A 15

Privately owned


Warwick Madden contributed this slide view showing A 15 plinthed at Bunbury around 1963 - 1965.

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 C-class 0-6-0ST 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The A-class was superceded by the somewhat larger G-class 2-6-0 which was a further development of the same design.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.

Preserved locomotive A 15 was built by Beyer Peacock & Co as their builder's number 2711 of 1885, entering traffic in July 1886.  It was one of three A-class engines supplied with higher-capacity 6-wheel tenders in place of the 4-sheel tenders as fitted to the others, such as the example paired with preserved sister A 11.   A 15 was the last A-class in WAGR traffic when withdrawn in October 1955.  It was placed in a Bunbury park in July 1956.

In 1982 locomotive A 15 was sold for private preservation and restoration in Victoria; at that stage it was expected the locomotive would ultimately be used on the Bellarine Peninsular Railway.  A 15 has been under restoration at a private site in Meredith (between Ballarat and Geelong) with the restoration reported in 2013 as being at an advanced state, with the locomotive having been steamed.  I understand that the future destination for this locomotive has not yet been finalised.

Adrian Gunzberg proves full details of the WAGR A-class locomotives and their individual histories in his authorative work  "A History of WAGR Steam Locomotives".

I would greatly appreciate any further contributions of news and photographs for this interesting restoration project.




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.


Information provided by Chris Schultz via email dated 21 March 2004.


Information provided by Paul Brunton via email 4 June 2013.


Page updated:  7 January 2015

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