H220 was the only locomotive constructed in this class.

Number built: 1

Number range: 220

Built by: Victorian Railways Newport Workshops

Built: 1941

Wheel Arrangement: 4-8-4 – Pocono wheel arrangement

Tractive Effort: 55,000 lb

Purpose: The H class was designed to replace the double-headed A2 steam locomotives that were being used on the Adelaide Express to climb the 10 mile, 1 in 48 gradient on the Ingliston Bank beyond Bacchus Marsh.

Interesting Facts: In 1936 the major design requirements were finalised by the Victorian Railways Design Office for a steam locomotive that was capable of hauling a load of 550 tons at 20 miles per hour up Ingliston Bank and had sufficient coal and water to run from Melbourne to Ararat. H220 was constructed by the Victorian Railways at Newport Workshops and entered service on 7 February 1941.

The H class is the largest locomotive built to operate on the Victorian Railways. It had an all-steel boiler operating at a pressure of 220 psi to supply the three cylinders that powered the locomotive.  The two outer cylinders drove the second coupled axle and the centre cylinder, mounted forward and clear of the outside cylinder casting, drove the leading coupled axle.  The three exhaust passages were brought to a common outlet which then branched into two nozzles exhausting into its distinctive double chimneys.

With a massive fire box grated of 68sq ft, a mechanical stoker was used for the first time in Victoria. The stoker operated a screw conveyor in a trough below the coal bunker to convey coal through an articulated tube to the firebox below the fire door opening where the coal was distributed to the grate by steam jets operated by the fireman.  To allow the locomotive to haul its train to Ararat without taking coal or water, the tender had a capacity of 9 tons of coal and 14000 gallons of water.

Although built for use on the Western line, due to the impact of World War 2 the bridges on the line were not upgraded to allow H220 to operate there without restriction.  Consequently the locomotive spent its entire service life on the North East as this was the only other line on which it could operate.  It was used mainly on fast goods trains with an occasional run on an express passenger train when a streamlined S class locomotive was not available.  H 220 made a brief appearance on the Western line when it ran a series of trials with the dynamometer car on goods trains from Melbourne to Ballarat in 1949.

Withdrawal: With diesel locomotives taking over from steam during the 1950’s, H220 was withdrawn from service in 1958 and was put on display in the Railway Museum in 1962.