South Maitland Railways Pty Ltd No.14

Stored for the Dorrigo Steam Railway & Museum


A picture containing grass, train, sky, track

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Keith Jones kindly permitted me to photograph the Dorrigo Steam Railway & Museum collection during a visit on 24 January 2004.

Here South Maitland Railways No.14 is seen stored on the former ‘potato siding’ in the Dorrigo station yard, covered in black-oil for weatherproofing.



Avonside Engine Company,




Builder’s Number & Year

1559 of 1909



Wheel Arrangement




No. in class



As the railway operations of the East Greta Coal Mining Company continued to expand, additional motive power was required for shuttling trains from the various collieries along their route to the NSWGR exchange sidings at East Maitland (earlier known as East Greta). To meet the growing traffic demands, Avonside Engine Company were contracted to supply two suitable locomotives which became No.13 & 14 of the ’13-class’. These chunky 0-8-2T locomotives proved successful, with a third subsequently ordered which became No.1 in the loco fleet, in fact the second loco to bear this number.

The 0-8-2T configuration of these locos reminds me of railway operations serving the collieries of South Wales, where large fleets of 0-6-2T locos were commonly used to shuttle between pit and port. I believe the general practice was for those Welsh locos to run bunker-first when guiding heavy loaded trains downhill from the collieries to the docks, and then chimney-first when taking the empties back upgrade to the mines in the valleys. It would be interesting to know how the three 13-class locos were used on the South Maitland Railways – possibly the running arrangement were dictated by the ruling gradient of 1:70 which faced loaded trains ascending Caledonia Bank.

The South Maitland Railways Pty Ltd (SMR) formed in 1918 to consolidate the railway activities of the East Great Coal Mining Company and Hebburn Coal Mining Company, with the 13-class locomotives retaining their identities in the amalgamated fleet. The SMR subsequently enhanced its loco stud with fourteen ’10-class’ 2-8-2T locomotives which were superior to the 13-class in main line traffic, and the three 0-8-2T locos were sold off when traffic declined during the Great Depression.

The three 13-class locomotives were:



Notes & Disposal


 Avonside 1541 of 1908

Sold to BHP Newcastle in 1944 and rebuilt to 0-6-0T (BHP 29).

Ended its days in 1961 as feed for the BHP steelmaking furnace.


 Avonside 1559 of 1909

Sold to the Hetton-Bellbird Coal Co in 1936.

Withdrawn in 1972 and donated for preservation.


 Avonside 1596 of 1911

Sold to Bulli Colliery, Australian Iron & Steel in 1937.

Last worked 1959 & scrapped in 1965.

No.14 proved to be the luckiest of the trio, lasting in service with Peko-Wallsend, Hexham until as late as 1972 and subsequently being donated to the Hunter Valley Steam Railway & Museum (HVSR&M). It was stored at Rhondda Colliery for some years with the growing HVSR&M collection, and apparently saw some further use shunting other items around the site. No.14 was rail hauled to Glenreagh in late 1983 and stored for a further few years prior to being towed to Dorrigo along the reopened branch line around 1986. It has since remained in storage on the ‘potato siding’ in the Dorrigo Station yard, together with the larger locomotives in the Dorrigo collection.

Although No.14 was nominally in working order at time of withdrawal, it would require extensive dismantling, inspection and documentation of all parts as required by modern safety regulations and insurance provisions, before it could steam again.

Avonside 0-8-0ST locos

The East Great Mining Company also owned two large Avonside 0-8-0ST locos, No.6 (b/n 1464 of 1904) and & No.9 (b/n 1481 of 1905). Alas neither survives (indeed I’m not aware of any such Avonside 0-8-0ST locos surviving worldwide) but are none-the-less examples of the diverse and fascinating array of steam locomotives that worked in the Hunter Valley coalfields.

A train on the railway tracks

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South Maitland Railways No.14 stored on the former ‘potato siding’ in the Dorrigo station yard and covered in black-oil for weatherproofing.

This earlier view was kindly contributed by Mark Newton and dates from 1999.



Kramer, J. 'The Dorrigo Steam Railway & Museum - an Illustrated Guide',

published by the Dorrigo Steam Railway & Museum, 1987.


McNicol, S. ‘Coals to Maitland’

Published by Railmac Publications, 1982


Wikipedia page for Avonside Engine Company, retrieved 27 August 2021.

Page updated: 1 September 2021

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