The International Steam Pages


Steam in Australia, 2015

At the end of steam, many locomotives were put out to graze in public parks and other open spaces. I have not attempted to list these because not only are there too many, but in the last few years, the growth of the heritage industry (not to mention the condition of the locomotives which can make them a health hazard) has led to many being moved, often for restoration. Many narrow gauge steam locomotives (especially those in Queensland where cane tramways are still in use) lead a somewhat nomadic lifestyle and again these tend not to be mentioned. A feature of steam operation in Australia is the number and variety of mainline steam specials. Since these are usually anything but predictable, you should regularly access the websites of those organisations operating these trains.

I have used a variety of sources for this information, particularly the Continental Railway Journals from 1973, the information is given in good faith but I accept no responsibility for either accuracy or current validity. Although I shall update it from time to time, you should check the particular websites for up-to-date information, especially if you are planning a visit, because most operating sites are seasonal or work only at weekends. Entries are by state, in roughly alphabetical order of location. I would like to thank Graeme Stanley for a valuable set of updates which are those shown below dated 12th February 2006 and 22nd June 2006. Lindsay Barford has provided an update website address for Thirlmere, NSW (9th January 2007), James Waite a link to a further preserved steam locomotive site (15th January 2008) and Andrew Forbes for information on the Kerrisdale Mountain Railway (3rd March 2008).  Peter Silva of ATR has checked the Victoria data and provided corrections and updates (20th October 2008) and Graeme Stanley has provided updates for much of New South Wales and ACT (20th May 2009). For the latest updates, please search the page for "Kevin Hoggett" who visited several locations in 2014. James Waite has since (2015/6) added reports of his visits.

Please note that this compilation does not include static displays and non-steam operational sites - see the Guide mentioned below which is far more comprehensive. I have used it to complete a major revision of this page on 27th September 2007.

Essential reading for the visitor and resident alike:

Guide to Australian Heritage Trains and Railway Museums
Compiled by Robert F McKillop, 2010 Edition
Australian Railway Historical Society, New South Wales Division

Check their website for more information - http://www.arhsnsw.com.au/  


Corrections and additions are very welcome. In researching this page, I have found many organisations have changed their names as they have developed. I believe those names used are current. Send an email to: webmaster@internationalsteam.co.uk

Most of the links are 'official' and all were current in May 2002. Even then I had to use a search machine (www.google.com) to find some of them because links on sites which ought to be in the front line were out of date. Please send corrections to me: webmaster@internationalsteam.co.uk - I certainly won't have time to check them through regularly.

To research individual locomotives, I recommend this site offering information on all the preserved locomotives - allegedly 572 in March 2002 - in Australia (and yet more links) check out  http://www4.tpgi.com.au/users/ews3/. Another excellent site (added 27th July 2004) is http://www.the-commissioner.com/ and James Waite recommends www.australiansteam.com (15th January 2008).. 


Australian Gauges

A legacy of the way that the states developed their railways is the variation in gauge. In the rural areas 3ft 6in (1067mm) predominated - Tasmania, Western Australia and Queensland and to an extent elsewhere. Broad Gauge 5ft 3in (1600mm) was found in South Australia and Victoria although much is now converted to standard gauge, 4ft 8½ (1435mm), which has always been used in New South Wales/South Queensland and for most newly constructed railways. Victoria tended to use 2ft 6in (762mm) for the narrow gauge with 2ft (610mm) elsewhere. Assume 'local' gauge unless otherwise stated.


A useful organisation and website is the Association of Tourist and Heritage Rail Australia (ATHRA) - www.athra.asn.au. This is a national body representing the interests of rail preservation groups Australia-wide. Thanks to Graeme Stanley for this one (June 2006).

The website of the  LRRSA (http://www.lrrsa.org.au/index.html) has links to many operating railways and collections within Australia, while their 40 page bi monthly 'Light Railways' magazine features articles on operating railways, both tourist and industrial, and we also have a ‘Heritage and Tourist’ section, which reports on operations at some of the tourist railways.

For an alternative summary of parts of the active steam scene in Australia, see http://www.steamlocomotive.com/australia/ (added 7th October 2006).


New South Wales (including ACT)

ARHS Australian Capital Territory, see http://www.trains.org.au (added 29th May 2009) formerly www.arhsact.org.au

ARHS New South Wales http://www.arhsnsw.com.au/

3801 Ltd @ www.3801limited.com.au (updated 22nd June 2006)

This company operates main line specials using the eponymous Pacific 3801 and sister locomotive 3830 from the Powerhouse Museum among others. Also responsible for the Illawara and Southern Highlands Tourist Railway which is also known as the Cockatoo Run (Port Kembla - Moss Vale), variously steam and diesel hauled in recent years. 3801 is normally kept at Eveleigh Workshops.

Graeme Stanley reports (June 2006) - "The buildings at which the 3801 Limited collection is housed are now earmarked for demolition and the group is faced with having to relocate it operations elsewhere. Locomotive 3801 is likely to be returned to the NSW Rail Transport Museum at Thirlmere next year."

Graeme Stanley reports (20th May 2009) Still based at Eveleigh Railway Workshops but without loco 3801 which has been returned to the NSW Rail Transport Museum.

BHP Steelworks, Port Kembla

A former steelworks 0-6-0ST was restored in 1996 and is available for use on special occasions.

Bulahdelah Logging Railway (updated 12th February 2006)

10km north of Bulahdeah, which is 180km north of Sydney, not far from the coast, at the entrance to Myall Lakes National Park. This is a 2ft (610mm) gauge re-creation of the logging railways that once existed in this area. I have no recent information but in 1993 zig-zags were in operation with a Perry 0-4-2T the motive power. Now said to be defunct.

Canberra Railway Museum see http://www.trains.org.au (added 29th May 2009) formerly www.arhsact.org.au, entry updated 29th May 2009. The pictures below showing 1210, 3016 and 6029 (x2) are courtesy of Graeme Stanley (added 27th July 2009, but those of 6029 are not new...) Of course, 6029 has now re-emerged after restoration and the web is littered with pictures and videos.

This has a number of steam locomotives including 4-4-0 1210 which has been active on tourist trains in recent years on the Michelago Railway. It hauled the first train into the new national capital in 1914. Graeme Stanley adds (12th February 2006) "Trains from the museum are not restricted only to the Michelago Tourist Railway but also regularly run over the NSW railway network and can also run to Melbourne, Victoria. Steam loco 1210 occasionally operates at Thirlmere and recently was the oldest locomotive to take part in the September 2005 celebrations in Sydney commemorating 150 years of railways in NSW, including the use of 5 steam locos (including loco 1210) combining to haul the one train between Picton and Moss Vale and return on 17 September 2005."

Graeme Stanley adds: "Canberra's 4-6-0 3016 is currently under restoration at the NSW Rail Transport Museum at Thirlmere and is expected to be back in service late this year, or following the summer fire ban season, which could make it around April/May 2007. Loco 1210, which has been out of service for around 6 months undergoing boiler and other repairs, is expected to be back in service by mid-June 2006."

Graeme Stanley adds (20th May 2009): 4-4-0 1210, whilst still operational, is unfit for use on passenger trains due to cracks in the driving wheel castings. New wheels will have to be manufactured and fitted before the engine can haul passenger trains again. However, it was most recently steamed on Easter Saturday 2009 and hauled diesel locomotive 4807 and a number of the Museum's carriages to and from Canberra Railway Station where they were on display with the engine in steam while 4-6-0 steam locomotive 3016 hauled shuttle trains between Canberra and Queanbeyan. Locomotive 3016 usually operates on the third Sunday of each month over the steeply graded route through the Molonglo Gorge and over Pine Range and Brooks Bank between Canberra and Bungendore, leaving Canberra at 10.45 am, returning around 3.30 pm. Carriages used on the train are around 100 years old while 3016 dates from 1903. The train also operates on certain weekdays during school holidays - details of all tours from Canberra are available at http://www.trains.org.au.  Steam locomotives are not used during the summer fire ban period - usually from mid-December until Easter.

A major project currently underway at Canberra Railway Museum is the restoration to service of 265-ton Beyer-Garratt 4-8-4+4-8-4 6029. Full details available at http://project6029.blogspot.com/. Hopefully the loco will be running again by the end of 2010. It last ran in 1981 when it was retired from heritage rail operations due to boiler condition. A replacement boiler formerly used at a Victorian sawmill has successfully undergone hydrostatic testing and reassembly of the locomotive is now underway. Donations to help to finance the project are most welcome.

Restoration of 4-6-0 tender engine 3102 is expected to get underway later in 2009. Arrangements are also being made to transport 4-6-4 tank locomotive 3013 to Canberra Railway Museum from the Lachlan Valley Railway's depot at Cowra. The locomotive will be reassembled for static display and some interchange of parts with 3102 are envisaged.

Privately-owned steam 4-6-4 steam tank locomotive 3112 is now also resident in Canberra on a private siding adjacent to Canberra Railway Museum.: 

Dorrigo Steam Railway and Museum (until mid-1982 this was the Hunter Valley Steam Railway and Museum) @ http://www.dsrm.org.au

Nearly 20 years ago, this museum possessed the majority of its present large collection of steam locomotives and was looking to operate the Dorrigo - Glenreagh line. Since then little progress has been made although in recent years the stock has been transferred to a new site nearby and things are now looking up. Likely to operate the Dorrigo - Ulong section in due course.

Glenreagh Mountain Railway @ http://www.gmr.org.au/ - link dead by 26th April 2014 (updated 12th February 2006)

This railway is situated some 600 km north of Sydney. Originally a splinter group from the Dorrigo Steam Railway and Museum, it now owns the 35km from Glenreagh to Ulong (the line continue up to Dorrigo) and is currently clearing the line and resleepering. 1878 built ex-NSWGR 0-6-01919 is approaching completion of its overhaul and will be used initially on the lower half of the line for approximately 8km. Also available is an old wooden cph railmotor. It will be some years before the whole line is restored and in the meant time it hopes to run trike rides on the top half from Ulong to Lowanna. Later news is that 1919 was steamed on 30th September 2002 and is now able to haul trains 
from Glenreagh to Tallawudjah Creek bridge. (12th February 2006)

Graeme Stanley adds (20th May 2009): Not currently operating due to rail safety accreditation having expired. The Railway is working on renewing their accreditation but the requirements are now far more stringent and there is no estimate as to when or if reaccreditation may be possible.

Goulbourn Loco Roundhouse Preservation Society Inc @ http://www.gchr.4t.com/

Host to 2-6-0 2419 and several diesels 111/54. An operational day in 1999 used a loco from Lachlan Valley Railway

Marsden Weir Steam Museum

Goulbourn is some 200km south-west of Sydney on the main line to Melbourne (34/265). Mainly industrial steam locomotives but also beam engines, steam cranes and traction engines. The railway was 2ft (610mm) gauge but was closed in 1999 as the lease with Council had expired and the stock has been dispersed.

Hunter Valley Railway Trust (formerly Rothbury Riot Railway and Steam Museum) @ http://huntervalleyrailway.tripod.com (updated 25th July 2005)

The former Rothbury Colliery (50km north-west of Newcastle), is home particularly to a number of the ex-South Maitland Railway 2-8-2Ts and much passenger carriages, which will be joined by coaching stock currently at Junee and Goulbourn when facilities are developed. The immediate intention is to operate trains between Rothbury and Branxton, eventually extending some 20km in all over former colliery branches.

Illawara Light Railway, Albion Park @ http://www.ilrms.com.au/index.htm (updated 27th September 2007)

Albion Park is a small village, some 125km south of Sydney. This long-established museum has a number of operational 2ft (610mm) gauge industrial steam locomotives and is working to restore a Shay. (not to be confused with the Illawara Tourist Railway / The Cockatoo Run operated by 3801 Ltd.)

Lachlan Valley Railway @ www.lvr.com.au also http://lachlanvalleyrailway.wordpress.com/ (updated 27th September 2007)

The LVR's base is the semi-roundhouse at Cowra, some 300km west of Sydney. The railway operates occasional trains on the Cowra - Blayney (75km) branch and regular excursion trains to various destinations in the state. The Cowra - Trajere (Eugowra) branch (63km) over which it used to run is currently closed owing to bridge damage. The railway's railfreight division is now a separate company. For May 2002 current information, see also a note I have had from Ian Larcher. 4-6-0 steam loco 3237 is now operational after complete restoration but not yet in regular service.

Graeme Stanley adds: "4-6-0 3237 returned to service briefly over the Easter long weekend (14-18 April 2006) but suffered mechanical failure during local operations at Temora and is believed to be still at that location pending repairs." According to the ARHS 2007 guide it is probably operational again by now.

Graeme Stanley adds (20th May 2009): 3237 is indeed now operational. Privately owned 2-8-2 5917 has also returned to service and is presently based in Sydney where it is scheduled to operate jointly with 4-6-0 3526 and 4-6-0 3642 on a NSW Rail Transport Museum triple-header tour up the steeply graded Illawarra Escarpment line from Wollongong to Moss Vale on 4 July 2009.

Lithgow, State Mine Railway Heritage Park @ http://www.statemine.org.au/ (corrected 21st May 2005)

This based at the former State Mine and the short branch which served it. Ex-NSWGR 2-6-2ST 2605 was operational but reported out of use in 2007, the Park has steadily developed into a large cultural heritage project (it is the site of Australia's first steelworks) and may eventually be joined to the Zig Zag railway nearby. Some buildings and contents were damaged by arson in October 2001.

Lithgow Zig Zag Railway @ http://www.zigzagrailway.com.au

The main line west of Sydney originally descended the west side of the Blue Mountains by a zig-zag which was abandoned when a deviation was built in 1910. Since the 1970s the original formation has gradually been re-opened as a 3ft 6in (1067mm) gauge railway and, as such, has primarily used ex-Queensland Railway locomotives. It is now recovering from a disastrous bush fire in 2013.

Megalong Valley Tourist Railway, Blackheath

This 2ft (610mm) gauge railway, 30km east of Lithgow has been closed for some years and the main stock dispersed.

Melaleuca Station, Chinderah  

This tea-tree plantation adjacent to the Pacific Highway between Murwillumbah (Condong) and Chinderah in the north-east corner of NSW has built a 2ft (610mm) gauge tourist steam railway which is operated by a Perry 0-6-2T from Marian Sugar Mill at Mackay, but possibly for group bookings only.

Menangle Narrow Gauge Railway

2ft (610mm) gauge tourist railway just 600m long operates in the grounds of the Campbelltown Steam and Machinery Museum (60km south-west of Sydney). Although most of the available locomotives are diesel/battery electric, there is one steam locomotive which sees regular use.

Michelago Tourist Railway http://www.arhsact.org.au (updated 12th February 2006)

The ARHS ACT division leased the disused line south of Queanbeyan as far as the picturesque village of Michelago for tourist operations. The railway is scenic, with a 1 in 40 climb from Queanbeyan and fine views over the Tuggerong and Melrose Valleys. Services have been operated by serviceable locomotives from the Canberra Railway Museum if available, otherwise diesel. Graeme Stanley adds "The line is open only as far as Royalla, about half way to Michelago."

Graeme Stanley adds (20th May 2009): "The line has been closed for some time due to track condition. Restoration work is underway with a view to reopening the line as far as Jerrabomberrra Creek for vintage rail motor operations. Steam train trips are now run on the main line, usually between Canberra and Bungendore."

Powerhouse Museum, Ultimo, Sydney www.phm.gov.au (updated 12th February 2006)

In Harris Street, just 10 minutes walk from Central station or served by the Darling Harbour monorail, this museum has some prize early exhibits including a Boulton and Watt stationary steam engine of 1785 (in working order) and NSWR 1 0-4-2 (R. Stephenson 958/1854). It also operates Pacific 3830 in conjunction with 3801 Ltd, Graeme Stanley adds that it "also displays historic 4-4-0 steam locomotive 1243." 

Graeme Stanley adds (20th May 2009): Restoration to service of 4-6-0 steam locomotive 3265 is nearing completion at nearby Eveleigh railway workshops.

This Kevin Hoggett picture shows the 1854 0-4-2 by RS:

Regional Heritage Transport Association (new entry 12th February 2006)

The association is based at Junee Roundhouse in southern NSW. They have static exhibit 2-6-0 steam loco 2413 on long term loan from Canberra Railway Museum as well as a steam crane.

Richmond Vale Railway, Kurri Kurri  @ http://www.richmondvalerailwaymuseum.org (added 27th September 2007) 

This is based at the loco-shed of long closed Richmond Main Colliery to operate over the Richmond Vale Railway which saw its last coal train in 1988. Initially trains ran with ex-South Maitland 2-8-2Ts over a 4km line to Pelaw Main Colliery. The Maitland area sees an annual festival with steam hauled trains into the area. As of 2014, the only working loco is Clyde 0-4-0ST "Marjorie" according to Kevin Hoggett, whose pictures appear below:

Steam Tram and Railway Preservation Society @ (ex Parramatta Park Steam Tramway)

After arson in 1993, the group ceased to operate in Parramatta Park. In 2000 the group moved to the Valley Heights Depot Museum.

Valley Heights Locomotive Depot Museum http://infobluemountains.net.au/locodepot/

This former loco depot is located about half way up the electrified 'long drag' of the NSW main line, some 77km west of Sydney. It serves as the home of the Blue Mountains Division of the NSW Transport Museum. Some stock has been transferred here from Thirlmere and is the new site for the Steam Tram and Railway Preservation Society. Star performer is restored Sydney steam tram motor 103A, built Baldwin in 1891. 

Thirlmere, NSW Rail Transport Museum http://www.trainworks.com.au/ (corrected again 25th October 2016)

This long established museum has a large collection of locomotives and rolling stock at Thirlmere, some 80km south-west of Sydney. Graeme Stanley adds "it also operate its own branch line between Picton and Buxton - steam and diesel services, as well as steam and diesel mainline excursions." 

Graeme Stanley adds (20th May 2009): The museum is being redeveloped with funding from RailCorp's Office of Rail heritage - details on NSWRTM's website. Locomotive 3801 has returned to Thirlmere from 3801 Limited and is undergoing complete restoration at The Hunter Valley Training Company's workshop at Maitland NSW, including construction of a new boiler.

There is a list of locomotives here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_South_Wales_Rail_Transport_Museum.

As of 2014, reports Kevin Hoggett, this is now marketed as 'Train World' with steam hauled trains on Sunday. His pictures show 4-6-4T 3137 and 4-6-2 3830 (first row) 0-4-2 78 and 4-8-4+4-8-4 6040 (second row) 

Timbertown, Wauchope

Situated 435km north of Sydney, 3km west of Wauchope station. This is a popular recreation of an 1880s sawmillers' village. It has a 2.4km 2ft (610mm) gauge railway operated by steam.

Yass Railway Museum

A small museum has been established in the restored town station. Prime exhibit is 4-4-2T 1307 which worked on the 'tramway' from Yass Junction.

Graeme Stanley also recommends the following (non-steam) organisations:

The Cooma Monaro Railway (new entry 12th February 2006) http://www.cmrailway.org.au.

The railway is based at Cooma Railway Station in the NSW Southern Tablelands. They operate 1920s rail motors over the line from Cooma to Chakola and house their equipment in the old steam loco shed at Cooma.

The Rail Motor Society (new entry 12th February 2006) http://www.railmotorsociety.org.au website largely defunct 26th April 2014 except for http://www.railmotorsociety.org.au/tours_frame.htm and http://www.railmotorsociety.org.au/history_frame.htm).

The society is based at Patterson NSW on the lower North Coast line near Newcastle. They operate main line tours using 1920s vintage rail motors.


Northern Territory

Ghan Preservation Society

The HQ is at MacDonnell Siding, some 10km south of Alice Springs. There is a museum and an operational 3ft 6in (1067mm) gauge railway using ex-WAGR and ex-QR power.

Kevin Hoggett (2014) reports that it is now a static museum with just WAGR 924 present.

Pine Creek Railway Precinct (added 27th September 2007)

The most complete example of the 3ft 6in (1067mm) gauge North Australia Railway installations, with ex-NAR 2-6-0 (Beyer Peacock 1877) operable, but only steamed on special occasions.


Queensland

As noted in the introduction, there are quite a few ex-sugar mill locomotives which are in operation, but they tend not to have a fixed base! Also a large number of individual 'preserved' locomotives which are not documented here. For more information on Queensland Sugar Railways/Tramways please see http://www.lrrsa.org.au/LRR_SGR.htm (added 31st August 2006). This site also includes a list of all known preserved locomotives from these systems.

James Waite was here in July 2015 to observe part of the Queensland Railways 150th anniversary celebrations (21st November 2015).

ARHS Queensland http://www.arhs-qld.org.au/

Association of Tourist Railways of Queensland Inc. http://www.atrq.net (added 26th June 2006)

This is an umbrella organisation representing Queensland rail preservation groups.  

Queensland Railways Mainline (updated 27th September 2007)

The former museum at Redbank which hosted many ex-QR locomotives has closed (in 1997 many of these were stored in a nearby warehouse). The Roundhouse Railway Museum at Rockhampton is operated by Queensland Rail Heritage Volunteers and serves as the base for the QR heritage fleet and volunteers engaged in rolling stock restoration. There is regular steam on the QR mainline often operated by the local ARHS division. Operational steam locomotives may be found between duties at the diesel depot at Mayne, 4km north of Brisbane Central. In recent years, active locomotives have included examples of BB18¼ (4-6-2), C17 (4-8-0), DD17 (4-6-4T), A10 (0-4-2), Garratt (4-8-2 + 2-8-4). The number and type is only likely to increase with C17, C16 (4-6-0) and AC16 (2-8-2) are under restoration. Many of these trips are organised by Sunshine Rail Express Tours (ARHS, Queensland).

Graeme Stanley adds (22nd June 2006) that Loco AC16 221A has recently been restored to service.

Atherton - Herberton Tourist Railway (updated 22nd June 2006)

Operated by the same group as the Ravenshoe - Tumoulin Tourist Train. In northern Queensland, services commenced over 22km between Atherton and Herberton in 1996. Operated by C17 4-8-0 812, the line features steep grades and delightful scenery, but in 2001 the services were suspended due to accreditation difficulties, but I was told in May 2002 that services were likely to resume in June 2002. Graeme Stanley tells me (22nd June 2006) that this never happened and the railway is defunct.

Australian Sugar Museum, Mourilyan (all this added 27th September 2007)

This museum was established in 1977 to preserve the heritage of the sugar industry. It contains the world’s only remaining John Fowler jackshaft drive steam locomotive built in 1882.

Ballyhooley Steam Railway - Port Douglas (north of Cairns) http://www.ballyhooley.com.au (added 22nd June 2006)

This railway offers a weekly steam train trip over the 3.5 km 610mm gauge ex-sugar cane railway through Port Douglas. The main problem here is a lack of volunteers to maintain and operate the railway. Kevin Hoggett was here in 2014 and reports Sunday trains with Bundaberg-Fowler 0-6-2Ts, his pictures are below:

.

Beaudesert Tourist Railway (updated 12th February 2006)

It was one to watch. The QR suspended operations on the 43km Bethania - Beaudesert line in 1996. The Beaudesert Shire Railway Support Group obtained C17 4-8-0 967, obtained a grant to restore it to working order and it had been working since March 2003. As of April 2004 they were operating steam trains every Saturday and Sunday. Graeme Stanley adds that the railway has since collapsed into bankruptcy in very dubious circumstances and its assets disbursed far and wide...

Bundaberg Steam Tramway Preservation Society http://qldrailheritage.com/ascr/ (added 27th September 2007)

The society has a 2ft (610mm) line at the Botanical Gardens which is operated by one of their small locomotives. 

Graeme Stanley adds (22nd June 2006); "Steam services utilising an ex South African 24 class loco (from New Zealand) commenced on 3 March 2004 but failed to attract sufficient passengers and services ceased on 31 October 2004. The locomotive is currently out of service but is being maintained and is earmarked for future use in a role which is yet to be disclosed."

Cairns Hinterland Railway Interest Society Inc. (CHRIS) (added 22nd June 2006)

This group is trying to reopen the former RAILCo operated line from Platypus Park (Atherton) to Herberton. The cost of reboilering loco C17 812 and restoring the track as far as Carrington Falls (about half-way to Herberton) is estimated at five million dollars. The loco is owned by Atherton Rotary Club while Platypus Park Station is now in private ownership.

Darling Downs Historical Rail Society Ltd, Toowoomba http://www.downssteam.com/ (new website 16th January 2010)

This group is restoring C16 class 4-6-0 106.

DreamWorld, Gold Coast http://www.dreamworld.com.au/ - link not working by 26th April 2014 - information from Mark Gough (7th October 2006).

This theme park has two steam locomotives, one a Perry 0-6-2T of 1952 and the other a Baldwin 4-6-0(exT) of 1917. Kevin Hoggett reports that by 2014 it was using a 4-4-0 steam outline diesel.

Durundur Railway, Woodford http://www.angrms.org.au/

This is the site of the Australian Narrow Gauge Railway Museum Society, 100km north of Brisbane. The society owns a number of 2ft (610mm) gauge steam locomotives, mostly from sugar mills and operates trains on a 1.2km track on the trackbed of the former QR Wamuran - Kilcoy branch. 

Gin Gin

The historical centre here has 0-6-0T Bunyip from the nearby sugar mill. 

Ipswich Railway Workshops Museum http://www.theworkshops.qm.qld.gov.au (added 27th September 2007)

The former workshops date from 1900 and QR now uses Redbank, 13km east. The world-class museum opened in 2002 which is managed by the Queensland Museum encompasses all operation in the state and not just QR. 

Kuranda Scenic Railway http://www.kst.com.au (updated 27th September 2007)

Regular diesel tourist trains have operated over this line for some years. Ex-South African 24 3620 (renumbered 401) has been restored to operate this service. Three successful test runs were carried out with 401 in early July 2002 and presumably a regular service will now be offered. However, by the end of October 2002 it seems that the project was disintegrating with the stock under lock and key. Emails from the New Zealand based owners of 401 make it clear that most problems have been resolved and they are looking to start running at Easter 2003. The ex-SAR 19D intended for this operation is under overhaul in Bulawayo, Zimbabawe but is not expected here for some time yet. Latest information in 2007 is that the train was being operated by historic QR diesel locomotives.

Mackay Heritage Railway Inc (added 27th September 2007)

Mackay Heritage Railway is restoring two 4-6-2 express locomotives to operating condition to provide steam tours around Mackay. Its railway depot at Outer Harbour is open to the public.

Mary Valley Heritage Railway http://www.mvhr.org.au/, also http://www.thevalleyrattler.com 

The group has operated trains over the scenic Mary Valley line from Gympie to Imbil (41km south-south-west) using C17 4-8-0 45 since 1998. A second C17 is under restoration.

Kevin Hoggett reports service suspended in 2014 owing to certification problems.

Mount Morgan Railway and Information Centre (all this added 27th September 2007)

The railway station and goods shed were part of a line which included a Abt rack section to the eponymous mine. Two of the former mine locos are here, one operable and tourist operation may resume at some stage.

Ravenshoe Railway (formerly Atherton Tablelands Tourist Railway) http://ravenshoesteamrail.com.au/ (amended and updated 27th September 2007) 

The 56km Ravenshoe - Atherton line in North Queensland was closed in 1988 and the 7km section to Tumoulin re-opened the by RAILCo in 1991. Uses D17 4-6-4T 268, but in 2001 the services were suspended due to accreditation difficulties, but I was told in May 2002 that services were likely to resume by June 2002. It seems by October 2002 that there was some steam at the Atherton end on weekends and public holidays.... Services are expected to resume in late 2007.

Rockhampton, Archer Park Railway Station http://www.rockhamptonregion.qld.gov.au/FacilitiesRecreation/Archer-Park (amended 25th October 2016)

This museum site offers rides over 1km of (former QR) track in Denison St using a 1909 Purrey steam tramcar.

Rosewood Railway http://www.arhs-qld.org.au

Trains on part of the Rosewood - Marburg line are operated under the auspices of the ARHS Queensland Division. PB class 4-6-0 738 operated for 3km between Cabanda and Kunala from 1993, the 4km Rosewood - Cabana section being added in 2001. C17 4-8-0 720 is also to be restored.

Southern Downs Steam Railway http://www.southerndownssteamrailway.com.au/ (amended 26th MArch 2012)

The Southern Downs Steam Railway Association have leased the former QR loco depot and roundhouse at Warwick and plan to introduce tourist trains to Stanhope and Wallangarra using C17 4-8-0 971 after restoration.

Swanbank Railway (formerly the Queensland Pioneer Steam Railway) http://www.qpsr.net (added 27th September 2007)

This is a tourist line, 10km south-east of Ipswich, using ex-QR PB15 4-6-0 448 and a Perry 0-4-2T over 7km of track.


South Australia

ARHS South Australia http://www.steamranger.org.au

National Railway Museum, Port Adelaide @ (Port Dock Railway Station Museum) http://www.natrailmuseum.org.au

This is the Commonwealth Railways Museum Project and has a large number of locomotives of various gauges and origins, some of which operate within the site from time to time.

Kevin Hoggett reports of a 2014 visit  "3'6" (1067mm) Barclay 0-6-0T "Peronne" was in steam (see below) also a 18" miniature 0-4-2T. The museum also operates a 18" gauge miniature line at nearby Semaphore Beach."

Pichi Richi Railway http://www.prr.org.au/cms/index.php

This is part of the former 3ft 6in (1067mm) gauge railway that ran from Port Augusta to Alice Springs (with a branch to Peterborough - see below). Based in Quorn, it has operated since 1974 using a mixture of WAGR and SAR steam locomotives. Initially it ran for 15km to Woolshed Flat, then to Stirling North (1999) but in September 2001, it was extended to Port Augusta (40km) and appears to be thriving. James Waite visited in June 2016 and you can read his detailed and well illustrated report (20th June 2016).

These are Glyn Dawson's pictures from early 2008:

Kevin Hoggett writes of his 2014 visit "One of the better lines. Going strong. WAGR W class 4-8-2 934 in steam. Two other working locos at present." His pictures are below:

SteamRanger http://www.steamranger.org.au/

This is the operating arm of the ARHS (South Australia). It has operated a number of steam locomotives on the main line in recent years including 621, Duke of Edinburgh and trains on the 5ft 3in (1600mm) gauge the Victor Harbor Tourist Railway. They have a depot at Mount Barker (55km south-east of Adelaide) where the active fleet is based.

Kevin Hoggett writes of his 2014 visit "SAR Pacific 621 Duke of Edinbrugh in steam. At Goolwa the train connects with the paddle steamer "Oscar W" and at Victor Harbour makes an end on connection with the Victor Harbour horse tramway (very nice). The timetable is very complicated with different services running on different days, some steam other diesel. Two more locos are in advanced state of restoration (both 4-6-0s)."

Steamtown Peterborough http://www.peterborough.sa.gov.au (amended 27th September 2007)

This is a 3ft 6in (1067mm) gauge railway centre has operated since the 1970s at the other end of the former branch from Quorn (see Pichi Richi Railway). Steam trains operate to Black Rock/Eurelia (57km), usually with an ex-WAGR W class 4-8-2.

Cobdogla Irrigation Museum

This is at the Cobdogla Pumping Station on the Murray River. A restored 2ft (610mm) gauge Bagnall 0-4-0ST is active here.


Tasmania

ARHS Tasmania http://www.railtasmania.com/arhs/

General Information on the Steam Scene in Tasmania http://www.railtasmania.com/pres/index.php

Tasmania Locations

Derwent Valley Railway http://www.dvr.org.au/ (rolling stock) (amended 21st October 2013)

This scenic TR branch to Maydena has been taken over by a preservation society, with HQ at New Norfolk. Restoration is proceeding with the help of Government grants, passenger trains to Westerway resumed in September 2000. Graeme Stanley adds that it is "no longer operational due to denial of track access by the private operator responsible for rail track management in Tasmania.", a situation confirmed by the ARHS guide in 2007.

Don River Railway http://www.donriverrailway.com.au

This picturesque 3ft 6in (1067mm) gauge railway runs 4km from Don Village (near Devonport) to Coles Beach. Operated by the Van Diemens Land Light Railway Society, it uses ex-TGR 2-6-0 and 4-6-2 which have also made appearances off the railway.

Emu Bay Railway

Private 3ft 6in (1067mm) gauge railway. Steam may operate on special occasions with other railways stock/locos, but I can find no recent reports of such events.

Ida Bay Railway http://www.idabayrailway.com.au (amended 27th September 2007) 

A 7km long 2ft (610mm) gauge tourist railway is part of a railway originally built to carry limestone and is situated 113km south of Hobart on the A6 Huon Highway and while steam seems to have been used a bit at some stage, services appear to be 100% diesel these days.

Queen Victoria Museum, Invermay http://www.railtasmania.com/pres/group.php?id=qvm

The site of the former TGR workshops are being developed as a cultural and leisure centre by Launceston City Council and will include railway exhibits.

Redwater Creek Steam and Heritage Society, Sheffield http://www.redwater.org.au (amended 27th September 2007)

This is 30km south of Devonport on the old branch to Roland. There is about 1km of 2ft (610mm) gauge railway with at least one operational steam locomotive.

Tasmanian Transport Museum, Glenorchy, Hobart http://www.railtasmania.com/ttms/

The Museum has a number of steam locomotives, one or more of which may operate special trains on the island.

Wee Georgie Wood Steam Railway, Tullah

2ft (610mm) gauge 0-4-0WT worked on the Tullah Tramway near Primrose, about 2km of which have been restored. This is Glyn Dawson's picture from early 2008:

West Coast Wilderness Railway http://www.federalresorts.com.au

In the last few years, the former Mt. Lyell Mining and Railway Company's Abt rack line from Strahan has been progressively relaid for 34km up to Queenstown. Two of the original locomotives have returned to service. Steam passenger trains operate over the completed section from Queenstown. This is Glyn Dawson's picture from early 2008: James Waite visited in March 2013 (30th March 2013). After a period of service suspension, it will run again from 6th January 2014 only between Queenstown and Dubbil Barril, i.e., including the rack section but only about one half of the total length of the line. The rest of the route to Strahan will be refurbished over the next few months (10th December 2013).


Victoria

ARHS Victoria http://www.arhsvic.org.au (updated 20th October 2008)

Association of Tourist Railways Inc (Preserving Heritage Railways in Victoria) http://ww.atr.org.au  (link corrected 21st October 2013)

I would hope that the web page above would be at least as up-to-date as this one. Members are indicated with the symbol "@".

Victoria locations

SteamRail Victoria @ http://www.steamrail.com.au/

This has the use of a fleet of steam locomotives including particularly, R class 4-6-4s, J and K 2-8-0s and a D 3 4-8-0 which are used on a range of mainline specials and can be hired out for special events.

The West Coast Railway http://www.wcr.com.au  (updated 12th February 2006)

This was primarily a passenger train operator, but was known for its scheduled steam trains, most recently on Saturdays from July 2001 from Melbourne (Spencer Street) to Warnambool. These were operated by modernized R class 4-6-4s. The company was restoring a D3 4-8-0 and a J 2-8-0 and also operated a Y 0-6-0. Alas the scheduled trains are no more as several correspondents have pointed out (13th December 2004), it is now defunct and its assets disbursed (12th February 2006).

Seven-O-Seven Operations Inc @ http://www.707operations.com.au (updated 20th October 2008)

It operates restored R class 4-6-4 707 on the main line and is restoring R 753.

Alexandra Timber Tramway @ http://www.alexandratramway.org.au

This is a short 2ft (610mm) gauge tramway built on the old VR trackbed at Alexandra, 100km north-east of Melbourne They have an active Fowler 0-6-0T and a number of internal combustion machines.

Ballarat Railway Precint http://www.ballarat.com/balrail.htm (added 27th September 2007, link dead by October 2014)

The Ballarat historic railway precinct comprises the railway station, Ballarat East Locomotive Depot Historical Railway Complex, based on the former VR locomotive depot and stone goods shed, several classic Victorian railway industrial buildings and restored signal boxes. The locomotive depot is being developed as an operating base for the tourist railway operations (of Steamrail Ballarat). Steam locomotives and passenger rolling stock are restored and maintained at the depot.

Bellarine Railway @ http://bellarinerailway.com.au/ (website updated 1st April 2013)

This works the 16km former 5ft 3in (1600mm) gauge VR branch from Drysdale to Queenscliff (where the operational HQ is) converted to 3ft 6in (1067mm) gauge. Operations started in 1979 and over the years have used a variety of steam locomotives from South Australia, Queensland and Tasmania.

Coal Creek Bush Tramway, Korumburra @ http://www.coalcreekvillage.com.au/

This is on the site of Victoria's first black coal mining field about 100km south-east of Melbourne. K class 2-8-0 169 is preserved here but most importantly, a 1.5km narrow gauge railway has been established here. Initially 2ft 6in (762mm) it was later converted to 2ft (610mm) and operates with steam and diesel. 

Echuca Steam 

There appears to be an annual Queen's birthday weekend steam rally here, with a series of steam hauled heritage steam trains. At Echucha Wharf, A2 4-6-0 996 is steamed regularly.

Kevin Hoggett writes of his 2014 visit:  "No sign of the loco at Echuca, Two paddle steamers and a collection of stationary engines in steam."

Kerrisdale Mountain Railway http://www.kerrisdalemtnrailway.com.au (updated 3rd March 2008)

21km East of Seymour central Victoria approx 120 km north of Melbourne, Kerrisdale is a dot on the map! The 2ft (610mm) gauge railway has been established in the north east foothills of the Tallarook ranges. The railway is spectacularly scenic and rises steeply along tightly curved grades hugging the hillside with views across the Goulburn valley and King Parrot Creek valley, reaching summit points via the switch back culminating in a 300 degree panorama of the whole valley as described.

Thanks to Andrew Forbes for this further information.

"Just to let you know we are now open to the public and operating (as of last November, 2007). Please check out our updated website. A lot has happened in the last 6 years!"

MOTIVE POWER:

1. 20 DL Ruston Hornsby diesel mechanical 040 fully rebuilt in our shops.
2. 4 HP D.M. 040 'George' fettlers truck purpose built in our shops.
3. Malcolm Moore #1039 KMR No 2 fully rebuilt ex Australian Army, ex Bundaberg Sugar Mills, Tully, Far North Queensland.
4. "Douglas" 0-4-0 geared steam loco under development and construction at present in our erecting shop.

Other features include a live steam museum featuring stationary, portable and traction engines, all fully operational and demonstrated on open days.

Mornington Railway @ http://www.morningtonrailway.org.au

Operates over 6km between Mornington and Mooroduc on the Mornington Peninsular using restored ex-VR K class 2-8-0 163 in 1988.

Kevin Hoggett writes of his 2014 visit: "Immaculate K class 2-8-0 163 in steam."

North Williamstown Rail Museum

This is the ARHS (Victoria Division) Museum, sited next to the Newport Victoria Railway workshops. It has a number of ex-mainline locomotives on display.

Puffing Billy Railway www.puffingbilly.com.au (address amended 13th December 2004)

Arguably Australia's most famous steam railway, it has progressively re-opened nearly 25km of 2ft 6in narrow gauge railway from Belgrave into the Dandenong Range east of Melbourne. The main steam power are ex-VR 2-6-2Ts and there is a museum at Menzies Creek. In March 2004 Garratt G42 was returned to steam after 40 plus years....

Kevin Hoggett writes of his 2014 visit: "This is world class. 3x 2-6-2ts and Climax in steam. Restoration and regauging of an SAR NGG16 is advanced."

Red Cliffs Historical Steam Railway

This is a 3km 2ft (610mm) gauge railway developed by the Sunraysia Steam Preservation Society of Mildura on the trackbed of part of the broad gauge Red Cliffs - Morkalia branch in the extreme north-west of Victoria. Power initially was a 0-4-2T formerly from a local pumping station.

Seymour Railway Heritage Centre  http://www.srhc.org.au

This is located at Seymour loco depot on the main line to Sydney, 10km north of Melbourne. In recent years a significant number of ex-VR locomotives and carriages have been restored here and used on the main line.

South Gippsland Tourist Railway http://www.sgr.org.au (amended 27th September 2007)

This started to run trains on the Nyora - Leongatha line (originally the Great Southern Railway) in 1994. Its depot is at Nyora but the headquarters is at the heritage-listed station at Korumbarra, 1km from the Coal Creek Historical Village. From 1996-8 one of SteamRail's K class 2-8-0s was stationed here, but the railway is now isolated following closure of the Nyora - Cranbourne line and no steam has operated since then, just railcars. 

Victorian Goldfields Railway (formerly Castlemaine and Maldon Railway) http://www.vgr.com.au/ (updated 27th September 2007)

A society was formed in 1976 to operate the 5ft 3in (1600mm) gauge ex-VR line some 125km north-east of Melbourne and some 5km of the line at the Maldon end was opened in 1988, later extended to Muckleford (8km). It has now received a grant to complete restoration. Ex-VR K class 2-8-0 160 was the initial power, later joined by J class 2-8-0 549. Graeme Stanly adds: "The  Railway now operates right through from the mainline junction at Castlemaine to the terminus at Maldon." to which I can add that the 2007 ARHS Guide indicates that steam services have resumed.

Kevin Hoggett writes of his 2014 visit: "Steep line 1 in 40, oil fired J class 2-8-0 549 in steam, D3 4-6-0 from Steamrail also present and serviceable".

Walhalla Goldfields Railway http://www.walhallarail.com (updated 8th June 2010)

Part of the former Walhalla and Thomson River Tramway is intact at the Walhalla end - it was a former gold rush town. This 2ft 6in (762mm) gauge railway operated briefly in the 1970s and has been reconstructed between Happy Creek and Walhalla with the aid of Government grants. Apart from 'indigenous' locomotives, former Chonburi (Thailand) Sugar Factory 0-6-0T 103 is here and was working in 2001 and the ARHS 2007 guide states similarly. I hadn't realised how attractive a railway this was until I saw a series of pictures taken when Puffing Billy's NA 7A was brought here temporarily in May 2010 to masquerade as Walhalla's 9A. This one, I believe, was taken by Bob Wilson:

Wonthaggi Tourist Mine

Ex-VR K class 2-8-0 192 is to be cosmetically restored here.

Yarra Valley Railway http://www.yarravalleyrailway.org.au (updated 6th March 2009)

This railway was almost complete destroyed by the bush fires which struck the state in early 2009.

The society exists to restore and operate the Yarra Glen - Healesville portion of the former Vic Rail line as a Tourist railway. Operations are based at Healesville Railway Station, which is on the Historic Buildings Register. Although reduced from its original size, a 4-road railway yard remains, together with an engine shed/turntable road. Other intact infrastructure that exists at the Healesville Railway station includes a turntable that is still in full working and original condition, a 20,000 gallon water tower, and a typical VicRail goods shed. As well as a full set of Station buildings, stabled at the Healesville Railway Station Compound is the society's collection of locomotives and rolling stock, including to ex-VR J class 2-8-0s (under restoration) and two operational diesels as well as appropriate rolling stock.


West Australia

James Waite visited a number of preservation sites in September 2015 and you can read his report (21st November 2015).

ARHS Western Australia http://www.railheritagewa.org.au/ (amended 27th September 2007)

Bassendean Rail Transport Museum http://www.railheritagewa.org.au/ (amended 27th September 2007)

Formerly, the large amount of stock here belonged to Westrail but it has now been transferred to the ARHS who operate it. This is a few km east of Perth adjacent to the Midland Surburban line, Ashfield being the nearest station. This also serves as the ARHS base for tours on the WAGR lines.

Bennett Brook http://bennettbrookrailway.org (new address, 23rd November 2003)

This is a 2ft (610mm) gauge railway at Whiteman Park, Caversham, a northern suburb of Perth. Also home to the Perth Electric Tramway Society and the Bus Museum of WA. Among its attractions are Australia's only surviving Mallet (0-4-4-0T, OK 2609/1907 - under protracted overhaul) and two ex-South African NG15 2-8-2s. Operated by the WA Light Railway Preservation Society.

Boyanup Museum of Transport and Rural Industries (Boyanup Foundation)

This erected the old Bunbury Goods shed and part of the roundhouse at Boyanup. Subsequently, the society amalgamated with the local division of the ARHS and exhibits here and at Bassendean may be rotated, but the most recent report I have seen implies that the collection of locomotives may be (almost) entirely diesel. Closed for renovation in 2006 - check before visiting!

Carnarvon Light Railway Association

This group has restored part of the 3ft 6in (1067mm) gauge railway which linked Carnarvon (450km north of Geraldton) with its jetty on Babbage Island. They have the use of a small ex-PWD Barclay 0-4-0T, but the 2007 ARHS guide says it is merely a static exhibit..

Collie Mining Museum

This has a number of static steam locomotives exhibited.

Golden Mile Loopline Railway, Boulder

This tourist railway utilises the former WAGR suburban loopline that served the gold mines of Kalgoorlie and Boulder. G class 2-6-0 233 may have started operation here, otherwise services will probably be diesel.

Hotham Valley Tourist Railway http://www.hothamvalleyrailway.com.au/ (updated 22nd June 2006)

Formerly the Pinjarra Steam and Hills RPS, it has operated steam hauled trains between Pinjarra and Dwellingup (24km), some 90km south of Perth, for over 20 years, despite periodic financial problems. Primary power over the years has been ex-WAGR W class 4-8-2s (3ft 6in, 1067mm gauge). Beyond Dwellingup, the line to Etmilyn is operated as lightweight 'Forest Railway', with diesel or steam. The Railway also operated specials on the main line which may connect at Pinjarra, but Graeme Stanley adds: "The Hotham Valley Tourist Railway has announced that it will no longer be operating its trains on the main line and will concentrate its efforts on its own branch line."

Pemberton Tramway Company http://www.pemtram.com.au

The line from Pemberton to Lyall (21km) may see trains hauled by V class 2-8-2 1213 in the season (as long as there is no fire ban). 

Yarloops Historic Mill Workshops (added 27th September 2007)

Old Millars' timber railway shed and workshops excellently preserved with Yx 2-6-0 176 ex-Donnelly River Saw Mill, originally WAGR. It now boasts an operational replica of a Baldwin steam tram motor.


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Rob Dickinson

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