ETSA Locomotive 1

Electricity Trust of South Australia

Standard Gauge


Class operators: Electricity Trust of South Australia

Condition: Good

Entered service: 1958

Entered the museum: 1988

Length (over coupling points): 27’ 6’’

Number in class: 2

Ownership: Port Dock Station Railway Trust

Provenance: Electricity Trust of South Australia Port Augusta

Total Weight: 53.00 tons

Tractive Effort: 545HP

Withdrawn: 1988


In 1956 the Commonwealth Railways called tenders for four suitable Bo-Bo diesel locomotives with sufficient power to perform an occasional main line haul, and replace all steam on routine transfer and shunting operations. The resulting contract was subsequently altered to six locomotives with a Co wheel arrangement which were classified as the ‘MDH’ class.

Clyde Engineering Co. Ltd manufactured the locomotives, with the engines and final drives being provided by Maybach Motorenbau of Friedrichshafen, West Germany. Hydraulic transmission equipment was supplied by Mekydro. The six shunters all entered service by May 1959 and were used at Parkeston (Kalgoorlie), Port Augusta and Port Pirie, although there were occasions when they hauled trains across the Nullarbor.

At the same time as the Commonwealth contract was being called the Electricity Trust of South Australia (ETSA) decided to obtain an engine for use at the Thomas Playford Power-House, Port Augusta. They chose to go with an almost identical unit to that ordered by the Commonwealth Railways. This had the advantage that the Commonwealth Railways could be contracted to maintain the locomotive at the Port Augusta workshops, which were not far from the power station.

The unit was unclassified by ETSA, instead only being given the road number of ‘1’. After being withdrawn from service it spent a number of years stored at Port Augusta before being obtained by the museum.

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





5-15 yrs & with an adult


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Phone: 8341 1690

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.

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