A 11

From the WAGR's pioneer days


A 11 displayed at the entrance to the ARHS Bassendean Railway Museum on 9 May 2002.

The small 4-wheel tender is prominent in this view.

The history of the WAGR A-class locomotives starts with the railway construction contractor John Robb who ordered a 2-6-0 locomotive from Beyer Peacock & Co, Manchester for the first section of the Eastern Railway from Fremantle to Guildford.  This locomotive was completed in 1879 and received the road number 3 (numbers 1 & 2 going to smaller tank engines).  No. 3 hauled the Eastern Railway opening train in 1881 and later passed into government ownership, becoming the first of the WAGR A-class locomotives.

The handsome WAGR A-class 2-6-0 locomotives were essentially repeats of the successful South Australian Railways W-class design which has been supplied by Beyer Peacock from 1877.  The boilers originally featured sloping smokebox fronts and Salter safety valves, and most of the class was supplied with a small 4-wheel tender.  The type proved well suited to passenger and mixed train duties of the day, with the A-class growing to 13 examples via repeat orders from Beyer Peacock & Co. plus one example supplied by Dubs & Co.

The A-class was superceded by the somewhat larger G-class 2-6-0 which was a further development of the same design. Several were used of various railway construction contracts and many passed into the timber industry after becoming surplus to WAGR requirements, while others were relegated to shunting duties at the end of their working lives.

A 11 was built by Beyer Peacock & Co as their builder's number 2652 of 1885, entering traffic in July 1885.  It worked on the isolated Port Headland to Marble Bar line for a period in 1944 - 1945.  A 11 was withdrawn from WAGR service in January 1955 and fortunately retained for preservation, being plinthed later that year at South Perth Zoo.

In 1969, loco A 11 was transferred to the Australian Railway Historical Society (WA Division) Railway Museum at Bassendean, becoming their first locomotive exhibit.  This fine museum is now known as The Railway Museum, Bassendean where A 11 is displayed near the entrance, representing the pioneer days of WAGR motive power.




A. Gunzburg 'A history of WAGR steam locomotives',

published by ARHS (Western Australian Division) 1984.


Gray. W. K., 'Guide to Rail Transport Museum, Bassendean, Western Australia',

Australian Railway Historical Society W. A. Division, First Edition November 1999.


Page updated:  7 January 2015

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