The ROD 2-8-0s were true British steam engines. Built by the North British Locomotive company near the end of World War I. Most of the first batch were sent to France for war service.
The LNER ended up with most of the class and they lasted until 1966 in England.
ROD in action on the LNER Courtesy of LNER Enclyclopedia
J & A Brown used English locos in the form of Kitson Saddle Tanks to run their Richmond Vale Railway. Built in 1870, they lasted nearly 100 years of active service. How many diesels last that long?
Kitson no 3 in service at Hexham in 1966. This loco is now stored at Dorrigo and number 4 is in a museum in Newcastle.
In its heyday it was quite a railway with two fabulous wooden trestles on Wallace Creek. I was fortunate enough to travel the length of the line on the day I took the above photo. The consist was non-air 4 wheel hoppers with a small 4 wheel brake van at the rear.
It was a school excursion set up by our school railway club. Looking back, I am so glad this happened.
The line was 26 kms long between Hexham and Pellaw Main with a short walk from there to the SMR station at Weston.
ROD at Hexham preparing to work the train to Pellaw Main 1966
When you look at the Hexham engines, they are original, untouched versions that ran for many years. I always felt a trip there was like going to England, except for the Mozzies, we nick named the Hexham Greys because they were huge and hungry!
They operated until 1973, so just outlasted government steam operations.
ROD no 20 in the 1970s at Stockrington.
ROD near the Hexham swamp where the mozzies rule!
To complete the picture of this railway line, I have added a photo of Kitson tank number 9. There were 3 of these acquired for the railway.
We hope you enjoy these photos from the very last regular steam line in NSW.
Below is a video from Belpinvideo