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The D3 class started out life as the DD class, 261 of which were built from 1902 to 1921. The original saturated design was found to have some shortcomings, so commencing in 1914, various members of the class were converted to superheated design. In 1929, renumbering and reclassification took place, with the saturated locos being known as the D1 class, and the superheated locos the D2 class.
Further alterations in 1929 took place, with 94 of the D2 class being further rebuilt with larger boilers, and these became the D3 class. They were remarkably versatile locos, being used not only for shunting and light branch line work, but also for the occasional rostered main duty as well. They were capable of hard work, and speeds up to 80mph, and were quite popular with crews.
Loco DD980 was chosen to become the Commissioner's Loco, used for inspection touring of the Victorian rail network by the Railways Commissioner from 1916 onwards. This loco was rebuilt and renumbered to D3-639 in 1929, and was scrapped in 1958. However, the concept was too popular to be scrapped, and sister loco 658 was restored and renumbered as the second D3-639 in the early 60s, and today, this loco is retained for preservation running.
Also known as The Commissioner's Engine.
See also The Bicentennial Triple Parallel Run for more D3 Class photos.
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