to the (C)35 class 4-6-0 on top passenger duties
where the larger and more powerful (C)36 class, designed by New South Wales
Government Railways (NSWGR) under CME E. Lucy for hauling the newly
introduced stock of heavy passenger carriages without resort to
double-heading and with a high capacity tender to allow 100 miles running
without stops for servicing.
Passenger duties on NSWGR main lines called for a large, free
steaming boiler to meet the demands of steep and curvaceous routes, and the
(C)36 class were supplied with large round-top
boilers at 180 psi together with 23” diameter pistons and 69” diameter
driving wheels producing 30,500 lbs tractive effort, providing good hill
climbing and a fast turn of speed.
Walschaerts (outside) valve gear was also specified to make
lubrication and maintenance easier.
Construction was divided between the NSWGR Eveleigh Workshops (10)
and the Clyde Engineering Co, Sydney (65).
(C)36 class were nicknamed ‘Pigs’ by railwaymen,
perhaps due to the appearance of the large diameter boiler and
smokebox. They were superseded on
top link passenger trains by the (C)38 class
Pacifics from the late 1940’s but found further use on secondary passenger
and mail duties, together with some fast freight work. In time the original round-top boilers
became due for renewal and almost all class members were rebuilt in the mid-1950’s with Belpaire boilers at 200 psi, together
with new cabs; as rebuilt the traffic effort increased to 33,880 lbs.
in the steam era the class were being increasingly used for fast freight,
banking and pick-up good services, leading to crew complaints about heavy
reversers, so six class members (3638, 3642, 3644, 3651, 3652 & 3654)
were fitted with power reverse gear salvaged from withdrawn locomotives of
other types. These six were among
the final (C)36’s in revenue service, with 3642
becoming the last when officially condemned on 28 November 1969 but
retained for historical purposes.
Commonwealth Railways followed the pragmatic policy of copying proven
locomotive designs, a decision which perhaps also reflected a spirit of
Federalism. For express passenger
duties on the tough Trans-Australia Railway from Port Augusta to
Kalgoorlie, the Commonwealth Railways specified their C-class to the same
design as New South Wales Government Railways (C)36
class with some modifications, including large 12-wheel tenders to provide
sufficient fuel and water for the long stretches between coal stages across
the Nullarbor Plain. Eight of these C-class
locomotives were built by Walkers Limited, Maryborough but alas the
final example was scrapped in the 1960’s, perhaps one of the greatest
losses to Australian railway history.
authorative ‘Steam Locomotive Data’ (July 1974 edition) provides the
following milestones for 3609:
24 August 1928
with Belpaire boiler:
31 August 1956
represents the batch of 10 built by NSWGR Eveleigh Workshops and retains
its original manual reverse mechanism.
3609 was statically restored and repainted to lined green livery by
NSWRTM members in an annex at Petersham during the late 1960’s before being
placed on display in the Enfield No.1 Roundhouse. It was towed to the new museum site at
Thirlmere in 1975 for further static display. A repaint to black livery with red lining
came in 1988, with 3609 the beneficiary of ongoing attention from NSWRTM
volunteers to keep it presentable.
From time to time it has swapped parts with 3642 to keep the latter
in traffic, notably a driving wheelset during the mid
1990’s. 3609’s motion was
reassembled after this swap and the loco was returned to the Thirlmere
display hall at the head of a mail train consist.
the redevelopment of the NSWRTM Thirlmere to the ‘Trainworks’ museum, 3609
has been relegated to storage near the workshop, where it is not accessible
or visible to the public. (I believe
this may be due the fact that 3609 requires its old boiler lagging to be
removed before it is fit for public display.) During this time it has been exposed to
the elements and has become rather rusty and careworn, with weeds growing
from the soaked boiler lagging above the firebox crown sheet. Observation suggests 3609 continues to
occasionally donate parts to operable sister 3642; hopefully this is being
done on a 1:1 exchange basis so that 3609 can one day be returned to
display condition within the exhibits hall at Thirlmere. (As an aside, several spare (C)36-class boilers
are also available at Thirlmere which could assist any future restoration,
including boilers tab 3605B and 3634B and a spare 36-class tender (tab
3617) which was obtained as late as approximately 1988.)
information about 3609 can be found on the NSW Office on Environment and
Heritage fact sheet for this locomotive. Additional technical details can also be
found on the Wikipedia entry for the NSWGR (C)36