The last of the order 8030 was delivered by July 1980 however the order had been extended by a further 20 units and these additional units began to be delivered by October 1981. The final 20 were delivered in the reverse yellow livery unlike the first group which were Indian red with yellow lining. The final unit 8050 was delivered on 3/3/83 and it is worth noting that deliveries of the new 81 class had started by October the previous year.
      The 80 class were then to be seen running over most main lines with regular working to Broken Hill as these units were the first ever fitted with air conditioning which soon became popular with crews west of Parkes. They were also regularly used on Hunter Valley coal train workings. The unreliability of this class by now had become well known and mechanical failures became common. Several attempts were made to improve the reliability however these were relatively unsuccessful and they became unpopular with crews who by now were happier with the more reliable 81 class.



8034 in Candy livery & 8040 in bicentennial livery
Photos by David Johnson

     Three members of the class 8015, 8018 and 8034   were to be repainted into the Candy livery of the State Rail Authority (SRA) and two others 8010 and 8040 were chosen to be painted in the Bicentennial livery that was applied to several locomotives to commemorate the Australian BiCentenary in 1988. By February 1991  8050   was repainted into the then new  Freightrail Blue and this repainting is continuing today for Freightcorp with some units being recently repainted at ANI Bradken at Braemar.  
                                   8037 in Freightrail Blue livery
                                   Photo by Brad Peadon 
        With the setting up of the National Rail Corporation (NRC) in 1993 the SRA had to make locomotives available on loan with others to be transferred to NRC ownership. The 80 class were chosen amongst others to go to NRC and until the delivery of NR class units began in 1996 all operable members of this class were to be seen running on NRC trains. Whilst with NRC they ran in multiples of 3 or 4 and at times ran in multiple with 422 and 82 class that were also with NRC at this time. The delivery of the NR class was achieved in one year and as these units became available the loaned units including the 80s were returned to Freightcorp with 8046 the last to run with NRC. At this time Freighcorp had no work for the 80s as their  traffic had dropped with all interstate services then run by NRC. All of the class went into storage as they were returned by NRC however by 1998 Freightcorp were again in need of locomotives with increased services and the reintroduction of interstate services. 8004 was the first unit to return to service in the Sydney metrop area and was initially used as a shunter in Enfield yard. There are numerous 80 class units that have been returned to service and more are expected to follow. A table below shows which are active at present.  
                  80 class units on lease to BHP
                  Photo by Brad Peadon 

        For a brief period during 1997 two units were hired to BHP at Port Kembla. 8015 and 8039  were used while  8018  was sent to Port Kembla as a source of parts. The trial  of these units commenced on 19/9/97 was reported to have been followed up with as many as 10 units going to BHP however the deal did not proceed and these units were returned to Freightcorp with 8015 and 8039 that had BHP strobe lights still fitted. At the time of writing  it has been suggested that as many as 30 units of this class will return to service mainly for trip train working in the Sydney metrop area and their long term future remains unknown as there are no new units on order at this time. 5 units are based at Werris creek and are used for bank engine duties over the Liverpool Ranges. The other units running at present are based at Lithgow but are used in Sydney. 

8013 leads a quad combination
Photo By David Johnson
 
UNIT NUMBER
DATE IN SERVICE
STATUS
REMARKS
8001
02/11/78
stored
accident damaged
8002
21/11/78
stored
accident damaged
8003
11/12/78
stored
Delec
8004
15/02/79
in service
Lithgow based
8005
11/01/79
in service
Lithgow based
8006
29/01/79
stored
Chullora
8007
12/02/79
in service
Lithgow based
8008
23/02/79
stored
Delec
8009
21/03/79
condemned 18/9/96
Narromine crash 7/90
8010
30/04/79
stored
Delec
8011
22/05/79
in service
Lithgow based
8012
27/06/79
in service
Werris Creek based
8013
03/07/79
in service
Lithgow based
8014
09/07/79
stored
Delec
8015
07/08/79
in service
Lithgow based
8016
22/08/79
stored
Delec
8017
23/10/79
stored
Lithgow
8018
16/10/79
stored
Port Kembla
8019
20/11/79
stored
Delec
8020
18/12/79
condemned 18/9/96
scrapped
8021
07/01/80
in service
Lithgow based
8022
29/01/80
in service
Lithgow based
8023
03/03/80
stored
Lithgow
8024
11/03/80
stored
Werris Creek
8025
31/03/80
in service
Lithgow based
8026
14/04/80
in service
Lithgow based
8027
06/05/80
in service
Lithgow based
8028
12/05/80
stored
Chullora
8029
13/06/80
stored
Delec crash 13/7/96
8030
04/07/80
stored
Chullora
8031
14/10/81
stored
Delec
8032
27/11/81
in service
Werris Creek based
8033
19/01/82
in service
Lithgow based
8034
17/03/82
stored
Chullora
8035
16/04/82
in service
Lithgow based
8036
17/05/82
stored
Lithgow 
8037
07/06/82
in service
Lithgow based
8038
16/06/82
in service
Werris Creek based
8039
02/07/82
in service
Lithgow based
8040
19/08/82
stored
Chullora
8041
19/08/82
stored
Lithgow
8042
26/08/82
in service
Werris Creek based
8043
26/09/82
stored
Chullora
8044
06/10/82
stored
Lithgow
8045
21/10/82
stored
Chullora
8046
06/12/82
in service
Lithgow based
8047
27/01/83
in service
Lithgow based
8048
24/12/82
stored
Delec
8049
18/02/83
stored
Chullora
8050
03/03/83
 in service
Werris Creek based
 
 
                   8033 in reverse yellow livery at Botany
                   Photo by Brad Peadon 
Notable Points about the 80 class:
First locomotives in N.S.W. to not have buffers fitted from new.
First N.S.W. locomotives to work interstate on a regular basis.
First N.S.W. locomotive with integral M.U. jumper cable.
First N.S.W. locomotives to be painted in Polyurethane (2 pack) paint.
8050 was the last diesel locomotive built by Comeng (Granville).
8050 was the last Alco locomotive built in Australia (3-3-1983)
The last mainline Alco's that remain in regular service with a Government railway in Australia.