6042

Last steam locomotive in NSWGR revenue service

 

The webmaster photographed 6042 in May 1996 during a visit to the Forbes Vintage Village, which was still open to the public on special occasions at that stage.

6042 remains stored at Forbes until transport to Dorrigo is arranged, however I understand this site is no longer accessible to the public.

Builder

Beyer Peacock & Co, Manchester

Builder’s Number & Year

7544 of 1956

Wheel Arrangement

4-8-4 + 4-8-4

No. in class

42

Entered Service

21 August 1956

Date Withdrawn

4 March 1973

 

6042 has a special place in the history of steam locomotives as the last in revenue service with the New South Wales Government Railways, being withdrawn from heavy freight duties in the Newcastle region on 4 March 1973.  It remained available for enthusiast tours until being condemned on 6 December 1974.

While numbered 6042, it is understood that this locomotive was earlier 6010 (Beyer Peacock 7482 of 1953, listed as scrapped in July 1970) as the two locomotives apparently swapped identities during overhaul at Cardiff Workshops late in the steam era; a photograph exists showing the two Garratts both numbered 6042 alongside each other.  It was one of the 31 “DC++” Garratts fitted with Dual Control (DC) to allow the locomotive to be driven easily in the “reverse” direction, and increased cylinder diameter for greater tractive effort ("++").

6042 was listed for a period with sister 6040 among the collection of the NSWRTM at the original Enfield site, however I gather a second Beyer-Garratt could not be accommodated at the smaller Thirlmere site.  Fortunately 6042 escaped scrapping during the NSW Public Transport Commission’s hasty clean-out of the old Enfield depot, sisters 6002, 6008, 6009 and 6037 were not so lucky.  6042 was purchased for the Lachlan Vintage Village at Forbes in 1974 and shedded at Parkes depot until 1978.  It then moved to Cowra depot and ran some local railtours before finally being transferred to the Lachlan Vintage Village at Forbes in 1979.  I clearly recall an ABC television news / interest item showing 6042 on its delivery run to the Lachlan Vintage Village; this site is several kilometres from the nearest railhead and so delivery was achieved by steaming the locomotive along town streets with portable rail panels being laid in front of the locomotive, then progressively removed from the rear as the locomotive inched forward at the rate of one or two track panels at a time.  Alas 6042 has never again turned a wheel following its delivery to the Lachlan Vintage Village.

The Lachlan Vintage Village was an interesting local history museum featuring relocated historical buildings, a recreated Aboriginal camp and other displays relevant to the region.  From a railway perspective it included a 2’ gauge line using ex-sugar industry locomotives and a standard gauge railway which ringed the site.  Unfortunately the Lachlan Vintage Village did not succeed as an ongoing concern and the railway assets were progressively sold off.  Standard Goods loco 5367 was sold to the Lachlan Valley Railway at an earlier stage, the ex-Sugar industry locomotives passed into private hands and the remaining standard-gauge steam locos 1919 (on gate duty), 3112 and 6042 went to auction in November 1986.  6042 was purchased for addition to the Dorrigo Steam Railway & Museum collection at a cost of $50,000 however it has since remained at Forbes awaiting funds to transport it to Dorrigo.  Here 6042 occasionally receives a coat of black oil to protect against deterioration, and the drier climate at Forbes is certainly better than the rainforest climate at Dorrigo.

At the time of my visit to Forbes in May 1996 the Lachlan Vintage Village was still open to the public on special occasions and I enjoyed inspecting the remaining historical exhibits; several photos on this page date from that visit.  However I understand the site has now reverted to private property and hence public access to 6042 is restricted.

In the humble opinion of the webmaster, an ideal arrangement for 6042’s future would be for the locomotive to be placed within Broadmeadow roundhouse in Newcastle, which is proposed as an outpost museum of Trainworks / NSWRTM.  Perhaps an arrangement could be reached with the Dorrigo Steam Railway & Museum whereby funds for 6042’s transport were provided in return for the right to display the locomotive at Broadmeadow?

Wikipedia provides a useful history for the NSWGR AD60 class Beyer-Garratt locomotives together with further technical details.  For further general information about the AD60 class locomotives, refer to the page for 6029.

Front view of 6042 at Forbes in May 1996.

Side view of 6042 at Forbes in May 1996.

Happier days as 6042 returns from one of its last runs, near Tahmoor on the Main South Line in March 1973.

This slide view is courtesy of John Hurst from his collection of railway photographs.

Here is second John Hurst photograph of 6042, this one taken at the Lachlan Vintage Village, Forbes during 1993.

References

a

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

Published by the New South Wales Transport Museum, 1994

b

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

published 2010 by Rosenberg Publishing Pty Ltd.

c

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

published by the Dorrigo Steam Railway & Museum, 1987.

d

Webmaster’s observation or comment

 

Page updated:  27 March 2015

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