Victorian Goldfields Railway
Victorian Goldfields Railway


Diesel-Electric Rail Motor (D.E.R.M.)

Under the leadership of Chairman of the Victorian Railway’s Commissioners Harold Winthrop Clapp, 10 Petrol (Gasoline) Electric Rail Motors were all built at Newport using primary technical components imported from the United States. Parts imported included the Winton model 106A 175 H.P. gasoline engines, General Electric DT-501-F main generators, 2 x GE 292-A traction motors per car, electrical switchgear, 2 x K-76A cab-controllers per car and for the first car only, No. 55RM the Brill power bogie (truck), latter cars having suburban train “plate frame” bogies.

The 57’4” / 58’ foot long cars were significantly based on the two prototype cars built by the “Electro Motive Company” (EMC) based in Cleveland Ohio and assembled in St Louis, Missouri being completed in 1924; these being the near identical M-300 and B-3 which were sold to the Chicago Great Western and Northern Pacific respectively. The 10 Victorian cars were quite unusual in that they were of double-ended configuration whereas most American cars were single-ended.

These cars, sometimes known in the US as “Doodlebugs” solved the problem of earlier often unreliable Rail Motor Cars that had direct mechanical transmissions with the application of an electrical transmission system. This process was developed by genius Swiss-American Mr. Hermann Lemp and applied at EMC by Engineer Dick Dilworth.

The EMC and Winton businesses were purchased by General Motors in 1930 and went on to become their Electro Motive Division which built 10,000s of diesel electric locomotives derived from this very car’s design!

To extend her service life, during October 1953 61RM was converted to Diesel-Electric operation at Jolimont Workshops when her Winton petrol engine was replaced by 2 x GM Series 71, 6 cylinder 2-stroke 255 H.P. diesel motors. Plate frame motor bogies were replaced with a more modern “equalized” suburban car bogie design at the same time.

The Victorian Railways built 5 matching standard trailer carriages to 2 slightly different designs at Newport in 1930 and one of these is on display at our “Sister Railway” the Daylesford Spa Country Railway.

In 1977 and 1978 the “prototype” car 55RM and this car 61RM underwent major rebuilding at Newport Workshops to modernise and extend their service life. During this process the GM Series 71 engines were turned 90 degrees in the engineroom in order to ease access for crews and the car’s frame lengthened. Significant modernisation took place which greatly altered the external appearance of the cars. Modern interiors were also fitted.

As DERMs (Diesel Electric Rail Motors) the 10 cars gave the Victorian Railways extraordinary service, outliving more modern railcars. Apart from the loss of car 57 in 1979 due to a collision, the remaining 9 cars gave exceptional service right up until Friday, May 17, 1991 a total of 63 years operation since PERM 55s completion in 1928.

(Blurb kindly researched and written by Sean Kelly - Retired Locomotive Driver - December 2016)

61 RM

RM 61 on Maldon Turntable, July, 2002 Damien Hurrell
1930 Assembled at Newport Railway Workshops as Motor No. 61 (PERM).
Entered VR service on 21/6/1930
1953Converted to Diesel-Electric (DERM) during 10/1953
1979Major overall and conversion
Re entered service
1991Withdrawal from V/Line service and placed in the care of the Rail Motor Drivers' Group, and based at Spencer Street for charter trips
1993Transferred by rail to Bendigo, then conveyed by road to Maldon by 158 Transport Troop, Australian Army, Puckapunyal
1994Assigned to VGR
2010Transferred to the South Gippsland Railway 15/06/2010

After 16 Years of Service on the VGR, 61 RM has found a new home on the South Gippsland Railway

Diesel Rail Car, 102 H.P. (Walker)

Between 1948 and 1953, the Victorian Railways obtained a number of diesel rail cars, the power units supplied by Walker Rail-Car Co., England, the bodies built by Martin & King Pty. Ltd., Victoria with the units assembled at the Newport Railway Workshops. They are commonly known as the 'Walker Rail Cars'.

Nos. 1-12 being of 102 HP
Nos. 20-34 being of 153 HP and having a trailer unit,
Nos. 80-91 being of 280 HP, Articulated with a central power unit.
Nos. 13,35,92 were spare units.

These units replaced steam hauled passenger trains on many branch and secondary lines, with a number operating into Melbourne as part of those services.

RM 7

RM 7 off tracked at Maldon, September, 2003 William Maylor
1949 Entered VR service on 22/7/1949
1978Withdrawn on 3/4/1978
1993Conveyed by road (Newport) to Maldon by 158 Transport Troop, Australian Army, Puckapunyal
2007Conveyed by road (Maldon) to Daylesford for future restoration and use by the Central Highlands Tourist Railway 03/2007

This unit requires extensive restoration.