When additional locomotives were required on the Central Australia Railway a decade after the introduction of the NSU class in 1954, another Sulzer powered design was chosen. Unlike the earlier NSU class, the thirteen NT class locomotives were built in Australia by Tulloch Ltd of Rhodes, NSW. The NT class were based on a design using Sulzer engines and AEI electrical equipment, and rated at 1300 hp. (In the "NT" class designation, "N" denotes narrow gauge, and "T" denotes "Tulloch".)

The initial order of three units were delivered in 1965 on standard gauge bogies to Broken Hill where their narrow gauge bogies were fitted. From there they worked to Quorn via Peterborough, and then ran down through the Pichi Richi Pass to Port Augusta.

In 1966 an additional ten locomotives were ordered, and during 1966 to 1968 they too were delivered via the Pichi Richi Pass. It was believed that when NT77, the last of the order, travelled through the Pass in September 1968 it constituted the final movement over the line as shortly after the line was severed when the Saltia bridge was damaged.

The NTs initially served on the Central Australia Railway between Marree and Alice Springs. The NT class could operate as multiple units with the NSU class that had been in service since 1954-1955.

All members of the NT class were subsequently transferred to the North Australia Railway, which extended from Darwin south to Birdum, where they were used for iron ore haulage from the Frances Creek mine. Several of the class were written off due to a major accident in 1972. Following the closure of the North Australia Railway in 1976, the remaining NT locomotives were transferred back to the Central Australia Raiilway that year.

The narrow gauge Central Australia Railway was closed by Australian National Railways in 1980. Several NTs were then withdrawn and scrapped; the remainder were transferred to work on the Gladstone to Wilmington line, the Peterborough to Orroroo line, and later several were transferred to the Port Lincoln Division.

With the exception of NT76 all had been scrapped by 1990.

NT73 and an NSU Class at Alberrie Creek bridge with a northbound freight in October 1978 (Photo: Jeremy Browne)

Technical specifications

Wheel arrangement Co-Co
Engine Sulzer
Weight 69 tons 70 t
Length 46 ft 7 in 14.2 m
Power 1,300 hp 970 kW
Max Axle Load 12.6 tons 12.8 t
Max Speed 50 mph 80 km/h

Representatives in the Pichi Richi Railway collection


NT76 entered service in 1968 on the Central Australia Railway. Within three months it was transferred to the North Australia Railway, and was then returned to the Central Australia Railway in 1976. Following the closure of the Marree–Alice Springs Central Australia Railway narrow gauge in 1980, Australian National Railways then used NT76 at Gladstone on the Wilmington branch line and also at Peterborough.

NT76 is the only surviving member of the class, and was purchased by PRRPS from Australian National in 1989 in operational condition.

Builder Tulloch Ltd
Entered service 12 August 1968
Builder’s number 053
Withdrawn from service  
Distance travelled in service 593,355 miles as at 1982 (when still in service)
Acquired by PRRPS 28 September 1989
Notes Delivered to Quorn by rail via Stirling North 6 October 1989
PRRPS operational status Operational