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Clyde-EMD A7 (Commonwealth Rys. Version)

Scale: 1:87

Clyde-EMD A7 drawing 1999 by Ian J Smith. All rights reserved. Used by permission. If you would like to use this image, or a painted version of it on your web site, you may do so, providing that you notify the artist and place a link back to The Railroad Paintshop. Linking directly to the image on the Railroad Paint Shop site is prohibited. If you want to use the image in any other form of publication, you must have the prior written permission of the artist.

Historical note: The Commonwealth Railways took delivery of 36 Clyde EMD A7s over a period of 13 years, starting in October, 1955 when GM12 was delivered, as the first of a batch of 10, with GM21 being delivered in July, 1957. Then a further 8 were delivered between August 1962 and March 1963. The remaining 18 were actually designated A16C under Clyde's new nomenclature system in line with EMD practice. These units were delivered between December 1964 and January 1968, GM47 was the last 16-567 powered loco to be built in the world. The A7s were very similar in appearance to the ML1s but had a Leslie Super Typhoon 5 chime horn mounted above the headlight, (Height restrictions meant that these warning devices could not be roof mounted) 4 portholes, sand fillers located in the car body sides instead of roof mounted and a more modern and aesthetically pleasing radiator intake grill instead of the, "chickenwire" grill of the ML1s. The new grill was similar to that used on Phase I F7s and was used on subsequent A7s too, including NSW and Victorian units. In fact, you will notice a lot of similarities on the Australian covered wagons to the US F's and E's -- the same "bulldog" nose, side panels (which were imported from EMD), fuel tank skirts, sand filler hatches, car body side portholes, rear roof overhang, cooling fan and dynamic fan covers, cab controls, pilots and many other items as well. The A7s had the more powerful 16-567C engine rated at 1,750HP and 6 traction motors. Only 11, GM37 to GM47, had dynamic brakes, since they were ordered to haul coal trains from Leigh Creek. All of the Commonwealth A7s had 2 engine room pressurising fans in order to keep the desert dust and grit out and allow clean filtered air to be inducted into the diesel engine. Most of the A7s and later A16Cs are now out of service, and although many have been scrapped, some have been saved for preservation, with others providing a source of spare parts for those left in service and some have now been bought by the newly formed private operators springing up in Australia such as Great Northern Railway and West Coast Railway. They formed the backbone of diesel operations on the Commonwealth system for many years being very reliable and able to handle any task, freight or crack expresses, such as the Indian Pacific, running Sydney to Perth, (equivalent to a train running New York to Los Angeles). They operated in the harshest conditions in Australia, (probably the world) and quickly proved the worth of diesel power to Australia's railway management in the early fifties. The loco crews, too, were very happy with their new diesels, as temperatures soar well into the 100+ mark in summer, which is no place to be driving a steam engine! Several Clyde Engineers spent some time at EMD in the late 40's and early 50's, working up designs for the new Australian locos from EMD designs and likewise EMD engineers spent time down under learning about our conditions, etc. It has been said that it was the Clyde engineers that first got EMD interested in developing a 3 motor truck, since as a result of our lower axle weights, we could not run B-B trucks down here on mainline locomotives of that weight. The ML1 trucks were cast in Kansas and imported, all subsequent trucks were cast locally at long-time Sydney based foundry, Bradford Kendall. From this research prompted by Clyde, I believe the 3-axle Flexcoil trucks used on SD-type locomotives were developed.

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