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Australian National BU Class

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Australian National BU Class
Type and origin
Power typeBooster-units
BuilderMorris Knudsen Australia - Whyalla, South Australia
Build date1994
Total produced4
Gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
OperatorsAustralian National Railways
NumbersBU1, BU2, BU3, BU4
DispositionAll scrapped

The Australian National BU Class is a class of four B-units that were rebuilt from four Australian National 600 Class diesel locomotives in 1994.[1]


In all, a total of four locomotives of what became the Australian National BU Class were ever rebuilt in 1994.[1]

The way how they were constructed was obscure and the way how they rebuilt four of them, is that they removed the prime movers of the locomotives and replaced it with 30 t (30,000 kg) of concrete, and they also put concrete in the fuel tanks, the bogies which were formerly a Co-Co wheel arrangement were replaced with an A1A-A1A wheel arrangement. They were designed to be operated as traction units as they kept their traction motors and were designed so that whenever they would be used on a lash-up that they would boost the traction on the trains and were also designed to be used with Australian National's AL Class.[1][2][3]

When they were placed on the trains that were operated by the Australian National Railways, they constantly added more weight to the cars they were pulling (passenger and/or freight), their traction was prone to dropping and caused wheel slip, it had also caused the dynamic brakes that they were fitted with to constantly catch fire which was caused by a lack of ventilation. The Australian National Railways did fix the issue on all four units, but that never worked.[3]

All four units were withdrawn from active service and placed into storage in 1996, however, the Australian Southern Railroad trialled unit BU1 in 2000.[1][3][4] The four units were subsequently all cut up and scrapped in 2008.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Standard Gauge 600 class Archived 13 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine Chris' Commonwealth Railway Pages
  2. "The AL / ALF class units of Australian National" Railway Digest March 1996 pages 16-23
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Oberg, Leon (2007). Locomotives of Australia. Sydney: Rosenberg Publishing. p. 323. ISBN 9781877058547. Search this book on
  4. "BU1 Back in Service" Railway Digest April 2000 page 41
  5. BU Class Archived 9 August 2023 at the Wayback Machine Railpage

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