WAGR C-class No.1


C 1 "Katie" displayed at the entrance to the Bassendean Railway Museum on 9 May 2002.

The tender carries high-sided "hungry boards" to contain stacks of timber fuel.

This historic locomotive dates back to the construction of the first section of the Eastern Railway from Fremantle to Guildford.  It was one of two 0-6-0ST locomotives ordered from Robert Stephenson & Co which entered service with the Western Australia Government Railways (WAGR) in 1881.  An unusual feature of this locomotive is the distinctive "Ogee" flat-topped saddle tank.  Numbered C 1 & C 2, these two locomotives have an interesting pedigree, being copies of the 88 F-class 0-6-0ST engines supplied to the New Zealand Railways between 1872 and 1888.  Another five copies of this design were built during this period for other operators; three with a slightly larger cylinder diameter for the Rio Tinto Railway in Spain, and the two WAGR engines.

In WAGR service it was quickly found that the two C-class 0-6-0ST engines carried insufficient fuel and water for the required range, and accordingly were modified to 0-6-0ST + T arrangement in 1887 via addition of small 4-wheel tenders.  The WAGR seems to have been quick to offload them as both were sold into the WA timber industry around the turn of the century.

Preserved engine C 1 carries Robert Stephenson & Co builder's number 2391 of 1880 and entered WAGR service in March 1881.  It was sold to a timber concern in 1899 and remained in operation until 1940 under the final ownership of Millars, where it was known as No.1 with an unofficial name of "Kitty".  No.1 / Kitty remained in storage until 1959 when Millars made it available to the WAGR for historical purposes.  No.1 / Kitty was statically restored by the WAGR at Midland Workshops in 1959, at which stage it received the name "Katie".  It was subsequently plinthed at the Claremont Showground in Perth.

Katie later moved to the Australian Railway Historical Society (WA Division) Railway Museum at Bassendean.  This fine museum is now known as The Railway Museum, Bassendean where Katie / C 1 is displayed at the museum entrance, representing the early days of the Western Australian Government Railways.

(As an aside - it is fortunately that the WAGR put aside a small number of historic locomotives in the mid 1955's for official preservation, but alas a number of significant WAGR steam locomotive types subsequently became extinct, such as the early Pacific engines of C / Ca and L-classes, K-class 2-8-4T and M-series early Beyer-Garratts.  This mirrors railway preservation around the world where some very early / pioneer locomotives were retained, together with modern machines saved by enthusiasts at the end of the steam traction era, whereas notable designs from the middle period were overlooked and are now relatively rare in preservation.)

For interest, here is a link to the Wikipedia entry for Katie's trans-Tasman cousins, the New Zealand Railways F class: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NZR_F_class.

My thanks to Alastair Cross for contributing these two views of New Zealand Railways F13 “Peveril”

at the Ferrymead Railway, Christchurch, New Zealand on 6 April 2015.

The similarity between the New Zealand and Western Australian locomotives is immediately apparent.

A second view of F13 “Peveril” at Ferrymead on 6 April 2015, courtesy of Alastair Cross.

Alastair writes: “F 13 was one of the two prototype locomotives built by Neilson & Co of Glasgow in 1872 for NZR to assess.

F 13 is maker's no 1692 of 1872, and remained in traffic until 1963 when it was retired.

It was gifted to the Canterbury Branch of the New Zealand Railway & Locomotive Society (later the Canterbury Railway Society)

in 1964 and has lived at Ferrymead ever since.



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

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


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

published by ARHS (Western Australia Division), 1984.


Information provided by Alastair Cross via emails dated 28 May 2014 & 3 June 2015.


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