Prime Minister Ben Chifley's loco


My thanks to Joel Turner for contributing this view of 5112 displayed at Bathurst on 15th October 2012.


Beyer Peacock & Co, Manchester

Builder’s Number & Year

5054 of 1908

Wheel Arrangement


No. in class



The T(524) class 2-8-0 freight engines were the most numerous class of locomotive in Australia with 280 examples delivered to the New South Wales Government Railways.  This very successful type was one of the three standard classes designed by NSWGR Chief Mechanical Engineer William Thow in conjunction with Beyer Peacock & Co.  The original saturated steam design was later improved by the addition of superheating, with the final 75 engines delivered new with this enhancement; many of the earlier saturated engine were progressively converted to superheating.  The T(524) class were reclassified to (D)50 in the 1924 renumbering scheme.  (For more general information about the T(524) / (D)50-class, refer to the entry for preserved loco 5069.)

While many of the saturated T(524) / (D)50 engines were rebuilt with superheated boilers, 5112 retained a saturated boiler however it is fitted with a Laird crosshead which was unusual for this class.  5112 is also paired with a modern 5,000 gallon Standard Turret Tender whereas most saturated steam members were paired with the original 3,650 gallon tenders.  Other notable modernisations fitted to 5112 are electric lighting and automatic couplers.  5112 was withdrawn from NSWGR duties as late as April 1974 with 1,915,062 km of accumulated service and a working life of 66 years.

5112 was retained for preservation on the basis that it had been regularly assigned to former Prime Minister Ben Chifley during the period that he was a locomotive driver in the Bathurst area, and accordingly it is sometimes known as “Ben Chifley’s engine”.  5112 is owned by Bathurst Council and has been plinthed outside Bathurst station since the mid-1970’s.

During the late 1980's a group formed with the aim of overhauling 5112 for tourist & enthusiast operations around the NSW central-west.  5112 was relocated to the old Orange East Fork Locomotive Depot and work began, however the project lost momentum as the volunteer group struggled to find funds for unbudgeted mechanical work.  5112 remained partially dismantled at Orange for many years until the overhaul project ultimately failed.  5112 eventually returned to Bathurst for storage in a council depot.

In July 2005, 5112 was moved to the State Mine Heritage Park & Museum at Lithgow for assessment for restoration to either static or operational condition.  5112 later moved to Branxton for static restoration, completed by the Hunter Valley Railway Trust as a project funded by Bathurst Council.  Static restoration was completed in early 2010 and 5112 finally returned to Bathurst around October 2010, being placed near its original location outside the station.  A substantial weather roof has now been provided to protect the locomotive and provide an attractive display.  In addition, excellent information boards tell the story of Ben Chifley, his links to the Bathurst area and to locomotive 5112.

Partially dismantled 5112 at the Lithgow State Mine Museum on 31 March 2007.

Rear view of 5112 at the Lithgow State Mine Museum, showing the NSWGR Standard Turret Tender.  31 March 2007.

This photo courtesy of John Hurst and dated January 1985, showing 5112 displayed at Bathurst station prior to its move to Orange.

Although not clear in this view, my recollection is that 5112 was wearing an unauthentic green livery at this stage.




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

published by the Australian Railway Historical Society, New South Wales Division, 1989.


“Standards in Steam – the 50 Class” by R. G. Preston,

Published by Eveleigh Press, 1992.


"Locomotives of Australia" by Leon Oberg, published by J. W. Books Pty Ltd, 1982 reprint


‘Steam Locomotive Data’ July 1974 edition, compiled by J. H. Forsyth for the

Public Transport Commission of NSW.


Posts in www.railpage.com.au "Preservation & Heritage Railways" forum.


Wikipedia entry for the NSWGR D50 class, retrieved 16 June 2015


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Page updated:  6 August 2015

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