DE-class Bo+Bo diesel-electric locomotive No. 91

Commonwealth Railways

Standard Gauge


Class operators                                                   Commonwealth Railways/Australian National Railways

Condition                                                             Good - missing some mechanical parts

Ownership                                                           Port Dock Station Railway Trust

Provenance                                                         New South Wales Government Railways; Commonwealth Railways; Australian National

Built by                                                                General Electric Company, USA

Number in class                                                   2

Number series                                                     DE90 - DE91

Model                                                                  B-B-88/88-4GE733

Entered service                                                  1945

Entered the museum                                          1988

Engine type                                                        2x Caterpillar D17000

Cylinders                                                            V8 (4 stroke)

Bore & stroke                                                     5.75

Horsepower                                                        380/350

Traction Motors                                                  4x GE-733

Gear Ratio                                                         11.25:1

Fuel capacity                                                     210 gallons (954 litres)

Length (over coupling points)                            33’ 5’’

Total Weight                                                      44 tons (44,704 kilograms)

Maximum Axle Load                                          11 tons (11,176 kilograms)

Wheel Arrangement                                          Bo-Bo

Tractive Effort (continuous)                              13,000 lbs at 7.2 mph

Tractive Effort (starting)                                    26,300 lbs

Maximum Speed                                               35 mph (56 km/h)

Class Builders                                                  General Electric Company, USA

Bogie centres                                                  5.7

Designer                                                         General Electric Company, USA

Height                                                             3.7

Width                                                              2.9


During World War II the Commonwealth Government purchased four diesel-electric shunting locomotives from the United States Army Transportation Corps for use at their munitions plant at St Mary’s, NSW. Built by the General Electric Company, Erie, USA, they were that company’s model GE44 Standard 44-ton Switchers, and were powered by two Caterpillar 190 hp. V8 engines which delivered 350 hp. to the traction motors.

In Australia they retained their USATC numbers 7920-7923 and when, at the end of the war, they were handed over to the New South Wales Railways they continued to carry these numbers and became the 79-class. They were employed as coaching shunters in Sydney yard and at the Eveleigh workshops.

In September 1948 the Commonwealth Government, through the Department of Supply, resumed ownership of Nos. 7921 and 7922 for use at the Woomera Rocket Range. In 1950 they were sold to the Commonwealth Railways, where they were classified DE, numbered 90 and 91, and put to work shunting at Port Augusta and Port Pirie. Both engines performed these duties until heavier loads required the use of MDH and GM class locomotives. In the 1970s No. 91 regularly worked construction trains for the building of the Port Augusta- Whyalla railway after which both were placed in store at Port Augusta and rarely saw service.

No. 91 was acquired by the Museum in 1986, but was held at Port Augusta until it could be accommodated at Port Adelaide. No. 90 was purchased by the New South Wales Rail Transport Museum at Thirlmere. During 2014 locomotive DE91 was cosmetically restored to its original Commonwealth Railways Blue Black livery.

Visit the NRM

76 Lipson Street
Port Adelaide
South Australia  5015
Open Daily / 10am – 4:30pm





5-15 yrs & with an adult


2 adults & up to 3 children


  • Prices may vary for special events
  • Open from 12pm on ANZAC Day
  • Closed Christmas Day

The National Railway Museum acknowledges the Kaurna people as the traditional owners and custodians of the Adelaide Plains. We honour and respect their ongoing cultural and spiritual connections to this country. We aim to respect the cultural heritage, customs and beliefs of all Indigenous people.

Go to top