Monday, 25 June 2007

History of Steam Locomotives in Western Australia

In February 2007 I visited the Rail Transport Museum in Bassendean, Perth, Western Australia. It's run by the Australian Railway Historical Society, Western Australian Division. See their website. This brief 'A to Z' of preserved locomotives is derived from the the Museum Guide. For my photographs of these exhibits, click here.

A: In 1880 John Robb imported a 2-6-0 from Beyer Peacock in England to build the Eastern Railway from Fremantle through Perth to Guildford. The locomotive was acquired by West Australia Government Railways, classified as 'A' class and ultimately there were 12 locomotives in the class. 'A.11' is preserved at Bassendean.

B: The Midland Railway imported nine Hawthorn Leslie 4-4-0 around 1891. Initially unclassed, they became the 'T' class in 1912 and 'B' class in 1921.

C: The Eastern Railway was opened in 1881 and two 0-6-0 tender locomotives built by Robert Stephenson and Company in England were used on the line. Later classified as 'C' class, 'C.1', 'Katie', survives at Bassendean, cosmetically restored.

Dd: The 'D' class 'Baltic' tanks were first introduced in 1912, becoming 'Ds' when superheated. In 1945, the 'Dm' class appeared, using parts from withdrawn 'E' class locomotives. In 1946 ten improved 'Dd' class were built. They were used on suburban passenger, freight and banking. Dd.592 and Dd.596 survive.

Es: The 'E' class 4-6-2 was introduced in 1902. In 1924, superheating was introduced and the rebuilt locomotives were designated 'Es'. The preserved locomotive Es.308 ran 1.25 million miles, having received new frames in 1935.

Fs: The 'F' class 4-8-0 was introduced in 1902 as a heavy freight locomotive, displacing 'K' class locomotives. The first 'F' class was superheated (to become 'Fs' class) in 1912, but the preserved locomotive Fs.460 (originally F.407) was not superheated until 1937.

G: The 'G' class 2-6-0 was a standard Beyer Peacock design and an enlarged version of the 'A' class. Preserved locomotive 'G.233' was built in Australia by James Martin and Company in 1898.

H: In 1889 two small 0-6-0T arrived from Nielson & Company for the Bunbury - Boyanup line. After a long and varied service, H.18 was presented to the Australian Historical Railway Society and is now on display at Bassendean.

N: Introduced in 1896, there were over 70 of these popular 4-4-4 passenger tanks. In addition, around 1907, Midland Workshops produced another 10, using parts from withdrawn 'O' class locomotives. N.201 is preserved.

O: Forty-six 'O' class were introduced between 1896 and 1898, being a lightweight version of the 'K' class with better route availability. O.218 was preserved after running 750,000 miles.

P: This express passenger 4-6-2 was introduced in 1924 and by 1929 the class numbered 25. During WWII, eight were rebuilt with higher pressure boilers and re-classified 'Pr'. P.448 entered service in 1925, was renumbered as P.508 in 1947, was condemned in 1969 and subsequently entered the museum.

Pr: Ten improved 'P' class 4-6-2 were built at Midland Workshops between 1937 and 1939. They were known as the 'River' class, beause of the naming and re-classified as 'Pr' in 1940. Pr.138 was the first of the class, renumbered as Pr.521 in 1946, withdrawn in 1967, subsequently moving to the museum.

Pm: This modified 'Pr' class was introduced in 1950 with a number of improvements but, being rough riders, were confined to freight working. Pm.701 survives.

S: The first class wholly designed and built in Australia, three of these 4-8-2 were built at Midland in 1943 and a further seven after the war. S.542 (originally S.477) from the first batch and S.549 are now preserved.

U: Fourteen of these oil-burning 4-6-2, originally intended for the Sudan, were supplied by Britain in 1946, working fast passenger and goods. U.655 is preserved.

Ut: This was supplied by North British in 1942 as U.644 and converted in 1957 into a 4-6-4T for working suburban passenger trains, re-numbered Ut.644 and entering preservation in 1972.

V: These powerful 2-8-2 from Robert Stephenson and Hawthorn (as sub-contractors to Beyer Peacock) were introduced in 1956. The tractive effort of 33,630 lbs. made them suitable for working heavy coal trains. The class numbered 24. V.1220 entered the museum in 1972.

W: Sixty of this successful class were supplied by Beyer Peacock from 1951. The 4-8-2 design was suitable for both fast passenger and goods. W.953 entered the museum in 1972. W.947 was sold in 1973 for working tourist trains from Albany and joined W.953 in the museum in 1985.