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Former Tasmanian Government Railways steam locomotive C22 and train, Tasmanian Transport Museum, 30 December 2015.

Launceston & Western Railway passenger carriage AB1, Tasmanian Transport Museum,  30 December 2015.

Tasmanian Transport Museum

David Matheson

 4 November 2023

The Tasmanian Transport Museum has a collection of steam and diesel locomotives, railcars, passenger and goods rolling stock, trams, buses and other historical items. Exhibits include former Tasmanian Government Railways steam locomotives, a Climax logging locomotive, and X1, the first mainline diesel locomotive to operate in Australia. Also at the site are the former Newtown railway station building and former Botanic Gardens signal box. The museum is open on weekends and some public holidays. Train rides operate twice each month, usually using a steam locomotive on the first Sunday and a rail motor on the third Sunday. The museum is located at Glenorchy, a northern suburb of Hobart.


Steam locomotive C22

The C Class 2-6-0 locomotives commenced service with Tasmanian Government Railways in 1885. Built by Beyer, Peacock & Company, a total of 28 entered service, making it Tasmania’s most numerous class of steam locomotive. Their light axle load enabled them to operate on light branch lines, and they were used on virtually all parts of the Tasmanian Government Railway network. Although primarily used in freight service, they were also used for hauling passenger and mixed trains. Locomotives built to the same design also operated with the South Australian Railways, the Silverton Tramway Company, the Western Australian Government Railways and the Commonwealth Railways. C22 was built in 1902 and was withdrawn from service in October 1960 after 882,188 miles (1,419,744 km) in service.


Steam locomotive Q5

Six members of the Q Class 4-82 heavy goods locomotives entered service in 1922 and 1923, and a further 13 in later years, bringing the total to 19. They were the heaviest locomotives in service in Tasmania at the time and their weight saw them restricted to the Main Line between Hobart and Launceston, and the Western Line to Devonport. Upgrading of lines enabled them to later operate on other lines. Their greater power enabled them to eliminate much of the double-heading required with smaller locomotives. The Q Class was considered the most reliable of the heavy goods locomotives to operate in Tasmania. Q5 entered service in February 1923 and was withdrawn from service in April 1962 after 955,876 miles (1,538,333 km) in service.


Steam locomotive H1

The H Class 4-8-2 locomotives entered service in November and December 1951. They were built by Vulcan Foundry in Lancashire, United Kingdom, and arrived in Hobart as deck cargo on the freighter Belpareil. Their introduction at the same time as the X Class mainline diesel locomotives were commencing service resulted in them having short working lives. Most of their work was hauling goods trains. They operated on the Main Line north of Parattah, the Western Line as far as Wynyard, and on the Fingal Line. Limited clearance in the Rhyndaston Tunnel meant that they were unable to work south of Parattah. H1 entered service in November 1951 and last ran in June 1962 after 153,428 miles (246,918 km) in service.


Steam locomotive M5

Ten members of the M Class 4-6-2 locomotives were built by Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns Ltd in Darlington, United Kingdom. All ten arrived in Hobart on 12 March 1952 on the ship Christen Smith, which was also carrying two of the new X Class mainline diesel locomotives. They were the last class of steam locomotives to be acquired by Tasmanian Government Railways. Considered medium steam engines they were able to operate on light branch lines as well as main lines. Most of their service was on passenger trains and mixed traffic, with limited work hauling goods trains. M5 entered service in May 1952 and had its last major run during regular service in March 1971. It was subsequently used for steam cleaning. In 1974 it was donated to the Tasmanian Transport Museum and returned to operational service for tourist trains in 1996.


Climax locomotive 1653

Climax geared steam locomotive No. 1653 was built in 1923. This locomotive was built by the Climax Manufacturing Company in Pennsylvania, United States of America, in 1923. It is a B-type Climax locomotive, which has two four-wheel bogies, one at each end. Each axle is driven by a system that includes bevel gears, tailshafts and universal joints connected to a transverse shaft. Inclined cylinders on each side of the locomotive power the shaft and contribute to its unusual appearance. The boiler, cab, water tank and firewood bunker are mounted on an underframe, which is supported by the bogies. No. 1653 was used in the timber industry around Simmsville in New South Wales before being sold to Australian Newsprint Limited in the Derwent Valley, arriving in Tasmania in 1942, and being used to haul log trains. Around 1949 it was abandoned and then eventually donated to the Tasmanian Transport Museum, arriving in Glenorchy in 1977.


Diesel-electric locomotive X1

On 13 September 1950 X1 and its sister X2 became the first mainline diesel locomotives to enter service in Australia. X1 was built by the Vulcan Foundry in Lancashire, England, shipped to Hobart, and then towed to Launceston to be prepared for service. Although there were some initial teething troubles and it took time for enginemen who were used to steam locomotives to become familiar with operating diesels, the X Class became very successful. They had the advantage of being able to operate in pairs with a single crew. Most of their service was on major lines because of their heavy 14.5-ton (14.7-tonne) axle load. X1 and X2 were extensively damaged in a major derailment in October 1951, but were repaired and returned to service. Eventually the X Class were superseded by more modern motive power and X1 was withdrawn from service in April 1985.


Diesel-electric locomotive Y4

Eight Y Class diesel locomotives were built by the Tasmanian Government Railways at Launceston Workshops from 1961 to 1971. They were manufactured using a design from English Electric, who supplied the major components. Although most of their work was hauling goods trains, they were also used on passenger trains, including the Tasman Limited between Hobart and Wynyard. Y4 entered service in October 1964. On 17 October 1978 it hauled the last passenger train to depart from Hobart station. It was withdrawn from service in November 1989 after it had developed traction motor problems, but was later returned to operating condition by the Tasmanian Transport Museum Society.


Steam railcar SP4

A total of nine steam railcars of different types were operated by the Tasmanian Government Railways. SP4 commenced service in 1934.


Railcar DP15

The Tasmanian Government Railways began operating railcars in 1912. As the railways continued to evolve, larger and more modern railcars were obtained. DP15 was built in 1939 and featured a 153 horsepower (114 kW) Gardner 6L3 engine. It has an aluminium body and was capable of operating as a single unit or in multiple units with other railcars. Driving controls at each end avoided the need for it to be turned.


Railcar DP26

Railcar DP26 was built in 1950 was similar mechanically to DP15. Although capable of working with the earlier DP railcars, it featured a different body style. The articulated DP railcars were used on the Tasman Limited between Hobart and Wynyard until replaced by a locomotive-hauled train in 1955. It was withdrawn from service following the cessation of regular passenger train operations in Tasmania in 1978.


Passenger carriage AB1

Passenger carriage AB1 was built in England for the Launceston and Western Railway Company in 1869. This company operated the first steam-powered railway in Tasmania, a broad gauge line between Launceston and Deloraine. The line was taken over by the Tasmanian Government in 1873 and converted to narrow gauge by 1888. AB1 was originally a four-wheel broad gauge vehicle but between 1886 and 1888 it was converted to narrow gauge and fitted with six wheels. It has four compartments and seated 36 passengers. In 1953 it was converted to a work vehicle, but was later restored to a passenger carriage.


Hobart tram No. 46

Most Australian tramway systems operated with single-deck vehicles, and although some double-deck cars operated in other locations, Hobart was the only Australian tramway system wh ere double-deck trams were standard vehicles. No. 46 entered service in 1922 as a single-truck double-deck tram. Around 1948 it was converted to a single-deck car. Although it was officially scrapped in 1954, it was actually sold for use as a shed. It was acquired by the Tasmanian transport Museum in 1973 and over many years it was restored to its original double-deck condition. No. 46 does not have an underframe and is not operational.


Hobart tram No. 141

Built in 1952 for the Hobart Municipal Tramways system, No. 141 was the second last tram to enter service in Hobart. It is a single deck bogie tram. The Hobart tramway system was closed in 1960, resulting in No. 141 having a short service life of eight years. It is in operational condition, but because there is no overhead wiring available at the Tasmanian Transport Museum, it remains as a display vehicle.



Australian Steam <>.

Dix, A, Locomotives of the Tasmanian Transport Museum, 2nd edn, Tasmanian Transport Museum, Hobart, 2007.

Oberg, L, Locomotives of Australia: 1854 to 2007, 5th edn, Rosenberg, Sydney, 2010.

Rail Tasmania <>.

Tasmanian Transport Museum <>.


Former Tasmanian Government Railways diesel locomotive X1, Tasmanian Transport Museum, 30 December 2015.

Former Hobart double deck tram No. 46, Tasmanian Transport Museum, 30 December 2015.


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