T 186

Pichi Richi Railway


T 186 heads an authentic train of South Australian Railways "Long Tom" and "Short Tom" carriages at Quorn on 30 March 1997.


James Martin & Co, Gawler, SA

Builder’s Number & Year

198 of 1909

Wheel Arrangement


No. in class



T 186 was built by James Martin & Co. of Gawler, South Australia, joining the South Australian Railways' highly successful T-class narrow gauge locomotives which ultimately numbered 78 examples.  T 186 was one of a number which were converted from coal to oil firing during its service life.

T 186 became one of the final South Australian Railways steam locomotives in traffic before being condemned on 18 May 1970.  Fortunately T 186 was saved from scrap when purchased by the Pichi Richi Railway Preservation Society (PRRPS).  It was overhauled by the South Australian Railways at their Islington Workshops as a contract repair for the Pichi Richi Railway Preservation Society and the locomotive has since been superbly maintained as an operating exhibit at the PRRPS Quorn depot.  The PRRPS have paid high attention to detail, keeping every feature as it was during T 186's South Australian Railways career.  In order to preserve the historic fabric of this locomotive, T 186 tends to be operated only on special running days at the Pichi Richi Railway, with regular service trains usually hauled by their W-class 4-8-2 locomotives.

T 186 has been paired with the Pichi Richi Railway's collection of authentic SAR rollingstock for many film assignments over the years, the Pichi Richi Pass providing an excellent backdrop for the quintessential Australian outback railway scene.

The Pichi Richi Railway website also provides a useful history of T 186 and the T-class locomotives.

As at May 2015, T 186 was stored pending general overhaul, having been withdrawn from traffic in the early 2000 pending a general mechanical overhaul, lifting of the boiler to inspect the foundation ring and areas of the narrow firebox otherwise concealed by the plate frames, and determination of the future firing method (as T186 is one of only two 'operational' steam locomotives in South Australian currently equipped for oil firing, the other being Margaret at Cobdogla).  Re-tyring of driving wheel sets may be within the work scope for the next general overhaul.

The photographs on this page date from the webmaster's most enjoyable visit to the Pichi Richi Railway on 30 March 1997.

A closer view of T 186 at Quorn on 30 March 1997.

The oil tank rises prominently above the tender sides.

Front-end detail, taken at Woolshed Flat.  30 March 1997

T 186 at Woolshed Flat, Pichi Richi Railway.  30 March 1997

Cylinder detail.  30 March 1997.

Oil cans on the running board.  30 March 1997


T 186 heading through the Pichi Richi Pass.  30 March 1997.

Axlebox detail on one of the South Australian Railways carriages.  30 March 1997.




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.


Information provided by D. Heah via email, 16 May 2015


Webmaster's observation or comment


Page updated:  23 June 2015

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