Brimstone & New River Railroad No.35

For restoration as Commonwealth Oil Corporation No.5



(Photo required)


Lima Locomotive Works,

Builder’s Number & Year

2366 of 1910

Wheel Arrangement

C-Type (3-truck)


The Wolgan Valley Railway in the NSW Blue Mountains opened in 1907, linking the Commonwealth Oil Corporation’s shale oil refinery at Newnes, north of Lithgow, with the New South Wales Government Railways near Clarence. To traverse difficult mountain terrain, the railway employed sharp curves and steep gradients, including the long 1:25 ascent facing loaded trains departing Newnes through the No.1 ‘Glow-worm’ Tunnel and Penrose Gorge. The innovative Shay locomotive design was selected for this demanding route, with four C-type (3-truck) Shay locomotives delivered. Alas the last of these fine machines disappeared around 1956, having been progressively dismantled for scrap metal after laying abandoned at Newnes.

The loss of the Wolgan Valley Railway Shays has long been mourned by local rail enthusiasts. Looking to fill this gap in Australian steam preservation, the Eskbank Locomotive Depot & Museum embarked on a world-wide search for a suitable standard-gauge Shay locomotive for import. Following negotiations, this group has now purchased the dismantled components of Lima B/N 2366 of 1910 from a collector based in California. This locomotive is ideal, being contemporary and mechanically very similar to the Commonwealth Oil Corporation 70-ton Shays No’s 2 & 3. The Eskbank Locomotive Depot & Museum intends to rebuild Lima B/N 2366 in the fictional guise of Commonwealth Oil Corporation No.5.

The Eskbank Locomotive Depot & Museum website provides the historical background for the Wolgan Valley Railway Shays and the locomotive they have purchased, while the site provides a full list of prior owners. In summary, Lima B/N 2366 was built in 1910 for the Raleigh Lumber Company of West Virginia and its last use was coal haulage on the Brimstone & New River Railroad. After retirement in 1965, it was loaned for display in a Chattanooga, Tennessee museum, before passing through a number of private owners in California. Around 1992 it was dismantled for inspection, and has remained thereafter as a kit of parts. The transfer of ownership of Lima B/N 2366 to the Eskbank Locomotive Depot & Museum should now provide impetus for its repair and reassembly as a significant addition to the NSW rail heritage scene.

The Eskbank Locomotive Depot & Museum are currently arranging shipment of their Shay locomotive to Australia. In the meantime, smaller items required for its presentation as a Wolgan Valley Railway Shay have been prepared, such as bronze Commonwealth Oil Corporation No.5 plates. A reproduction Agent’s plate for Gibson Battle & Co of Sydney has also been prepared using measurements taken from an original plate found in a Queensland museum; Gibson Battle & Co held the licence to import Shay locomotives into Australia, with 20 units of various gauges and configurations supplied.

For further information about the Commonwealth Oil Corporation No.5 project, refer to the Eskbank Locomotive Depot & Museum website or their Facebook page. Technical and historical information for Shay locomotives and Lima B/No. 2366 can also be found at the excellent website.




a website
retrieved 10 December 2017.

b website
retrieved 30 December 2017.


Page updated: 10 December 2017

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