Locomotive 900 - Lady Norrie

South Australian Railways

Broad Gauge



Class operators                                                   South Australian Railways; Australian National Railways

Condition                                                             Excellent

Provenance                                                         South Australian Railways

Ownership                                                           Port Dock Station Railway Trust

Class Builders                                                     S.A.R. Islington Workshops

Number in class                                                  10

Entered service                                                  12th September 1951

Withdrawn                                                           1st July 1985

Entered the museum                                          18th August 1985

Length (over coupling points)                             66’ 2’’ (20.17m)

Total Weight                                                       126 tons (126,000 kilograms)

Traction Motors                                                  4

Wheel Arrangement                                           A1A-A1A

Maximum Axle Load                                           21.3 tons (21,300 kilograms)

Gear Ratio                                                         70:19

Tractive Effort (starting)                                     47,000 lbs (279 kN)

Tractive Effort (continuous)                               34,000 lbs at 14.7 mph (151 kN at 23.6 km/h)

Engine type                                                       English Electric 16 SVT

Cylinders                                                           V16

Horsepower                                                       1,760 hp at 750 rpm

Maximum Speed                                                74 mph (119 km/h)

Fuel capacity                                                    1000 gallons (4,546 litres)

Bogie centres                                                   10.97

Built by                                                             S.A.R. Islington Workshops

Designer                                                          S.A.R. Islington Workshops

Height                                                              4.19m

Condemned                                                    27th of July 1985

Model                                                              900 Class

Number series                                                 900 to 909

Width                                                               2.97m


The first main line diesel-electric locomotive to be placed in service on the Australian mainland was South Australian Railways’ No. 900, Lady Norrie, which entered traffic on 10th September 1951. Of conventional design, with a body similar to contemporary Alco (USA) practise, it was built at the Islington Workshops, using English Electric engines and electricals, and was the first of 10 1580 horsepower machines which would change the face of railways in South Australia forever.

No. 900 made a dynamometer test run with a Port Pirie goods run on 10th September 1951 and its first revenue run hauling the down the East-West Express between Adelaide and Port Pirie on 12th September. It continued to work this train until No. 901 entered service on 2nd November and multiple unit trials were run on goods trains through the hills. On the 20th November both engines hauled the ‘Overland’ between Adelaide and Tailem Bend and as more units became available they began working through to Serviceton. Thus were the 500B, 700 and 720B-classes displaced from the Adelaide to Tailem Bend line and the 600C-class from the section to Serviceton.

The 900s were soon working over all main lines hauling both goods and passenger trains, and were to enjoy a long life beyond that normally allotted to diesel locomotives. They also generated amongst railway enthusiasts an affection akin to that enjoyed by the steam locomotives they had displaced.

After Australian National took over the country lines in South Australia in March 1978 the 900s began to be withdrawn as they became due for major overhauls, but those remaining enjoyed a moment of glory in the early 1980s. For a brief period, triple-heading, they returned to working the ‘Overland’. 900 and 909 worked to Coonalpyn on a Steamranger ‘Last passenger run’ on 29th July 1984 but, on 1st July 1985 the axe finally fell and the five left in service were condemned.

No.900 was placed in the Mile End Railway Museum on 18th August 1985 and Nos.907 and 909 were acquired by Steamranger. Before being placed in the museum, however, No.900 made one final journey when it was towed by goods train to Melbourne and placed on display at the Austeam88 celebrations on 23rd October 1988.

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
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  • Open from 12pm on ANZAC Day
  • Closed Christmas Day

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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