In the late early 1960's
Queensland Railways placed an order for 18 for 34 units,
contracted over 3 batches. Class-leader 1620 was delivered to
QR on 4th January 1967, and the last unit built (1653) entered
service on 5th May 1969. They followed the design styling of
the New Zealand D1 class built by English Electric in the mid
1960s, these were a departure of the classic English diesel
look of earlier units.
The 1620 Class was powered by
an 862 hp 6-cylinder EE 6CSRKT engine which through
improvements to air and fuel intake was able to produce an
extra 30 hp compared to the earlier 1600 Class. Other
improvements over the 1600 Class were low weight transfer
bogies and automatic couplers.
The first nine 1620's delivered
were sent to the Northern Division and based at Cairns and
Townsville where they displaced the 1170 Class on branch line
duties.. The Cairns based 1620's began working trains between
Cairns and Mareeba, as well as the branches of the Atherton
Tablelands. Kuranda tourist trains were exclusively hauled by
1620's up until the early 1990's.
In the Central Division the
1620's were largely based in Rockhampton, and during the sugar
season in Mackay. They often worked the "Midlander" between
Emerald and Winton, typically in multiple with a 1600 Class
leading on the Drummond Range section as far as Alpha. The
1600s and 1620s worked all of the Central Division branches,
occasionally in multiple on cattle and grain specials.
For the majority their career
with QR, the 1620 Class saw very little use in the Southern
Division, although 1645 had been used for several years in the
mid-1970s on trains on Brisbane's southside. In the later
years of their service 1620-1623 subsequently appeared on
almost all of the Southern Division branches.
By the early 1990's most of the
remaining branch lines in the Northern Division were closed,
and those in the Central Division were upgraded to accommodate
90 ton diesels. The remaining 1620s were then sent to Mayne,
where they joined 1620-1623 on Southern Division branches and
local goods trains. The reduced need for 60-ton class
locomotives and coupled with a decision by QR to withdraw all
English Electric locomotive types from its fleet, resulted in
retirement of the 1620 class by late December 1995.
After retirement from QR
service, several were sold to a private operator for service
in the Philippines and Malaysia. Many of the class have been
scrapped, however six have been preserved. In 1996 Mary Valley
Heritage Railway at Gympie purchased 1632, 1639 and 1649. 1632
was restored to operational standard, and remains operational
at Gympie with Rattler Railway Company. In 2008, Queensland
Rail restored class-leader 1620 to working order for use in
heritage operations and now wears its original 1967 paint
scheme. During 2021, 1620 was placed into storage at Ipswich
due to the deterioration of the electrical wiring. 1650 and
1651 also remain stored at Ipswich.
The models will be available in
both 12.0mm and 16.5mm gauge and are standard with DC control
or available with optional DCC Sound control.
Sounds are exclusively from
These models have been produced
with invaluable research and development provided by CGL