The "Coffee Pot"


NJAB1 "Coffee Pot" ventures onto the Pichi Richi main line in early April 2015, following its recent overhaul.

Photo by Andrew Wood & kindly contributed by the Pichi Richi Railway.

This fascinating machine combines a small 2-2-0WT steam locomotive with a passenger coach on a single rigid frame.  The locomotive unit was built by Kitson & Co, Leeds (Builder's Number 4356 of 1906) while the coach was manufactured by the Metropolitan Amalgamated Railway Carriage and Wagon Company of Birmingham.  Two of these innovative units were supplied to the South Australian Railways to provide a passenger service on light-traffic rural routes.  They were known on the South Australian Railways as "Steam Motor Coach No.1" and "Steam Motor Coach No.2".  Steam Motor Coach No.2 differed slightly from No.1 by also having a driver's cabin at the rear of the passenger coach.

The preserved Steam Motor Coach No.1 was based at Quorn for use on a regular weekly service to Hawker, where it became more commonly known as the "Coffee Pot".  Steam Motor Coach No.2 was based in the south of the state and operated lines in the Mount Gambier district.

Coffee Pot was sold to the Commonwealth Railways in 1924 in connection with the transfer of operations and control of the Central Australia Railway to the Commonwealth Government, becoming NJAB 1.  It was stored at Quorn depot from 1932 onwards and somehow managed to survive despite the scrapping of so many other Commonwealth Railways steam locomotives in the 1950's, instead being placed on display at Alice Springs station in 1960 (despite never having worked there).

NJAB 1 / Coffee Pot was obtained by the Pichi Richi Railway in 1975 and transferred back to Quorn for restoration, where it returned to service in 1984.  It has since been generally available for special events at the Pichi Richi Railway, excepting periods of overhaul.  Most recently, the Coffee Pot returned to steam in April 2015 following an eight-year sojourn while boiler and mechanical repairs were carried out. 

NJAB 1 / Coffee Pot is perhaps one of Australia's most notable preserved steam railway machines, representing an innovative early self-propelled railcar and the predecessor of various petrol and diesel railcars operated by the South Australian Railways and Commonwealth Railways.

Regular updates on progress with the Coffee Pot and the Pichi Richi Railway’s other restoration projects and coming events can be received via subscription to their monthly newsletter at www.pichirichirailway.org.au, or by following on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pichirichirailway.  The Pichi Richi Railway website also includes a page with further history and technical details for the Coffee Pot.

A nice detail view of "Coffee Pot" in steam at the Pichi Richi Railway in April 2015.

Photo by Andrew Wood & kindly contributed by the Pichi Richi Railway.

Nic Doncaster kindly contributed this view of NJAB 1 "Coffee Pot" at the Pichi Richi Railway's Quorn station during the early 1990's.




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.


Fluck, R, Marshall B, Wilson J & others "Locomotives and Railcars of the Commonwealth Railways"

published by Gresley Publishing, South Australia for the Port Dock Station Railway Museum, 1996.


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Page updated:  24 June 2015

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