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The 43 class were a class of diesel powered locomotives built for the New South Wales Government Railways by A Goninan & Co, in Broadmeadow between August 1956 and June 1957.
These locomotives are unique in NSW and Australia for having Alco power units in GE Transportation Systems designed bodies, a legacy of the former Alco-GE alliance which fell apart in 1953. Although the design for the 43 class originated in the United States, only two similar UM20 cab and two booster units were ever built in that country, being for the Erie Railroad.
The power plant was an Alco Series 244 four-cycle 12-cylinder diesel engine, delivering 1,750 horsepower (1,300 kW) and the electrical equipment was from GE. Dynamic braking was fitted. Multiple unit control enabled the members of this class to run with each other and all subsequent diesel-electric locomotives. Full driving control was only provided in the front of the locomotive, but a hostler's compartment was provided at the rear to enable the locomotive to run without cargo in reverse.
The 43 class were initially deployed on the Main Western line from Sydney to Orange, prior to the installation of electrical wires on the line to Lithgow in June 1957, appearing regularly as the locomotive on the Central West Express. Subsequently, they were transferred to Broadmeadow Depot, operating from Gosford to the Queensland border, where the gauge split, via both the North Coast and Main North lines. They also saw service on the Main South line.
The 43 class were reportedly not popular with the train crews, but they did pave the way for future Alco powered locomotives, albeit, these locomotives did not have GE bodies. They did receive some improvements in the late 1950s with water cooling of the turbo-superchargers replacing the former air-cooled units.
In August 1974 4301 was taken into Chullora Workshops for a regular overhaul, however the decision was made to use it as spare parts for the remaining locomotives.
The last 43 class was withdrawn in late 1979. 4306 was placed by the Public Transport Commission in the custody of the New South Wales Rail Transport Museum and is now a designated NSW heritage item. It was transferred to the Thirlmere Branch in March 1980. In 1986 the Illawarra branch of the Rail Transport Museum commenced overhauling 4306 at Yallah. The locomotive returned to service in June 1996 and has since been used extensively on charters in New South Wales as well as interstate to Brisbane and Melbourne. It currently resides on the pathway to the Great Train Hall at TrainWorks.