Z 199

New-build replica of a SAR Z-class loco


A front view of under-construction Z 199, showing the completed frames, smokebox, cab and other items.

The bogie wheels were stored under smokebox while awaiting completion of the bogie frame.

The casting for the cylinders and valves are yet to be mounted on the frames.

This photo was kindly contributed by Adrian de Kuyer and is dated 23 November 2013.


Private site in South Australia

Builder’s Number & Year

Original Z-class were built by James Martin, Gawler

from 1894 onwards

Wheel Arrangement


No. in class



"Catch Point" magazine No.181 (September 2007) carried an interesting article about the building of a replica South Australian Railways (SAR) Z-class 4-4-0 locomotive at a private site in South Australia.  The Z-class passenger locomotives comprised 10 examples which, although built in Australia, appear to be to a contemporary Beyer-Peacock & Co passenger locomotive design.  Unfortunately the last of these handsome machines was condemned in 1956 and broken up for scrap.

Construction of this Z-class replica began in 2003 and the Catch Point article showed significant progress had been made by 2007, including main frames, smokebox, chimney, air compressor, wheel arches, motion bracket, cab sides and various fittings.  The headlight and attached number boxes are original to broad-gauge locomotive Rx 199 and hence the replica has also taken this road number.  Pony wheels have been sourced from a SAR "MCN" bogie wagon, while and main driving axles were salvaged from a scrapped diesel loco.  Apparently a boiler suitable for modification for Z 199 exists in WA (perhaps one of the broadly similar but smaller Y / G-class boilers stored at Yarloop Mill), although a new Z-class boiler is now expected to be made.

A spare SAR Y-class tender built in 1888 (formerly displayed at the Mile End Railway Museum behind BHP No.4) has been loaned by the Pichi Richi Railway and is being restored for the Z 199 project.

A progress update received in January 2016 advised:

·         The bogie frame is now almost complete;

·         Main frames are complete;

·         Motion gear is complete and fitted;

·         Driving and connecting rods are complete and ready for fitting;

·         Tender rebuilding is almost complete, with only the side of the tank and the third wheelset to be refitted;

·         Patterns have been made for the four 4ft 6in driving wheels, which are likely to be cast in a Geelong foundry;

·         Work on the boiler is yet to start; and

·         The cylinders will be assembled from welded rolled steel with a cast lining, rather than from a single casting, with the cylinder steel having recently been rolled and delivered in readiness for further assembly.  (A similar approach has been taken with the UK-based new build project for 32424 ‘Beachy Head’ at the Bluebell Railway; their project website includes good photographs of the welded cylinders being assembled, completed and fitted.)

The locomotive and tender overall was reported as 45% complete with a further 15 years of work anticipated.

UPDATE - April 2017: IXL castings of Geelong has cast the first two driving wheels for the new build Z class.  These driving wheels are 4'6" diameter and weigh 920kg.  A photo of one of the new wheels has been added below.

Further contributions of news and photos for this fascinating project are welcome as it progresses towards completion.

Visitors admire Z 199 and tender nestled in the workshop on 23 November 2013.

Photo courtesy of Adrian de Kuyer.

Z 199 and the rebuilt tender within the workshop building on 14 September 2015; photo courtesy of Jarrod Smythe.

This view shows Z199’s completed coupling rods in the foreground.

View of the locomotive frames, showing the splashers, valve motion and other details.

Also visible is the shovelling plate at the front of the tender as the platework is progressively renewed.

Photo courtesy of Adrian de Kuyer and dated 23 November 2013.

The under-construction bogie assembly; the wheelsets are stored nearby.

This photo is courtesy of Jarrod Smythe and dated 14 September 2015.

One of the first two driving wheels cast for the new build Z class, newly delivered to the project site and seen on 12 April 2017.

These driving wheels are 4'6" diameter and weigh 920kg.  Photo courtesy of Glenn Smythe.



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.


"Catch Point" No.181, September 2007,

published by the Australian Railway Historical Society (SA Div) Inc.

Article on page 28 "The South Australian Z-Class - Reborn" by Stuart Gamble.


Information provided by J Smythe via email dated 17 January 2016


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Page updated: 20 May 2017

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