Beyer Peacock 0-6-0
a steam nut all my life, working on steam for the New South Wales
Government Railway in my early working life and having built a number of
live steam locos, I have always been keen to go into full size
restoration. After I took an early retirement about 18 months ago the
opportunity arose to join the Glenreagh Mountain Railway that had just
taken delivery of an old Beyer Peacock 0-6-0 “19 class”, built
in 1878 from the old “New South Wales Government Railways” here in
Australia. Here are two photo’s showing her in operation and just
I first saw her at the railway she was standing derelict and minus her
chimney in a shed that the volunteer group had managed to build from
money that a deceased member had willed to the movement. I walked into
the shed and just sat there and thought well, where do I start? I have
built a few live steamers and had actually worked on the engine when she
was in regular service many years ago. Sitting there I said well,
she’s no different to a model, she just weighs 47 tons more!
Lets have a go! So I headed right over to Bruce’s place a, good
mate of mine. Bruce is a guy who comes over and drives my live steamers.
I said, “Right, what do you think?”
very next week Bruce and I started to dismantle and ready here for a
complete inspection of the boiler and all working parts. Bruce and I
worked steadily for 5 months every Thursday until we had her standing
there stripped to the bare bones. We then called in the boiler inspector
to give us an assessment. He gave us a list of repairs, which were not
too daunting. The railway then made the decision to go ahead and fully
restore the loco.
following week I got the local newspaper to do a story on the loco with
some photos of Bruce and I asking if any body wanted to join us. From
that article came forward one of the best group of blokes I have ever
met. Most had been retired for a number of years and were looking for
something stimulating to do and have they have certainly found that!
Some were old railway blokes others retired engineers, doctors and yes
even a member of the clergy. We have a good cross section of people. A
restoration program was drawn up and everyone took on various projects.
One member, Ross Jones a retired diesel mechanic, is restoring two
Westinghouse air compressors. It is rumored that they will blow smoke
instead of air when they are overhauled.
some months, the boiler repairs were completed, complex repairs, which
involved the welding in of patches to wasted sections. The boiler
inspector was then requested to return and we hydrostatically tested the
boiler to 225 lbs. per square inch (some one else can work that out in
kilopascals they didn’t have them in 1878!). The boiler passed with
from that time onwards the group just hasn’t looked back. With the
locomotive now assured to steam again a lot of interest has been
generated from all around. A lot of people have come out of the woodwork
with loads of help. The old 6-wheeled tender is badly rusted and work
will start on a new water tank within the next few weeks. This work
should be completed within 4 to 5 months. New lagging and boiler
jacketing is now being built and installed on the boiler. When this is
finished, the rest of the locomotive can be assembled. When we received
the loco, all the fittings were missing. By visiting every other
preservation society in NSW and with the help of various individuals,
collectively, we have had donated all the missing parts such as gauges,
lubricators, valves etc. etc. Everything has been found, restored and is
now ready to be fitted. In the months ahead, great things await us like
the first steam up and trial running. It is sure to be a big buzz.
course it is never as easy as that. Much has to be done to satisfy the
government departments that sanction running the loco, for example,
setting up the operating training which will cumulate with certification
to operate the loco. I have to say though, they have been very helpful
to us and are encouraging us to have a go and do the right thing. At the
same time another group are restoring several carriages and an old open
4-wheel wagon in which we have been given permission to allow people to
ride out in the open behind the engine. Yet another group are restoring
the track and this is where the really heavy work is taking place. The
old line is, in it’s self a work of art, it is as closed in the 70/s
and climbs up the coastal range through dense rainforest with a high
annual rainfall which has rotted out every timber sleeper (tie) and
every wooden bridge and was so heavily overgrown with every weed
imaginable imported into this country. Weeds grow here at about a
hundred fold from their native climate and formed an almost impenetrable
The group bought half the line, which is 35 kilometers long for wait for this for the princely sum of $1 surely one of the best real estate deals in the last century. Our group are sticking to a policy of that we don’t want any thing on the property that we are not going to use hence you will not see loads of old rotting rolling stock only those items that we need and are being restored to operate the railway. We are currently negotiating for a second steam locomotive.
in on our website www.gmr.org.au for regular updates and pop in
to see us if you are in the area.