Restored small British-built locos ‘down under’

FORMER Victorian Railways (VR) 0-6-0 diesel electric loco F208 has returned to the main line, operating a rail tour on July 17.

The tour centred around suburban Melbourne and was called ‘The Best of British’ as North British-built 4-6-4 steam loco R707 was on the other end of the train to assist where necessary.

F 208 standing outside Laverton awaiting a signal to proceed towards Aircraft with ‘The Best of British’ tour on July 17. DARREN WOOD

The 10 ‘F’-class locos for VR were built at the English Electric (EE) Dick, Kerr Works in Preston between 1951 and 1953.

The 350 HP locos were equipped with EE 6KT engines and based on the BR Class 11 and the similar Class 600 locos sold to Dutch national operator NS. VR later acquired six more identical locos originally bought from EE by the State Electricity Commission of Victoria.

All 16 locos remained in service until withdrawals started in 1979, with the last withdrawn in 1987. No fewer than six of the fleet survive in preservation, although most are not operational.

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