A2 996

Displayed at the historic Port of Echuca


A2 996 stored at the old Echuca loco depot, basking in the afternoon sun of ANZAC day, 25 April 2014.


Victorian Railways,

Newport Workshops

Build Year


Wheel Arrangement


No. in class

185 comprising:

- 125 Stephensons Valve Gear version

- 60 Walschaerts Valve Gear version


A2 996 is one of the later batch of sixty A2 class express passenger locomotives built with superheating and other design enhancements including Walschaerts valve gear.  It was constructed at Newport Workshops in 1916 and was among the last few A2 class remaining in service when taken off-register by the Victorian Railways in November 1963.

A2 996 had been displayed at the Echuca Wharf for many years, keeping company with the Murray River paddle steamers that operate from this historic river port.  In this capacity the loco was occasionally put into light steam but never moved under its own power.  During the late 1980's or early 1990's the boiler clothing was removed to prevent further deterioration of the boiler barrel and the loco repainted with primer only.

In about 2002 a scheme was launched to have A2 996 restored to main line operation by the West Coast Railway (WCR) and on 7 June 2004 it was towed by Y112 over the newly re-laid wharf branch to the nearby old Echuca loco depot as the first step towards relocation to the WCR workshops.  Unfortunately this restoration initiative lapsed and A2 996 remained stored at old Echuca loco depot for more than 10 years.

Perhaps the best solution for this handsome locomotive would be to return A2 996 for static restoration and display at the Echuca Wharf, where a good selection of railway wagons remain on display at the station platform and adjacent goods shed.  While it is unlikely that A2s often worked to the Echuca wharf (an older 0-6-0 goods locomotive would be more appropriate), none-the-less it makes a fine railway exhibit and is in need of a good home.

UPDATE: On 24 December 2015, A2 996 was road hauled back to the historic Port of Echuca by the Shire of Campaspe.  The loco will apparently be returned to static display at the old Echuca wharf, where a good collection of historic rail wagons and other vintage machinery are also exhibited; hopefully a static restoration and repaint to authentic black livery will be applied.  Photographs of the locomotive being moved are available on the Shire of Campaspe Facebook page, and the Shire is to be congratulated for this initiative!

A broadside view of A2 996 stored at the old Echuca loco depot.  25 April 2014.

Rear view.  25 April 2014.

Side view.  25 April 2014.

Tender Axle box detail.  25 April 2014

Metal moths are slowly eating through the tender tank platework!  25 April 2014.

A view into the cab, showing the staff exchanger recessed into the cab side sheet.  25 April 2014

I found A2 996's headlight displayed in a brake van among the railway exhibits on the Echuca wharf.  25 April 2014.

An earlier view of A2 996 stored at the old Echuca loco depot on 7 June 2004; this photo is kindly provided by Trevor Staats.

My visit to Echuca in 1996 found A2 996 displayed at the Wharf platform, in company with a number of goods vehicles.

At that stage its connecting rods & headlight were still fitted, but the boiler clothing had been removed to slow corrosion.

A second view of A2 996 displayed at the Echuca Wharf in 1996.

An even earlier view, showing A2 996 displayed at Echuca Wharf in September 1983.

At that stage the boiler clothing was still in place, although the headlight was not.

This scanned photo view was kindly contributed by Chris Johnson.

A second scanned view of A2 996 displayed at Echuca Wharf in September 1983, courtesy of Chris Johnson.




‘A brief history of Preserved Rolling Stock of Victoria’

by Norm Bray, Peter J Vincent and Daryl M Gregory.

Published by Brief History Books, PO Box 437, Sunbury, Vic 3429.


ARHS (Victorian Division) 'North Williamstown Railway Museum',

Third Edition 1968, revised 1977, reprinted 1980.


‘Locomotives of Australia - 1985 to 2010’ (Fifth Edition),

by Leon Oberg,

published 2010 by Rosenberg Publishing Pty Ltd.


Page updated:  14 March 2017

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