Last surviving superheated (D)50 class


5132 stored on the former potato siding at the Dorrigo station yard on 24 January 2004.


Beyer Peacock & Co, Manchester

Builder’s Number & Year

5074 of 1908

Wheel Arrangement


No. in class



The NSWGR (D)50 class 2-8-0 freight locomotives were the most numerous class of locomotive in NSWGR service with 280 examples.  The original saturated steam design (such as preserved locomotive 5069) 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 and these could be easily identified by their extended smokeboxes.

An interesting chapter in the (D)50 story concerns 10 superheated class members which never made it to Australia; these North British-built examples were requisitioned by the British Army's Royal Engineers Railway Operating Division (ROD) for service in France during World War 1.  Most of these came into Belgian State Railways’ service after the war but were not fated with long operating lives; photographs of these ten locomotives are rare.

The Great Depression saw a reduction in NSWGR rail traffic and 5132 was withdrawn in 1931.  It was one of 88 redundant steam locomotives used to provide dead weight during the load testing of the Sydney Harbour Bridge prior to the bridge opening in 1932.  5132 was condemned in September 1939 and earmarked for scrapping, however it received a reprieve and was rebuilt to superheated specification and returned to traffic in September 1942, going on to become one of the last NSWGR steam locomotives in service when withdrawn from Port Waratah depot in December 1972 with 1,877,246km of accumulated travel.

5132 was stored with the final remaining NSWGR steam locomotives at Enfield Roundhouse during the clean-out in late 1974 which saw sisters 5133, 5375, 5407, 5456 and 5483 among the last NSWGR steam locomotives sold for scrap.  5132 was saved this fate when purchased for the collection of the proposed Hunter Valley Steam Railway & Museum.  5132 and 5353 departed Enfield on 22 October 1974 when towed by Beyer-Garratt 6039 to Rhondda Colliery for storage.  The HVSR&M later changed its focus to reopening the Dorrigo branch line on the NSW north coast, so 5132 and other exhibits were rail hauled to Glenreagh in late 1983 and then to Dorrigo in 1986.  5132 and other Dorrigo Steam Railway & Museum locomotive exhibits have since been stored on the former potato siding in Dorrigo station yard.

5132 is now the sole remaining example of a superheated D(50) class locomotive and is also paired with the last remaining example of a Mort’s Dock-built turret tender.  5132’s inclusion in the Dorrigo collection is appropriate as it regularly worked the Dorrigo branch in 1926.  One of the interesting features of the Dorrigo collection of steam locomotives is that they remain in ex-NSWGR condition (regularly receiving a coat of black oil to provide protection from the elements) and thus look very much as they did in NSWGR service.

Unfortunately the Dorrigo Steam Railway & Museum is not open to the general public and hence access to the collection is restricted.

Here is an earlier view (courtesy of Mark Newton) showing 5132 stored at Dorrigo in 1999.




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

Published by Eveleigh Press, 1992.


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

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


Kramer, J. 'The Dorrigo Steam Railway & Museum - an Illustrated Guide',

published by the Dorrigo Steam Railway & Museum, 1987.


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

Public Transport Commission of NSW.


Wikipedia entry for the NSWGR D50 class, retrieved 29 July 2015


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Page updated:  5 August 2015

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