Into 2000 with Great Northern...

Great Northern Rail Services
Although not strictly a South Australian operation, they have expressed intent to purchase thirteen of the earlier GM series of Clyde-built EMD A7 locomotives from ASR, surplus to their requirements, some for operational use, and the others as a mobile spare parts store.

These units, similar to the Victorian S-class (but without dynamic braking), have started to be refurbished using ASR's locomotive erection shop at Islington, the intention being initially to refurbish two middle series units, using a mixture of local and Victorian fitters. There is current talk of retaining the repair team to perform ongoing maintenance work at Islington, but a decision is yet to be made.

In the first quarter of 1999, a decision was made by GNRS to additionally refurbish one of the four traction motor earliest (ML1) series of GMs, No.10, on which work has started, but this is not a priority while the rebuild of GM27 continues. It has been suggested that GM10's eventual use might be for shunting purposes.

Liners and pistons, traction motors and wheelsets all replaced, the first unit succesfully completed its tests on the main line to Long Plains on 8th December 1998, and as GN no 22, previously GM22, it was outshopped from Islington on Saturday 12th December 1998, and was sent to the Dry Creek MPC at midday the following day for rostering.

That night, it worked in revenue service, hauling a Patrick's freight from Port Adelaide to Melbourne at 1630 in conjunction with CLP14, GM42 and 70x. There has been talk of the unit being hired back to ASR for wheat traffic, in which case it may well be regularly seen in South Australia for a while. In the mean time it is gainfully employed on track upgrading work on the Victorian side of the border, waiting for its sister, 27, which is currently almost complete, and waiting for the supply of a reconditioned part before it can go out on trials.

Great Northern have been in existence for some five years now, and are making a healthy living by contracting their services to V/Line and NRC; it will be interesting to see how they are placed with V/Line's privatisation.

Illustrations - shunting the Commemorative IP in Melbourne

- ex Westrail J's in NRC livery in Victoria

ex-AN GMs being rebuilt (in Adelaide) (22 is the first)

CLP14+22+GM42+70x at Dry Creek



Updated 27th April 1999