Z 199

New-build replica of a SAR Z-class loco


This front view of Z 199 shows progress with this new-build project as at January 2021.

As can be seen, the welded cylinder assemblies (sans liners etc) have now been trial fitted to the frames.

My thanks to Jarrod Smythe for this updated view, and indeed most of the other photo contributions on this page.


Private site in South Australia

Builder’s Number & Year

The original Z-class were built by
James Martin & Co, 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 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 the main driving axles were salvaged from a scrapped diesel loco.

An early report stated that a boiler suitable for modification for Z 199 exists in West Australia and was under consideration. I understand the current plan is for a new welded boiler to be fabricated, with the barrel comprising three sections of cold rolled steel, and the firebox assembled from hand-flanged throat and blackhead plates.

An appropriate spare SAR Y-class tender of Beyer Peacock design and built in 1888 has been loaned to the Z 199 project by the Pichi Richi Railway. The tender rebuild is now substantially complete, including new platework. This tender was formerly displayed at the Mile End Railway Museum behind Baldwin-built BHP No.4, whose original tender had remained in use as a tanker in a weed-spray consist but later became available for preservation and display with BHP No.4.

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.

An update received in April 2017 advised:

·        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.)

A further update (with photos, added below) in January 2020 advised:

·        The wheels are now both on their corresponding axles;

·        Slide valves, pistons and eccentrics are all complete; and

·        Cylinders are well on the way, with the bulk of the fabrication for the port blocks also complete.

·        The four main driving wheel axle-boxes were also complete by late March 2020.

UPDATE January 2021:

·        The cylinders have now been trial fitted to the frames (sans liners); and

·        The bogie is now complete (photo 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 Z 199’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.

The driving wheels mounted on their axles, and awaiting the crank pins to be fitted.
Photo courtesy of Jarrod Smythe and dated January 2020.

The pistons, eccentrics and slide valves. Photo courtesy of Jarrod Smythe and dated January 2020.

The machined slide bars. Photo courtesy of Jarrod Smythe and dated January 2020.

A port block, part-machined, together with the left & right admission passages. Photo courtesy of Jarrod Smythe and dated January 2020.

A port block after further machining. Photo courtesy of Jarrod Smythe and dated January 2020.

Z 199’s whistles; the smaller is a ‘peanut’ whistle with a louder shrill sound, and the larger is a ‘country’ whistle with a deeper sound.
Photo courtesy of Jarrod Smythe and dated January 2020.

Z 199’s driving wheel axle-boxes. Photo courtesy of Jarrod Smythe and dated March 2020.

Z 199’s bogie is now complete. Photo courtesy of Jarrod Smythe, January 2021.

An earlier view (dated 23 November 2013) showing the completed frames, smokebox, cab and other items.

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

The fabrications for the cylinders and valves were yet to be mounted on the frames.

This photo was kindly contributed by Adrian de Kuyer.


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Jarrod Smythe has kindly provided this infographic showing project progress as at February 2021.



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 emails dated 17 January 2016,

5 January 2020, 29 March 2020 & 21 January 2021.

Page updated: 22 February 2021

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