T 181

Displayed at Sulphide St Station Museum, Broken Hill


T 181 displayed alongside Silverton Tramway Y 1 at Sulphide St, Broken Hill.  18 April 2014

T 181 was built by James Martin & Co. of Gawler, South Australia (builder's number 182 of 1904) as one of the South Australian Railways' highly successful T-class narrow gauge locomotives, which ultimately numbered 78 examples.  It served in the Peterborough division for many years and lasted to become one of the final SAR steam locomotives in traffic, participating in the steam "swan song" of main-line duties while the diesel locomotive fleet was converted from narrow gauge immediately prior to opening of the new standard gauge railway to Broken Hill.  T 181 was withdrawn from SAR service on 9 January 1970, having powered the last steam-hauled Broken Hill Express the day before. a

While the other SAR steam locomotives withdrawn around this time were retired to Peterborough for storage and disposal, T 181 managed to escape the scrap merchant by a strange twist of fate; the Silverton Tramway Co. Ltd at Broken Hill was apparently in need of extra motive power and arranged a swap with their more modern 4-8-2 locomotive W 23 .a (Presumably the Silverton Tramway's stored steam locomotives required overhaul, while the operable SAR locomotives were now only valued as scrap metal, so a cost effective and expedient solution was to swap one of the Silverton W-class locomotives for an SAR locomotive.) b

T 181 was named "Lew E. Roberts" by the Silverton Tramway Co.  It appears that Silverton's need for this locomotive was only short-term as it was donated for display in Imperial Park, Broken Hill in April 1972.  (I suspect T 181 was used by the Silverton Tramway Co. to haul rail reclamation trains along their redundant narrow-gauge route from Broken Hill through Silverton to the South Australian border at Cockburn; perhaps someone can advise on this?)

T 181 later moved to the excellent Sulphide St Railway & Historical Museum, Broken Hill.  Here it is displayed in the former station yard together with Silverton Tramway locomotives Y 1, W 24 and other interesting exhibits.

T 181 facing the impressive Silverton Tramway signal gantry at Sulphide St Museum, Broken Hill. 18 April 2014

Information board displayed with T 181.  18 April 2014

Nameplate "Lew E. Roberts" attached to the cabside.  18 April 2014

T 181 cab detail.  18 April 2014

My thanks to Ken Kimmins for providing this September 1987 view of T181 as originally displayed in Imperial Park, Broken Hill.





Fluck R. E., Sampson R., & Bird K. J. 'Steam locomotives and Railcars of the South Australian Railways',

published by The Mile End Railway Museum (SA) Inc, 1986.


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Page updated:  18 July 2014

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