State Mine Museum, Lithgow


A view of 2605 at the State Mine Museum, Lithgow during the webmaster's visit of 31 March 2007.

(The steam dome cover had been removed for maintenance reasons and is sitting on cab roof.)

The smokebox door jacks were a distinctive feature of this class; in this view they are in the "open" position.

The twenty members of the I(17) class 2-6-2ST locomotive were essentially a saddle-tank version of the B(55) class 2-6-0 tender locomotives and were intended for banking duties to augment the NSWGR's fleet of 2-6-0 freight engines on haulage duties over steep grades such as the Great Western Railway (Blue Mountains line).  The I(17) class did find use as bankers through the old Otford tunnel on the South Coast line but were more commonly employed in their early years on short-range coal and mineral trains at Waterfall and Newcastle, together with shunting duties at Darling Harbour.  They were reclassified as the Z(26) class in the NSWGR renumbering scheme of 1924.  Most of the class was out of service by the depression years, but a change of fortune saw them later overhauled and returned to service as shunters in which role they saw much service at Port Kembla, Lithgow, Bathurst & Orange. a

Locomotive 2605 was supplied by Dubs & Co. of Glasgow, Scotland and carries their builder's number 2794 of 1891.  It has passed into preservation after being sold into industrial service; the Blue Circle Southern Cement Company at Portland had hired members of the Z(26) class from the NSWGR from time to time to augment their own fleet of industrial locomotives on coal, limestone and cement trains over the short but steep branch line from Portland Station to the cement works.  As steam locomotives were being displaced by diesels on the NSWGR, the Blue Circle Southern Cement Company took the opportunity to purchase 2605 in 1966 and it remained in use at the Portland cement works until the steam fleet there was retired in 1983. b

2605 was stored in a secure compound on the State Mine branch, Lithgow during the late 1980's. It became a foundation exhibit at the creation of the State Mine Museum, Lithgow and was returned to operational condition.  A feature of this restoration was to return the coal bunker to its original low-side configuration.  Unfortunately 2605 was damaged by a fire in the State Mine railway storage shed on 31 October 2001; this fire also destroyed several antique passenger carriages.  Workers at the State Mine Museum have since repaired and cosmetically restored locomotive 2605 and it is now displayed in the storage / running shed in nominally operable condition. b

For further information about the I(17) / Z(26) class locomotives, an excellent reference is "A Compendium of New South Wales Steam Locomotives" by Alex Grunbach and published by the Australian Railway Historical Society NSW Division.



A second view of 2605 on 31 March 2007.

A view of the cabside showing the "23 Eskbank" shedplate and Dubs "Diamond" builder's plate.  31 March 2007.

A view of 2605's backhead fittings on 31 March 2007.

 (The dual water gauge glasses were not fitted at the time.)

This earlier photo is courtesy of Mark Newton and shows 2605 at the State Mine Museum, Lithgow, shortly before the October 2001 fire.

Sitting on the next road is ex-Australian Iron & Steel shunter D23.

A 1992 view of 2605 resting in the colliery yard at the State Mine, Lithgow.

This scanned photo shows 2605 glistening in the morning sun as it rests in a small security compound

on the State Mine branch in 1989, in company with one of the ubiquitous 4-wheel S-trucks.

The original bunker design has been restored by removing the central cab-height extension and reinstating the three-bar side railing.



"A Compendium of New South Wales Steam Locomotives" compiled by Alex Grunbach, published by the

Australian Railway Historical Society, New South Wales Division, 1989, pp.92 & 138.


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