Class 350 diesel shunter number 351 was built at Islington in 1949.
The 350 class were built at Islington Workshops using kits purchased from English Electric in the UK. The kits comprised the engine, the 500v DC generator, the four traction motors and all switching gear and cab controls. South Australian Railways actually ordered kits for six locomotives but reportedly four of them sank half way across the Indian Ocean.
The two locomotives of the 350-class were the first main line diesel electric locomotives built in Australia and to work on the South Australian Railways. They carried road numbers 350 and 351 and were placed in service on 7th June 1949 and 21st June 1949 respectively.
Powered by an English Electric 6KT six cylinder inline engine supplying four traction motors and delivering 254HP, maximum speed was 27 kph. Tractive effort 23,400 lbs starting and 8,700 lbs at 12.7 kph. The locomotive achieved a lifetime mileage of 645,231 Km. It weighs 50.4 tonnes and has a fuel capacity of 1,364 litres.
Built to perform shunting duties at Adelaide and Mile End, they were soon required to undertake more exacting work. During the protracted coal strike of 1950 they were put to work hauling suburban passenger trains on the Marino and Outer Harbour lines. With a top speed of 18 mph (28 kph) the passage of these trains would have been painfully slow.
With the introduction of the 500-class shunting locomotives in the 1960s both of the 350s were sent to the Islington Workshops for shunting there, and the adjacent TNT yard. In 1965, 351 was used as the Mount Gambier shunter.
No.351 was condemned on 23rd August 1979 and was acquired by a Tourist Railway group at Moonta who planned to use it hauling trains around the “Cornish Triangle”, but nothing came of the venture. It was eventually purchased by Steamranger and arrived at their Dry Creek depot on 22nd October 1981 where their volunteers painted it two tone blue. Here it was returned to working order and used again as a shunting locomotive. It suffered a major engine failure early in 1991 and, as Steamranger had also previously acquired No.350, it was offered to the National Railway Museum as a static exhibit. It was hauled to the museum at Port Adelaide by “Pacific” No.621 on Saturday 13th July 1991 and, after twenty four years in storage, was gifted to the Milang Railway Museum. It arrived at Milang on 28th October 2015 and has been restored by our volunteers back to its original SAR colours. A driving simulator has been installed in the cab for visitor use.
The photos show 351 during its working life.