B83 is one of the remaining intact members of the class.
Number built: 26
Number range: 60-85
Built by: Clyde Engineering
Wheel Arrangement: Co-Co
Tractive Effort: 179 kN
Purpose: The B class locomotives were initially used on express passenger and fast freight duties. As newer locomotives became available in later years, they were more generally used on lighter passenger trains.
Interesting Facts: The original layout of the B class diesel-electric locomotive design was developed in the USA and was derived from the 1937 design for the E series and the shorter F series locomotives. Built by the Electro Motive Division (EMD) of General Motors (GM) at its La Grange works in Illinois, the E and F units were widely used by many US railroad companies.
During the late 1940s and early 1950s, General Motors was one of very few really experienced diesel locomotive builders in the world and the company developed an export version of its F unit design. The first customer for the export version locomotive was the Commonwealth Railways in Australia with an initial purchase of 11 single cab locomotives known as the GM class.
The Victorian Railways followed closely behind with the purchase of 26 B class double cab locomotives. The Victorian locomotives were the first to have six of the D27 motors, with a special simplified control system that allowed full power at all speeds, but reduced starting tractive effort. As with most other EMD locomotives for Australia, the B class was constructed by Clyde Engineering at Granville, west of Sydney.
Withdrawal: After 30 years of service, a program of rebuilding the B class locomotives into the A class was initiated. With relatively small changes in appearance, the original engine, generator and entire electrical and radiator systems were replaced by modern equipment. Although the result was a higher tractive effort and nearly a 50% increase in locomotive power output, the cost of rebuilding was high and the program was stopped after 11 locomotives. The locomotives converted were B60, B62, B66, B70, B71, B73, B77, B78, B79, B81 and B85.