Stored at Dorrigo


A scanned photo view of 6039 stored at Glenreagh, taken in September 1985.

6039 had recently been towed by rail from Rhondda Colliery, near Newcastle, together with other locomotive exhibits.

It was later towed to Dorrigo along the refurbished branch line, where it remains in store.


Beyer Peacock & Co, Manchester

Builder’s Number & Year

7541 of 1956

Wheel Arrangement

4-8-4 + 4-8-4

No. in class


Entered Service

25 September 1956

Date Condemned

4 January 1973


With the New South Wales Government Railways needing additional motive power in the post-war period, Beyer Peacock & Co supplied 42 freight locomotives of the patented “Beyer-Garratt” articulated type.  The AD60 class Beyer-Garratts excelled in NSWGR service, following elimination of a number of teething troubles and attention to union concerns.

6039 was one of 31 class members which received modifications during NSWGR service, including Dual Control (DC) to allow the locomotive to be driven easily in the “reverse” direction, and increased cylinder diameter for greater tractive effort ("++") and thus was known as a “DC++” modified AD60.

DC++ Beyer-Garratts including 6039 were among the last NSWGR steam locomotives to work in revenue service, ending their days on heavy coal trains in the Newcastle district.  Sister 6042 is recognised as the last steam locomotive in NSWGR revenue service, being withdrawn on 4 March 1973.

Upon withdrawal, the remaining AD60 class Beyer-Garratts congregated at Enfield depot in Sydney where they remained in store for another year or so.  6039 was purchased for the proposed Hunter Valley Steam Railway & Museum in 1974 for $5,000, which was a very considerable sum in those days.  Other Beyer-Garratts in store at Enfield at this time were not so lucky, being sold for scrap to Sims Metal and towed to Mascot for dispatch; 6002 was scrapped in September 1974, 6009 in October 1974, 6008 in November 1974 and the last, 6037 in December 1974.  (The last Standard Goods locos 5133, 5375, 5407, 5456 and 5483 were similarly dispatched from Enfield depot and scrapped in January 1975; these locos might have lasted longer if the Enfield site had not been wanted for a proposed container depot.  These circumstances also drove the forced relocation of the NSWRTM from Enfield No.1 roundhouse to Thirlmere.  As it happened, the container depot was never built.)

6039 was stored at Rhondda Colliery near Newcastle from 1974, being joined by other Hunter Valley Steam Railway & Museum (HVSR&M) exhibits.  A frame crack in the front engine unit was repaired at the Broadmeadow Depot in 1977 following which it performed a number of excursions in the Newcastle district.  One railtour from Broadmeadow to Mt Thorley on 22 July 1978 ended badly when 6039 developed a hole in the water tank, leaving the train stranded near Belford on the return journey and requiring rescue by a diesel locomotive.

Following a change of strategy by the HVSR&M, the aim of that group changed to reopening of the Dorrigo branch line on the mid-North Coast region of NSW, together with a railway museum at Dorrigo.  Now renamed the Dorrigo Steam Railway & Museum (DSR&M), the majority of the steam locomotive collection was rail hauled from Rhondda Colliery to Glenreagh during December 1983 and later along the newly refurbished branch line to Dorrigo during July 1986.  At Dorrigo, 6039 and other steam locomotives are regularly coated in black oil to protect against the elements.  The Dorrigo collection is fascinating as this protection has preserved most locomotives as they were when withdrawn, retaining their original liveries and preventing surface rust.  However the Dorrigo region is known for its sub-tropical climate and the torrential rainfall at Dorrigo has not been kind to the collection of wooden carriages stored there.  Rapid vegetation growth in this rainforest region has since reclaimed much of the Dorrigo branch line.  Alas the Dorrigo museum and associated tourist railway is yet to open to the public.

The DSR&M has accumulated significant stores of spare parts to support their intended future operations and accordingly the chance was taken to obtain a spare AD60 class boiler from static sawmill use.  Interestingly, this boiler still sits in the cradle frame.  If I recall correctly, markings on the boiler show that it had originally been constructed for one of the unassembled Beyer-Garratts 6043 - 6047; this might explain why the boiler is still in the cradle (as it would have been shipped to NSW this way) and it also appears to still wear Beyer-Peacock “works grey” livery.  (I have included further general information about the AD60 class locomotives and the cancelled order for 6043 - 6050 on the 6029 page.)

This spare AD60-class boiler stored at Dorrigo was salvaged from sawmill use.

Interestingly it is still sitting in the boiler cradle that comprised the central portion of the locomotive frame.

I believe this boiler & frame came from one of the unassembled Beyer-Garratts 6043-6047.




"The 60 Class” by K.T. Groves, H.J. Wright and M.F. Morahan,

Published by the New South Wales Transport Museum, 1994


"Locomotives of Australia - 1985 to 2010" (Fifth Edition), by Leon Oberg,

published 2010 by Rosenberg Publishing Pty Ltd.


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

published by the Dorrigo Steam Railway & Museum, 1987.


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Page updated:  27 March 2015

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