British Designed Locos Used in NSW
As others have noted, Great Britain exported thousands of locomotives, especially within the Empire/Commonwealth. This paper presents a very brief overview of just part of the obvious British connection in either origin or design for locos that operated in NSW. Similar stories could be written for locos that operated in other states.
I have been interested in (and modelled) both NSWGR locos and British designs (particularly the GWR) for many years. I have partly illustrated this paper with images from my own collection.
In Australia, there was a government policy to purchase either locally or from within the Empire. Products manufactured in the USA attracted a financial penalty. Therefore, for much of the 19th century, British locomotive designs dominated the various Australian state railways. (This policy persisted well into the 20th century, resulting in the purchase by the NSWGR of some Alco 40-class diesel electric locos assembled in Canada to avoid the penalty charges.) Nevertheless, some American-designed locos were purchased, chiefly from Baldwin, but these were not as successful as the British designs of the time.
In NSW, Beyer Peacock provided many of the staple designs.
From the late 19th century, US practice and local design expertise resulted in the adoption of locally developed designs which blended the best of both British and US practice. In NSW, this led to the introduction of the C32, C34, D50, D53, D55, D57, D58, C36, C38 and AD60 designs. Many of these were built locally, supplemented by batches made by Beyer Peacock (UK) and Baldwin (USA).
However, the NSWGR began with purely British designs, as their initial consulting engineer was James McConnell of the LNWR. Several later senior engineers came from the GWR, bringing with them the use of Churchward-inspired taper boilers and GWR workshop practice.
1. NSW Government Railways
These 0-4-2 locos were built by Robert Stephenson & Co to the designs of James McConnell of the LNWR, consulting engineer to the NSWGR. They were adapted from his 1854 design of Wolverton express goods 0-6-0 locos for the LNWR.
These little 2-2-2s were built by William Fairbairn & Sons and were, in essence, a small-wheeled version of LNWR “Problem” class. They entered service in 1857.
This group of 2-4-0s were built by Manning Wardle & Co, to the general design of a LNWR Crewe Goods and entered service in 1863.
S(29) & 9N:
This group of small box 0-6-0 saddle-tank locos was built by Manning Wardle & Co and entered service in 1863. “Pioneer” was used as a contractor’s engine, later entering service as 9N. The design seems to be a standard Manning Wardle one, with a UK example having operated on the Hook Norton Ironstone Partnership, which was absorbed into the GWR. It became GWR 1337. This image of Pioneer, later NSWGR 9N, came with the following information: “Pioneer, 1860s - Driver - Thomas Newport; Fireman - unknown; On footplate - William Sixsmith -- Loco imported to NSW by Sixsmith & Newport”
In the 1860s, John Fowler was consulting engineer to the NSWGR and, when asked to recommend a design of new express engines, proposed a version of his designs for the Metropolitan Railway and the Isle of Man Railway. They were built by Beyer Peacock & Co and entered service in 1865. They were later converted from 2-4-0s to 4-4-0s by the substitution of a Bissel truck. Related UK locos were the Metropolitan Railway 4-4-0T and Cambrian Railway 4-4-0 No.13.
When fast, light passenger engines were needed in the 1860s, a “Jenny Lind” 2-2-2 design was commissioned from Beyer Peacock & Co. They were introduced in 1862. A similar UK design ran on the West Midland Railway, eg No 100 (later GWR 245). In NSW, John Heron (known as “the big fish”) regularly drove No.15 on the express train from Penrith to Sydney which became known as “The Fish”, in recognition of its regular driver.
When powerful goods engines were needed to haul trains over the Great Zig-Zag (west of Sydney), a class of Stephenson “long boiler” 0-6-0s was commissioned from Robert Stephenson & Co, entering service in 1865. They resembled West Cornwall Railway “St Just”, later GWR 1385. Here is the last survivor, as restored to original condition.
When new suburban passenger engines were needed in the 1870s, the NSWGR acquired the working drawings of Stroudley’s famous “Terrier” locos on the LBSCR. They were built locally by Mort & Co and were introduced in 1875.
When further passenger engines were need in the 1870s, an improved version of the G(23) class was ordered from Beyer Peacock & Co, entering service in 1877. These were 4-4-0s, having a Bissel truck instead of a single leading axle. These also are related to the Metropolitan Railway 4-4-0T and Cambrian Railway 4-4-0 No.13.
In the mid 1870s, with increasing goods traffic, an improved “long boiler” 0-6-0 design was ordered from Beyer Peacock & Co. These locos lasted from their introduction in 1877 to the end of steam in the 1970s. Here’s a link to an “as built” image:
This is how they looked at the end of their long careers:
Most NSWGR workshops employed one or more small crane tank locomotives. This example was built by Dubs & Co and entered service in 1879. A similar example from 1901 is at the Foxfield Railway.
In the late 1870s, much suburban passenger traffic was being handled by unsuitable old locos. This class was built by Beyer Peacock & Co, using a design similar to that used for some IoWR 2-4-0Ts. Here are some images – when new and in service:
Because of ever-increasing goods traffic, a batch of 2-6-0s was ordered from Beyer Peacock & Co, entering service in 1882. These seem to have been built to a fairly standard design also used for MSWJR Nos 14 & 16 (later GWR 24).
These typically English inside-cylinder 4-4-0s were built by Beyer Peacock & Co, entering service in 1882. Here’s a link to BP’s photo:
Dubs & Co built variants to the BP design, which began service in 1883.
Built to a design used also for the Isle of Wight Railway in 1864, these engines were constructed by Beyer Peacock & Co and entered service in 1885. They also resemble Barry Railway C class (eg GWR 1322).
These express engines were built by Vulcan Foundry and entered service in 1887. Their styling is similar to the Adams 4-4-0 of LSWR (eg No 563 in NRM).
When further 2-6-0 goods engines similar to the B(205) class were needed, the order was won by Dubs & Co. They entered service in 1891. Like the B(205)s, they are very similar to MSWJR Nos 14 & 16 (later GWR 24).
From 1891, a small class of Beyer Peacock 4-4-2Ts began hauling passenger trains around suburban Sydney. They were generally similar to the Taff Vale Railway C class.
In 1892, one of the most useful passenger locos ever used by the NSWGR began service and examples remained in front-line use until the 1970s. They were designed by the NSWGR in consultation with Beyer Peacock & Co and the first batch was made by them in Manchester, just across the road from the works which delivered the very similar Highland Railway Jones Goods in 1894.
In the late 1890s, due to a shortage of suburban tank engines and the availability of C(79) class 4-4-0s displaced by new P(6) locos, some of the 4-4-0s were converted to tank engines, reinforcing the ancestral Metropolitan Railway tank engine looks of the class. They began service in 1896.
As passenger trains became heavier in the early 20th century, it became necessary to design and introduce more powerful locomotives. The then CME was E.E.Lucy, who had served under G.J.Churchward in the GWR. His design appears to be closely related to Churchward’s “Saint” class, but with smaller wheels better suited to the steep grades in NSW. They entered service in 1914. The locos were subsequently rebuilt with stronger frames, larger cabs and valences along the footplate, losing their GWR look.
These little engines, originally built by Manning Wardle for the NSW Public Works Department, entered service with the NSWGR in 1917. They saw many years’ service, mainly around loco depots and workshops. They were a typical British industrial tank engine.
In the 1920s, further powerful 4-6-0s were needed, so the NSWGR designed an improved version of the C35 class, with Walschaert’s valve gear and larger capacity tenders. As reboilered with units built by North British Locomotive Company in the 1950s, they bear a remarkable resemblance to LMS Class 5 4-6-0s.
2. Private Railways
When the Mersey Railway was electrified in 1904, its steam locos were disposed for further use elsewhere. Four were purchased for use on the Richmond Vale Railway, which served collieries in the Newcastle (NSW) coalfield. They entered service in 1907.
The Richmond Vale Railway also bought 13 ex-ROD 2-8-0s in the 1920s, the first three entering service in 1924. Some of these had not only worked for the British Army, but also for the GWR and GCR.
After the end of the Great War, several narrow gauge Hunslet 4-6-0s that had operated on the Western Front were refurbished for sale and at least one came out to Queensland to work at the Gin Gin Sugar Mill. This loco is now on display at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.
Hebburn Ltd (colliery) 2-6-2T No.1
Hebburn Colliery, on the Newcastle (NSW) coalfields, operated its own small fleet of locos. In 1955 it took delivery of a brand new 2-6-2 tank engine, built by Robert Stephenson & Co. to the drawings used for Alexander Docks Nos 36 & 37 (GWR 1205 & 1206). As it entered service, the last of its “brothers” was being cut up for scrap!
GWR 4079 Pendennis Castle
In 1977, GWR 4079 “Pendennis Castle” visited NSW briefly. She was landed in Darling Harbour (Sydney, NSW) and towed to Eveleigh Carriage Works where she was stored inside a purpose-built cage. A few months later, she proceeded in “light steam” behind a NSWGR diesel loco to Newcastle, where she was loaded onto the ship that took her to the Hammersley Iron Railway in Western Australia.
LNER 4472 “Flying Scotsman”
In 1988, LNER 4472 “Flying Scotsman” toured Australia as part of the Bicentennial celebrations. She visited many capital cities and starred in several tour trains.
- RCTS: “The Locomotives of the Great Western Railway”, Parts 3, 4 & 10.
- Leon Oberg: “Locomotives of Australia” (A.H. & A.W.Reed, 1975) – ISBN 0 589 07173 4
- Alex Grunbach: “A Compendium of NSW Steam Locomotives (ARHS, 1989) – ISBN 0 909650 27 6
- C.J.Bowen-Cooke: “British Locomotives” (Gresham Books reprint of 1893 original) – ISBN 0 905418 72 7
- J.E.Kite: “Vintage Steam” (Ian Allan, 1969) – SBN 4110 0117 0
- R.G.Preston: ”Tender Into Tank” (ARHS,1970)
- Gifford H.Eardley: “Locomotives Beyond Recall”(NSWRTM, 1976) – ISBN 0 909862 08 7
Edited by RosiesBoss, 26 March 2013 - 04:55 .