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.


Beyer Peacock & Co, Manchester

Builder’s Number & Year

7544 of 1956

Wheel Arrangement

4-8-4 + 4-8-4

No. in class


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Date Withdrawn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in the history of steam locomotives as the last in revenue service with the New South Wales Government Railways, being withdrawn from heavy freight duties in the Newcastle region on 4 March 1973.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.

6042 was one of the 31 ‘DC++’ Garratts fitted with Dual Control (DC) to allow the locomotive to be driven easily in the reverse (bunker-leading) direction, and increased cylinder diameter for greater tractive effort (‘++’).

While numbered 6042, it is believed this locomotive was rebuilt from 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 two Garratts both numbered 6042 alongside each other. It is apparent that the boiler cradle used in this rebuild came from 6043, one of several locos delivered by Beyer-Peacock as dismantled components after the NSWGR sought to cancel the order for undelivered locomotives.

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 NSWRTM’s smaller Thirlmere site when relocation became necessary. Fortunately 6042 escaped scrapping during the NSW Public Transport Commission’s hasty clean-out of the old Enfield depot in 1974, 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. (This television news article is now available on YouTube.) Alas 6042 never again turned a wheel following its delivery to the Lachlan Vintage Village.

The Lachlan Vintage Village was an interesting local 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 remained at Forbes awaiting funds to transport it to Dorrigo. 6042 occasionally received a coat of black oil to protect against deterioration, and the drier climate at Forbes is certainly better than the rainforest climate at Dorrigo. (Recent photos show the black-oil treatment has stopped and 6042 is now red with rust overall.)

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 a suitable museum such as the Broadmeadow roundhouse in Newcastle (which is proposed as an outpost museum of Trainworks / NSWRTM), or the Junee Roundhouse Museum. 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?

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.

Should this locomotive be known as 6043?

As an aside, the preserved locomotive 6042 perhaps should be known as 6043. It is customary that a locomotive’s identity follows the frame, but this is problematic for Beyer-Garratt locomotives where the power units and boiler were interchangeable, whereas the boiler cradle frame is the only major component of which there is just one. Accordingly, Beyer Peacock's numbering protocol for Garratt locomotives was that the locomotive number followed the boiler cradle. The boiler cradle for the preserved loco 6042 bore the builder’s number 7545, corresponding to 6043 which was delivered to the NSWGR as dismantled components and held as spares. (This boiler cradle also served with the loco numbered 6016 prior to being transferred to 6042.) Presumably one reason why the NSWGR did not number the loco as 6043 was this may have led to contractual issues with Beyer-Peacock & Co.

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

The above image shows the builder’s plate attached to 6042’s boiler cradle – clearly b/n 7545 corresponding to 6043.

Below is a more recent view of one of 6042’s plates, as removed for safekeeping by its owner and in store at Dorrigo.



‘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.


Information provided by Trevor Heath via email, 1 September 2018


Webmaster’s observation or comment


Page updated: 1 September 2018

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