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The 48 Class are a diesel electric locomotive ordered by the New South Wales Government Railways from 1959. Once the most ubiquitous locomotive in New South Wales (and Australia), the locomotives were built by A. E. Goodwin, based on Alco frames and prime movers, using General Electric (later AEI) electrical equipment. With 165 examples of the type built over 11 years, the 48 Class was a common sight on lines all over New South Wales. The South Australian Railways 830 class were of a very similar design.
The 48 Class have an Alco 6-251B prime mover delivering 1,060 horsepower, and have a maximum speed of 120 km/h. They ride on standard gauge Co-Co bogies, are 14.76 metres long, and weigh 75 t. Delivered in four batches (broken down as follows), there are still 69 48 Class locomotives in operation, primarily with Pacific National. Silverton Tramway and Railcorp also operate a few such locomotives. Junee Railway Workshop (formerly Austrac) own 4814, 4816, 4820 and 4836. JRW are rebuilding 4820 with a new powerplant, dynamic brakes and full-width cab. GrainCorp have twenty-four locomotives which are gradually being refurbished for grain operation. Most others have been scrapped, stored, or purchased by heritage groups. The four batches are as follows:
- Mark I: 4801 – 4845
- Mark II: 4846 – 4885
- Mark III: 4886 – 48125
- Mark IV: 48126 – 48165.
Currently there are seven preserved locomotives, five of them in operational status:
- 4801: RailCorp Office of Rail Heritage, stored at Broadmeadow.
- 4803: New South Wales Rail Transport Museum, Thirlmere, NSW. Operational.
- 4805: RailCorp Office of Rail Heritage, stored at Broadmeadow.
- 4807: Australian Railway Historical Society - Canberra Railway Museum. Operational.
- 4821: Goulburn Rail Heritage Centre Operational.
- 4822: Dorrigo Steam Railway and Museum.
- 4833: Privately owned by Goodwin ALCo Ltd, operated by 3801 Limited. Operational.
Various members of the 48 Class have had a total of Seven liveries over their more than 40 years of service. On delivery they wore the standard NSWGR Tuscan livery (to which some preserved locomotives have been restored), but since then have worn the State Rail Authority’s 'Candy' scheme, along with FreightCorp's plain blue, in which most locomotives remain. Some have gained Pacific National markings. In July 2010 locomotive units 4818, 4855, 4860, 4861, 4865, 4866, 4869, 4873, 4874, 4876, 4879, 4880, 4882, 4883, 4885 were lifted off their bogies and were scrapped at Werris Creek.