• Largest steam engine in the southern hemisphere For Sale

  • Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of North America.
Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of North America.

Moderators: Komachi, David Benton

  by stevej
 
G'day,
The largest operating puffer billy in the southern hemisphere up For Sale.
And, possibly now sold to remain here in NSW.
NSWR AD60 class Beyer Garratt 4-8-4+4-8-4 unit 6029 entered service in 1954.
It was acquired by the ARHS Canberra mob in 1998, and resurrected in 2015.
I have only witnessed a total of four of these leviathans belching soot and cinders.
6039 in 1978, 6042 in 1979, baby Beyer Garratt QR 1009 (largest puffer billy on the QR) in 1997, and 6029 in 2016.
QR 1009 only had a brief return to service, and it suddenly appeared that 6029 may have suffered the same fate.
I did wonder at the rationality when observing 6029 stomping past, some times in excess of 80 kph.
The AD60 class were not designed for high speed running.
The 2016 Grand Tour was indeed impressive, but probably a tad optimistic.
Gone are the glory days when a sympathetic government railway availed network access.
And, supposedly steam qualified crews hurled themselves into the fray on days off to again enjoy that glory.
Crew and locomotive accreditation today being intense, plus network access coming at a cost.
One only has to reflect upon the Flying Scotsman saga in the UK.
Vast sums of money required to maintain and operate a soot belching things today.
The ARHS Canberra mob going bankrupt, and forced to sell.
One can only hope that 6029 still has a future in operation.
Steve.
http://s3.amazonaws.com/rrpa_photos/110 ... thorpe.JPG
  by johnthefireman
 
I don't have the exact figures in front of me. Is the AD60 bigger that South Africa's GMAM or East Africa's Class 59? I always thought they are pretty much the same size. There are operating examples of both of these classes in the Southern Hemisphere - well, the GMAMs are operating and Kenya's 5918 is stopped for leaking flues but is basically operational.
  by stevej
 
G'day John,
I have no knowledge of the GMAM or Class 59 characteristics.
I do know that when a New Zealand society acquired the QR Kuranda tour train operations some years ago, they desired to run an ex South African puffer billy.
I did know that the loco would not fit the QR loading gauge (3 foot 6 inch), which is more restrictive to that in South Africa.
13 tunnels and a long 1 in 40 (2.5%) gradient climbing from the west region of Cairns up to Kuranda, plus the sharpest curved trestle on the QR newtork.
Here in NSW, the AD60 class 4-8-4+4-8-4, modified, were 260 tons, 108 feet 8 inches, 200 lb boiler pressure, 19 7/8 inch by 26 inch cylinders, 63000 lb tractive effort.
I will let you make the comparison to your equivalent puffer billies.
I believe that the NSWR AD60 was, and will be when 6029 returns to steam, the largest operating puffer billy in the southern hemisphere as that is what I have been told.
Mind you, people can make such claims when not knowing of other potential contenders.
I have seen some African steam video footage and am impressed by the operations.
So, my apologies if my assumption from other comments that the AD60 is the largest is incorrect.
Steve.
  by johnthefireman
 
Thanks, Steve. Yes, claims can be misleading. At one time there were claims that the Class 59 or the GMAM were both "the most powerful narrow gauge steam locomotive in the world", but they were based on different methods of measuring power so the jury is still out on that one. Ultimately size doesn't matter - it's just great that some of these magnificent beasts are still operational. I've fired a GMAM and been part of the support team operating the Class 59, and it's a tremendous experience.

I know virtually nothing about the AD60 except having followed the news of its renovation a few years ago - congratulations to the team who achieved that. Thanks for furnishing those statistics. At some point I'll check my books and supply the stats for GMAM and Class 59 so we can compare the three. What gauge is the AD60? Is it 3' 6"?

Incidentally, I found myself in Perth about 13 years ago and pitched up unannounced at the Hoth Valley Railway. They had nothing in steam that day, but the chaps there treated me like a VIP and I spent a great day clambering over everything and chatting over endless cups of tea - the global steam community in action!
  by stevej
 
G'day John,
The NSWR AD60 class are standard gauge, built by Beyer Peacock UK. The QR, SAR, and Silverton had narrow gauge garratts, 3 foot 6 inch.
Puffing Billy, aka the 2 foot 6 inch narrow gauge of Victoria had Garratts.
There were also the worlds first revenue Garratts built for Tasmania, two foot gauge, K1 and K2.
Bush Mill tourist mob near Port Arthur in Tassie had a 15 inch gauge replica of K1.
It got sent to the UK when Bush Mill was closed.
The NSWR AD60 class were capable of 575 tons climbing a 1 in 40 (2.5%) grade.
Then they were modified, and subsequently capable of 600 tons on a 1 in 40.
Double AD60 class were common sights on coal trains on the Short North dragging 1200 ton loads.
Double AD60 class also occurred on the heaviest NSWR ore train, W44 from Broken Hill.
W44 grossed out at 1020 tons, due to the fact that the Garratt was assisted by a standard goods on the Short North.
AD60 plus standard goods (2-8-0) a max load of 1030 tons on the short north 1 in 40s.
But, to get the train up the 1 in 40s from Molong to Orange East Fork, double AD60 were used.
Yes, I have also been to the Hotham Valley mob WA, many moons ago back in 1989.
I have also swung the banjo on a puffer billy here in NSW, once over a week-end of tour train running from Lithgow to Wallerawang and return.
That was back in 1991.
I had little idea.
The final instruction from the loco inspector before we departed Lithgow on the first run was; Don't prime it inside Marrangaroo tunnel.
Having climbed the steep Blue Mountains (assisted naturally), it was facing funnel west.
Returning from Wang, climbing the long 1 in 80 up and through Marrangaroo tunnel, I had to fire against the feed.
Swinging the banjo madly inside the tunnel in the dimly lit cab, I lost sight of the water glass.
Suddenly a strange noise occurred.
When we emerged from the tunnel, I saw the glass and the water was right at the top.
OOOPS.
We arrived back at LIthgow and the loco inspector came stomping along the platform.
My driver was in hysterical laughter.
So, it was decided that we would take it into loco to turn to face funnel east for the rest of the trips.
I don't think that I woulda made a good traditional fireman, being an observer on a diesel or electric loco was much more comfortable.
Steve.
http://s3.amazonaws.com/rrpa_photos/110 ... %20NSW.JPG
  by johnthefireman
 
stevej wrote:The final instruction from the loco inspector before we departed Lithgow on the first run was; Don't prime it inside Marrangaroo tunnel.
Yes, priming can be embarrassing. I remember the words of the loco inspector who was assessing me on the footplate on my final mainline firing exam. I was firing the lead loco of a doubleheader, a pair of Class 19D hauling 22 coaches, around 900 tonnes or so, up a continuous steep gradient 20 km long with only a short level stretch through Pretoria Station. With the injector on I was afraid of priming on the level, so I asked him if I should turn off the injector. "You'll be praying for water by the time you get to Centurion", he growled. "Leave it on!" I did, and I was...

I didn't realise the AD60 was standard gauge. The South African GMAM is 3' 6" gauge while the East African 59 is metre gauge. Despite the narrow track gauges, both have a very big loading gauge and are huge beasts
  by stevej
 
G'day John,
A 900 tonne passenger train is a decent drag for a pair of puffer billies, 22 cars worth.
That equates to our Indian Pacific when running as an enlarged consist for the west wild flower period.
Normally the IP has around 13 cars plus the motor vehicle carrier.
I have been attempting to gain access to rrpicturearchives net mob to upload a couple more of my photos including AD6039 in 1978.
But, for some reason, the site cannot be accessed today.
6039 is today stuffed and mounted up at Dorrigo.
I rode behind it in 1978 on a tour to newly opened coal mine colliery Mount Thorley.
The Garratt did prance along with the fairly long train of us rail nutters.
But, sadly it failed on the return voyage to Broadmeadow and we had to be rescued by diesels.
As a child I rode behind numerous QR puffer billies in suburban Brisbane.
QR Beyer Garratt 1009 was resurrected briefly during the mid 1990s.
I had never seen a QR Beyer Garratt as a child as they rarely worked into Brisbane.
But, I went chasing the thing during it's resurrection.
Most of our narrow gauge (3 foot 6 inch) had 16 and 18 ton axle load restrictions.
I know that the New Zealand loading gauge is more liberal to that here.
Infact, I was amused when Tranz Scenic acquired some British mark 2 carriages to convert to narrow gauge.
Those cars fitting within the overall Kiwi loading gauge.
I am not sure just what the ex South African puffer billy is that the Kiwi blokes wanted to run up to Kuranda in Queensland.
They had to get the steam chest squashed plus have the cab reduced in width to fit the QR loading gauge.
But, I don't think that it has ever run up to Kuranda.
The largest QR puffer billy permitted to climb the range to Kuranda was a PB15 4-6-0.
Many moons ago, I was asked to go and swing the banjo on the thing.
Told them NO thanks.
The winter Cairns temperatures equate to my region summer.
The summer humidity up there would kill me.
Oh, the largest non-articulated puffer billy on the NSWR were the 57 and 58 class 4-8-2 three cylinder monsters.
I have never witnessed one of them stomping along.
Lithgow turntable is 90 foot long as required to swing a 57/58 class.
They worked the Blue Mountains prior to electrification.
The eastbound load being 1500 tons.
But, that required assistance by no less than three standard goods for the 1 in 42 climb to Zig Zag.
Two dropped off at Zig Zag and the pilot continued up through the ten tunnels on the 1 in 90.
Such must have been a magnificent sight.
Steve.
  by johnthefireman
 
stevej wrote:AD60 class 4-8-4+4-8-4, modified, were 260 tons, 108 feet 8 inches, 200 lb boiler pressure, 19 7/8 inch by 26 inch cylinders, 63000 lb tractive effort.
As far as I can see, the equivalent statistics are:

GMAM: 4-8-2+2-8-4; 191 tons 8 cwt; 93' 10"; 200 lb/sq in boiler pressure; 20 1/2" x 26" cylinders; 60700 lb tractive effort @75%.

59: 4-8-2+2-8-4; 251.7 tons; 104' 1 1/2"; 225 lb/sq in boiler pressure; 20 1/2" x 26" cylinders; 83350 lb tractive effort (but I'm not sure whether that is at 75% or 85%, probaby the latter).

So your sources are undoubtedly correct that the AD60 is the largest. I hadn't realised it was standard gauge, and I think my memories of "the largest" were "the largest narrow gauge locomotive", whether metre or Cape gauge. Anyway, all three are massive.

Incidentally, the 59 was designed to haul 1200 ton trains single-headed up the 1 in 66.7 (1.5%) gradient from Mombasa to Nairobi, from sea level to nearly 5500 feet over a distance of about 350 miles. It was a punishing task which they fulfilled admirably. Lighter locos would then take trains a further 150 miles to Timboroa Summit at over 9000 feet before descending 5000 feet in 380 miles to Kampala. Quite an engineering feat, nicknamed the "Lunatic Line".
  by stevej
 
G'day John,
Crikey them metre gauge class 59 beasties are humungus for metre gauge.
I do know that some rather massive things rattled around on the Brasillian metre gauge, diesels especially.
My only exposure to metre gauge being when I trekked through Switzerland in 2008, being more subdued in dimension.
All of the Aussie railways, excluding the Pilbara WA iron ore railways, were built to British and reduced standards for economic reasons.
NSW would have also ended up with the Irish broad gauge (five foot 3 inch), except for some colonial wrangling.
At least Mr Rhodes did ensure that the 3 foot 6 inch became the standard in Africa.
Here in Australia, we ended up with broad gauge, standard gauge and narrow gauge.
Plus, the two foot six inch used in regional Victoria and two foot gauge used for sugar cane tramways in Queensland.
Until 1970, train travel here was a State Affair.
Finally we got the transcontinental standard gauge from Sydney to Perth.
Yes, the gauge mess did cause dramas for interstate freight transport.
But, it did mean that each state had an individual rail system.
I am an Aussie Alco fan as that is what I grew up with footplate wise.
I have never been an EMD fan.
Puffer billy wise, my child hood memories are of QR narrow gauge, and my most fav unit is the "brown bomber" 4-8-0 C17 class.
When the Zig Zag society obtained puffer billies, these were from QR as no standard gauge puffer billies were available.
My beloved narrow gauge QR puffer billies stomping up the Zig Zag near Lithgow.
9000 feet up in the atmosphere, crikey, my ears pop each time I rattle across the Blue Mountains and we don't get above 3200 feet.
I have managed to upload me photo of AD 6039 on tour in 1978.
http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/pictur ... 201978.JPG
Steve.
  by johnthefireman
 
Thanks, Steve.

Well, I wouldn't say that Cape Gauge is the African standard. It certainly is in southern Africa, and Sudan is also Cape Gauge, but East Africa is metre gauge, and I'm not well up on gauges in west and northwest Africa. In addition there was quite a lot of 2 foot gauge, and of course now Africa is testing the waters with new Standard Gauge lines (South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and a growing number of other countries).

The Class 59 really is, as you put it, a humongous beastie. Although only metre gauge, British colonial railways were not restricted by the British loading gauge, so the size of the locos and stock is more akin to the USA.

9000 feet is indeed pretty high for a railway. I understand that the reason the Kenya-Uganda railway had air brakes instead of vacuum brakes right from the start is that with the lower atmospheric pressure at that height it was difficult to get a big enough vacuum difference to work the brakes properly, hence the need for air brakes.
  by stevej
 
G'day John,
Yes, I have some small knowledge of the vacuum brake system.
Most Aussie railways adopted air brake, but Tasmania and Western Australia did have vacuum system.
I did get to drive a Westrail train briefly with vacuum back in 1989.
Being experienced mainly with Westinghouse B7EL brake valve, I at first applied and then released the vacuum by moving the handle attempting to lap it.
The Westrail driver quickly advised that the vacuum was basically like self lapping and just to make the application and leave it there.
I found that while you had to get in earlier than you would with air brake, the vacuum seemed to be less aggressive.
Them Sandgropers (Western Australians) even had trains with both brake systems.
Vacuum fitted wagons at the front with through air brake pipe and air brake wagons at the rear.
Such dual system trains did require a lot of driver concentration, but they did have some big prangs with this system.
The Van Demonians (Tasmanians) converted from vacuum to air brake when Aussie National took over from the TGR.
But, the Emu Bay Railway (ore trains working the Melba line to Burnie) remained vacuum until much more recently.
Today all is air brake system.
However, older preserved Tassie equipment remains vacuum system.
Yes, high altitudes reduce the vacuum brake effect.
The NSWR 46 class electrics built by Metro Vickers UK have vertical brake cylinders.
While air brake, I presume that this was a simple adaptation from the vacuum system in the UK.
When the Pommy Flying Scotsman LNER 4472 appeared here in 1988/1989, it required a special proportional valve to permit working with air brake system.
They also had to bung a compressor onto it naturally.
Something that I always though missing in the audio of British puffer billies, no compressor.
I'll insert a link to one of my video clips featuring AD6029.
Sadly, it was screaming around on a passenger train being assisted by a diesel.
So, it does not have the down to a crawl exhaust beat that such things had back in the glory days on heavy freights.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3Uwe74e-T8
Steve.
  by David Benton
 
johnthefireman wrote:Thanks, Steve.

Well, I wouldn't say that Cape Gauge is the African standard. It certainly is in southern Africa, and Sudan is also Cape Gauge, but East Africa is metre gauge, and I'm not well up on gauges in west and northwest Africa. In addition there was quite a lot of 2 foot gauge, and of course now Africa is testing the waters with new Standard Gauge lines (South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and a growing number of other countries).

The Class 59 really is, as you put it, a humongous beastie. Although only metre gauge, British colonial railways were not restricted by the British loading gauge, so the size of the locos and stock is more akin to the USA.

9000 feet is indeed pretty high for a railway. I understand that the reason the Kenya-Uganda railway had air brakes instead of vacuum brakes right from the start is that with the lower atmospheric pressure at that height it was difficult to get a big enough vacuum difference to work the brakes properly, hence the need for air brakes.
Are you sure of your altitudes , John? If they are correct, Wikipedia needs to send someone to Africa.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_h ... by_country" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by David Benton
 
Further searching shows you are correct , its a lot more impressive in feet!
I always though of Africa as quite flat, ( Ive only been to North and West Africa), that is an eye opener for me.
  by johnthefireman
 
When I look out of my window on an exceptionally clear day I can see Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain at over 19000 feet. Kenya's highest mountain, Mount Kenya, is over 17000 feet. Forty-odd years ago, when I was young enough to be capable of such feats, I reached 16000 feet in the Ruwenzori Mountains on the Uganda-Congo border before spending a night in a hole in the snow on a glacier after clouds completely closed down visibility and we couldn't proceed. And again looking out of my window, I stare into the Great Rift Valley, which stretches most of the length of Africa and rivals the USA's Grand Canyon for depth and far supasses it for length. Africa is a vast continent with a huge variety of geographical features, and I certainly wouldn't say it is flat!

I would say that Africa is seriously under- and inaccurately-reported on the internet, apart from horror stories (which are also often reported in a very un-nunaced way, lacking context and understanding), and that is also true of railways. At the risk of advertising, the Friends of the Rail Forum (of which, full disclosure, I am a moderator) does try to present a more rounded view of African railways. It's not terrible active these days, but has a lot of good archive material.

I have never ridden a train over the 9000 foot summit at Timboroa, but I have driven over it a few times and visited the station by car. Cold, wet and windy were my impressions of it!