The New South Wales Government over in Australia has secured Beyer-Garratt 6029 and will form part of the Transport Heritage NSW Fleet.
6029 was unveiled to members and volunteers by State Member for Wollondilly, Nathaniel Smith, and Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business, Lou Amato, who joined Transport Heritage NSW (THNSW) Chair, Rob Mason and CEO, Andrew Moritz, at the NSW Rail Museum
Nathaniel said that 6029 was a significant heritage asset in the feet and is being prepared for a return to service.
“This steam engine is an outstanding example of rail engineering of yesteryear and illustrates the fabulous work of THNSW volunteers and previous owners over the years to maintain it as a reliable, working asset,” Mr Smith said.
“The Beyer-Garratt 6029 entered service in 1954 and was a reliable work horse of the fleet in NSW travelling more than one million kilometres before it was removed from regular service in 1972.
“This type of dedication and enthusiasm to restore and maintain pieces like the Beyer-Garratt 6029 ensures they remain a part of our moving history which rail heritage enthusiasts can enjoy for decades to come,” Mr Smith said.
6029 will return to the mainline with a special weekend of train rides in Bathurst from the 11th until the 13th June 2022. Tickets are available now from Transport NSW’s website.
6029 was built in Manchester and imported to NSW for hauling coal. The locomotive class did not enter service until 1952 with a second batch joining the original order of 25. The second batch was part cancelled due to the introduction of 40 diesel locomotives. This resulted in 42 Garratts in service and 5 locomotives worth of spare parts. Despite the prior cancellation, there were 60 Garratts still in service even after the 40 diesel locomotives had been retired from traffic.
Due to their length and lack of turntables, the Garratt locomotives often ran in reverse, with a number of them running with a second set of controls from 1958. You can tell which locos are fitted with this by the DC denoted on the buffer beam.
6029 entered service in 1954 (receiving its dual control system in 1959) but was withdrawn in 1972. It returned to steam in 2014 thanks to the work of the Australian Railway Historical Society (ACT Division).
Mr Moritz said the acquisition of this steam engine was important to THNSW, as it not only complemented and provided operational back up to the historical and much loved Locomotive 3801, but was popular with the public and THNSW members.
“Not long after it was first retired from service, the steam engine was gifted to the Australian Railway Historical Society (ARHS) ACT Division and moved to the Canberra Railway Museum,” Mr Moritz said.
“Between 2007 and 2015 ARHS ACT volunteers spent hundreds of hours to restore the engine and as a result, 6029 was returned to operation.
“In 2017 the locomotive was saved by a private syndicate of rail fans who purchased 6029 and relocated it to the NSW Rail Museum, in Thirlmere, where THNSW has operated the engine under agreement with the previous owners ever since,” he said.
Mr Amato said it was fabulous to see the 68 year old heritage steam engine being returned to the people of NSW as a tourist attraction and showcased at major historical rail events.
“THNSW has the knowledge and skills to maintain the locomotive for generations to come, this is a wonderful gift to all rail enthusiasts,” Mr Amato said.