Built for the South Australian Railways from 1959, the forty-five 830 class locos were used on all three gauges in South Australia. After the grouping of the Tasmanian, Northern Territory and South Australian railways under common Commonwealth control, exchange of wagons & locomotives between the different sections occurred. Tasmania received wagons from the Northern Territory, and twenty 830 class locomotives and various wagon types from South Australia.
As the first air-braked locos in the state, the 830 class initially worked block log and coal trains, before the increase in air-braked services allowed them to operate on more general trains on all lines available at the time. The first pair of locos - 858 and 865 - entered service in Tasmanian in April 1980. Another two entered service later in the year, and by early 1982 a total of thirteen locos were in service, having been delivered gradually over the period. The next group of transfers started in late 1983, and the loco trickled in with the twentieth and final loco - 875 - entering service in August 1986. The fleet was intact for little over a year, with 846, 859 and 865 being withdrawn in late 1987 after the delivery of the first ZB class. The introduction of the ZC class saw a mass withdrawal of most of the 830 class locos in April 1989, leaving just 852, 866 and 875 in service in the Hobart and Derwent Valley areas. 866 was damaged in a level crossing collision and withdrawn in late 1990, but the other two locos survived until the end of Derwent Valley freight services, before 875 returned to South Australia in November 1992, and 852 following in June 1993.
Some of the locomotives that returned to the mainland are still in use elsewhere in Australia with various operators. 866 has been restored at the Don River Railway, but being airbraked only it sees little use.
In 2000, ATN Access (the mainland operations of Tasrail's owner), purchased three locomotives from Australian Southern Railroad (the then owner of ex AN operations in South Australia), for use on wheat trains in Victoria and New South Wales. These three locos joined former Westrail L class locomotives in the ATN Access fleet, but all locos spent significant periods of time stored due to mechanical problems, and were disposed of following the sale of ATN to PN.
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