VICTORIAN RAILWAYS 'H' CLASS 4-8-4
Designed by Chief Mechanical Engineer A. C. Ahlston.
Built at Newport Railway Workshops 1941.
CYLINDERS (3) 21.5 ins x 28 ins. (546mm x 711mm)
COUPLED WHEEL DIAMETER 67 ins. (1,702mm)
TOTAL HEATING SURFACE
(including superheater) 4,780 square feet. (444m2)
GRATE AREA 68 square feet. (6.3m2)
BOILER PRESSURE 220 PSI. (1,517kpa)
TRACTIVE EFFORT 55,000 lbs. (24,948kg)
TOTAL WEIGHT 260 tons. (264.2 tonnes)
LENGTH OVERALL 92 feet 6 ins. (28,194mm)
To eliminate the practice of double heading the 'A2' class locomotives on the 'Overland' service to Adelaide, a much more powerful solution was considered. The original intention required the building of three large 4-8-4 type locomotives capable of hauling the express over the heavily graded route from Melbourne to Ararat and later going all the way to the loco change-over point at Serviceton.
Unfortunately, because the outbreak of World War 2 stopped the necessary track and bridge improvements required to take the heavier axle loadings, only one 'H' class was completed, the other two being abandoned. The solitary locomotive was nicknamed 'Heavy Harry' and spent most of its working life hauling fast freights over the busy Melbourne/Albury corridor.
'Heavy Harry' was the largest non-articulated locomotive ever to run in Australia and on more than one occasion was able to demonstrate it's true capabilities by hauling the 'Spirit of Progress'. With its large boiler, Belpair firebox complete with combustion chamber and thermic syphons, double blast pipe, three cylinders and conjugated valve gear the 'H' class was indeed quite unique. The only other three cylinder 4-8-4 locomotives in the world being the German '06' class.
'Heavy Harry' was finally withdrawn from service in 1958 after the diesel onslaught had taken full effect and can now be found at the Newport Railway Museum where it resides as a major example of Australian Steam Locomotive Technology.