XA Diesel Loco                         


  XA Class Diesel Electric Locomotive

XA 1401 Pedong in Pinjarra Yard © Photo by Murray Rowe

Following the war the WAGR embarked on an extensive rehabilitation programme to purchase new motive power. A new inclusion was the introduction of Diesel Electrics, and this could overcome the problem of water and coal in some parts of the state. 48 diesel-electric’s were ordered from the Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Export Co Ltd of Manchester, England.





1954 - X 
1956 - XA 
1963 - XB
Number in class


32 -  X
16 -  XA 
10 -  XB eventually converted from X


Metropolitan Vickers & Beyer, Peacock


Narrow - 3ft 6 inch /1064mm




14.63 m


80 t


Crossley HSTV8


MV TG4203
Traction motors


MV 136


825 kW / 1105 HP
Tractive effort


116 / 53 kN


89 / 39 km/h


End view of XA Class locomotive All electrical equipment was supplied by the builders but the 1105hp engines were built by Crossley Bros. Mechanical parts were supplied by Metropolitan-Vickers and Beyer and Peacock & Co, and the locomotives were erected at Stockton-on-Tees works. The were painted in the Larch green colour scheme and were named after aboriginal tribes.
The “X” class was an entirely new design, with it’s axle load of 10 tonnes and a strange wheel arrangement of 4-8-4 (2-Do-2) with the four driving axles mounted within the rigid wheel base. This was to keep the weight of the locomotive light. These were the most powerful locomotives in Australia (at that time).

  While the locomotives were being built, it was decided to have some of the class fitted with multiple unit operation. The last 16 units to be built incorporated this and were classified XA and differed to the X with inter-unit doors at each end. Ten X class were then converted to having multi-unit controls without unit end unit doors and classified XB.

Cab Controls of XA 1401

Before entering service, it was decided to name all of the X/XA/XB classes after Aboriginal tribes in Western Australia. These were :

Number Name Number Name
X1001 Yalagonga X1025 Loonga
X1002 Bibbulmun X1026 Mangala
X1003 Ditu-Wonga X1027/XB1027 Marangal
X1004/XB1004 Kadjerden X1028 Meeraman
X1005 Meananger X1029 Muliarra
X1006/XB1006 Nangamada X1030 Mooroon
X1007 Natingaro X1031 Yauera
X1008/XB1008 Warrangoo X1032/XB1032 Yeithi
X1009 Arnga XA1401 Pedong
X1010 Arawodi XA1402 Targari
X1011 Balgua XA1403 Wanbiri
X1012 Ballardong XA1404 Pardoo
X1013 Boonara XA1405 Warienga
X1014 Churoro XA1406 Ungarinyin
X1015 Cheangwa XA1407 Wirngir
X1016 Djukin XA1408 Wolmeri
X1017/XB1017 Ewenyoon XA1409 Unambal
X1018/XB1018 Inpirra XA1410 Tenma
X1019 Ingarra XA1411 Weedookarri
X1020/XB1020 Jargurdi XA1412 Noala
X1021 Jarroo XA1413 Yabaroo
X1022/XB1022 Kardagur XA1414 Yindi
X1023 Kariera XA1415 Wurara
X1024/XB1024 Kogara XA1416 Niligara

 The first X class entered service on 4 May 1954 and the others were introduced over the following two years. Most were placed in service where coaling and watering facilities were difficult to obtain, such as the northern and eastern parts of WA.

X Outline 162kb.jpg (170390 bytes)

X Class Outline Drawing 162kb

They were found to be good on all passenger duties and slashed times from the previous steam timetable. All long distant passenger trains were soon operated with the X class.

Axel box cover of XA 1401

Considerable problems did arise due to the rigid driving wheel base and type of engine used and consequently numerous modifications were made to overcome these problems.

Left hand side view of XA class locomotive

The last X class type was not withdrawn until 1988, a 35 year working life, not bad for a first generation diesel-electric.

XA 1401 “Pedong” was purchased by members of Hotham Valley in 1988 and had clocked up a million miles in its working life since it entered service in 1955. It is restricted from operating on the Dwellingup line due to it’s rigid wheel base and since the introduction of the electrical canopy for the new electric train system, the XA cannot operate under the over-head wires of the Fremantle line due to over-head tension in the exhaust  units ( the overhead is much lower on the Fremantle line ) although can occasionally be seen on the Midland or Armadale lines . Modifications to the exhaust have been looked at and may one day be undertaken to give a wider range of operation under the overhead wires.

Today there only 6 complete WAGR X type locomotives in existence with one of XA 1403's Cabs being located in a market in the suburban town of Gosnells


Location Preserved

X1001 ARHS-Bassendean Railway Museum
XA1401 Hotham Valley Tourist Railway
XA1402 ARHS-Bassendean Railway Museum
XA1405 ARHS-Bassendean Railway Museum
XA1411 Hotham Valley Tourist Railway

Narrogin (static display)

On loan to Apex Narrogin from HVTR

in exchange for Pm 706

14/11/87 Just prior to the introduction of new railcars for the Australind, the W.A. ARHS organised a last AXMO XA hauled Australind with 1402 and 1405. Sadly both of these units have not been seen on the main line since the early 90's.




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