Our Steam Fleet

520 Class Locomotive No. 520 “Sir Malcolm Barclay-Harvey”

The 520 class was designed during World War II by F.H.Harrison, who was the Chief Mechanical Engineer of the South Australian Railways from 1939 to 1952. New engines were urgently required because of the large increase in traffic caused by the war. As these engines were designed to operate on nearly all lines, from the heavy mainlines to the lighter branches the axle load had to be limited to 16 ton. Unique features of these engines is their streamlined appearance. fully enclosed cab and the use of roller bearings on all axles. The first engine, 520, entered service with the S.A.R. on 10 November, 1943 on the Port Pirie line achieving a maximum speed of 78 mph between Red Hill and Port Pirie. 520 was named Sir Malcolm Barclay-Harvey after the Governor of S.A. at the time. A total of 12 engines were built between 1943 and 1947, the later nine having a more streamlined front end than their earlier sisters. They were built as fully coal burners, but later converted to burn a mixture of coal and oil. 520 has since been converted back to a full coal burner.

The 520s were a very successful engine, so much so that they were the last of the “big” steam engines to remain in service when dieselisation came. They were allowed to operate over all the broad gauge lines in the State with the exception of the Riverton-Spalding. Bumbunga-Lochiel, Sandergrove-Milang, Monarto South-Sedan, Karoonda-Waikerie, Karoonda-Peebinga, Wanbi-Yinkannie, Renmark-Barmera and Alawoona-Loxton. All of the lines listed above were laid with either 50 or 40 lb rails. The most common use of these engines was on the Port Pine line passenger trains. They also saw service on trains to Terowie, Tailem Bend and Pinnaroo and after the widening of the gauge from Wolseley to the South East ran to Mount Gambier. The loco was permitted a maximum passenger load of 270 tons from Adelaide to Victor Harbor, although in latter years an arbitrary limit of 240 tons has been placed on it.

The first 520 to be condemned was in 1961. 520 was condemned on 21 August 1969 and reinstated on 1 May 1970 and stored at the Mile End Railway Museum until Sept.70. In 1971-72 $20,000 was raised to allow the engine to be returned to running service at the Islington Workshops and on 16 May 1972 it worked its “first trip” to Sandy Creek. Since that time considerable expense has been incurred on other major work all of which is now carried out by SteamRanger at the Dry Creek Depot.

SteamRanger is now responsible for the maintenance of this and all other engines and rollingstock under its control. In 1975, 520 was repainted from its black and silver colour scheme to the present green and gold (its initial colour scheme). It’s first trip in the new colour scheme was to Nuriootpa on Saturday 3rd May 75.

520’s tender was routinely drained and inspected in December 1998 after the normal running season. This confirmed previous evidence of corrosion and wastage of the underframe, where the tender had been extended down to increase water carrying capacity. Calculations based on the static and dynamic loads on the underframe indicated that the tender frame had reached its design life, having been subjected to over 55 years of ongoing corrosion and to rectify this will require substantial strengthening and long term anti-corrosion coating.

Mechanically, the loco was in good condition, but the boiler and smokebox also needed attention. In 1994 the loco was converted back to a coal fired boiler by superficially covering over the oil burning apertures in the boiler backplate. This approach is not now acceptable to our boiler inspectors and initial work involving stripping fittings in the cab was commenced prior to discovering the tender corrosion problems, but has not been further progressed. A full rebuild is required to address wasting of material in the smokebox. This will require reproducing a complicated smokebox profile.

The unfortunate outcome of these inspections was that 520 would require over $300,000 of work to put it back in reliable condition, which could not be justified at the time due to the very minimal use the loco would have now that the need for a high power loco to bring trains up the ranges from Adelaide had vanished due to standardisation of the main interstate track and SteamRanger was now only running from Mt Barker to the south coast. The loco was therefore placed in long term storage at Mt Barker whilst our limited resources were dedicated to maintaining our operationally more flexible 621 and Rx class locos.

Thankfully, in 2014, former ARHS tours director Mr Dean Harvey, made a considerable donation toward the required restoration work, and SteamRanger began looking for private and corporate sponsorship/donations to see this project through to completion.

This project is now underway, with 520’s tender being sent for major rebuild through a private contractor on Friday 17th October 2014.

620 Class Locomotive No. 621 “Duke of Edinburgh”

The broad gauge “East West” connection between Adelaide and Port Pine was completed in 1937, connecting with the Commonwealth Railways standard gauge line to Port Augusta and Kalgoorlie, by-passing the long route through Riverton, Peterborough and Quorn. The S.A.R. wanted a fast passenger locomotive to haul the Express and a design for a Pacific type (4-6-2 wheel arrangement) by Mr.P.J.Shea Chief Mechanical Engineer of S.A.R. was selected. A total of 10 engines were built, the first 620 being completed in 1936, the centenary year of the state. 620, and a series of “centenary” cars were used to run the Centenary Limited around many of the broad gauge lines of the State. Engine 621 was also used to haul the train.

One of the unique features of this class of engine is the use of Bakers Valve Gear in lieu of the more common Walschaerts valve gear. The second engine, 621, was issued to traffic on 7 Sept.1936 and the last, 629, on 22 March 1938. These engines could run over the same tracks as the 520 class and were used mainly for passenger work. They ran the Port Pine line at an average speed of 50 mph. in 1943 the more powerful 520 class took over the Port Pirie line working and the 620’s became the workhorses on the Willunga, Bridgewater and Tailem Bend passenger trains. They were also used to haul Limited Mixed trains to Pinnaroo and Renmark., (A limited mixed is a passenger train with goods loading attached, the maximum load of the train being less than that of a goods load and shunting enroute being restricted to the major locations.)

The onset of Bluebird railcars in the 1950s saw the demise of the 620s and by 1969 all but 621 and 624 (in the Port Dock Museum) had been scrapped. It is interesting to note that a spate of railcar failures in 1954-5 saw the 620’s back on the Port Pine line working to fill the shortage of railcars.

621 was condemned and stored on 21 August, 1969 after running 672,814 miles. The Society raised $10,000 in 1970 to enable the lslington Workshops to return the engine to operational condition. The engine was named “Duke of Edinburgh” by the Governor of S.A. on 6 April, 1971 and returned to service in Easter of that year.

It ran tourist trains for the Society to a wide range of locations throughout SA during the 1970s until 1978 when boiler problems rendered it unserviceable and it was stored at Dry Creek Depot with minimal work being carried out until the coming of the VHTR in 1986.

Following a significant restoration by ARHS volunteers during the mid 1980s it returned to Service to assist 520 on the first train back to Victor Harbor on 18 October 1986. It later headed a Vice-regal train to Victor and a special excursion to Victoria in May 1994 just before the interstate line was converted to standard gauge.

In 1994 the loco was withdrawn from service due to an irreparably cracked header. The 600kg cast iron steam header is one of the locomotive’s larger steam handling components. This unfortunately meant that the only way to get the loco back on the rails this time was to recast the header from scratch! The then estimated cost of $30,000 to do this was well beyond SteamRanger’s resources so the loco languished at the back of Steam Ranger’s Mt Barker depot from 1994 to 2000 until SteamRanger volunteer Mark Batten secured valuable sponsorship which allowed for a new header to be manufactured. Mitsubishi Motors at Lonsdale agreed to undertake the fabrication of the very complex pattern (shown at the right)which was used to form a sand mould for the pouring a new casting.The pattern was cunningly made from cheap and easy to shape polystyrene material. The numerous parts of the pattern were then used by the McKechnie Iron Foundry to build the sand mould using core boxes and steel rods to form the many intricate internal passages.

621 then returned to regular ARHS service in 2000, hauling the majority of train up and over the ranges from Mt Barker to Strathalbyn and Victor Harbor and its share of busy holiday Cockle Trains from Goolwa.

The loco was most recently withdrawn from regular service in late 2008 when it was found that the boiler again needed significant repairs. Boiler tubes were sourced from Germany and after machining in the UK the tubes were shipped to Australia and refitted to the loco in early 2011. Other important repairs were made to the firebox, tender and motion; the overall cost being around $150,000 funded to a significant extent by a donation from an anonymous supporter.

The loco returned to service between Mt Barker, Strathalbyn and Victor Harbor in August 2011

This engine is permitted a load of 200 ton between Mt Barker and Victor Harbor.

Rx Class Locomotives No. 207 “Dean Harvey” & No. 224

Rx 207 was built by the North British Locomotive Co. and entered traffic on 5 December, 1913, whilst Rx 224 was built by Walkers Ltd. Maryborough Queensland and entered service on 27 April, 1915. Rx 207 was superheated in September, 1926. Superheating means that the steam from the boiler passes through a number of tubes or elements placed inside the boiler flues to further raise the steam temperature and dry it out making the engine more efficient. All modern steam engines were superheated.

Some of the Rx class were initially built as R class and later converted to Rx class by fitting an extension to the smoke box and increasing boiler pressure. A total of 30 R and 54 Rx class engines (84 altogether) were built for the SAR. Prior to 1926 they were the most powerful engine on the broad gauge lines of the SAR. Up to three Rx class were used to haul the Overland over the Mt.Lofty Ranges – 2 pulling and 1 pushing. In 1926 the much larger 500 class engines took over with one engine doing the work of 2 or 3 Rx class. The Rx class then became used for secondary duties on branch lines and as shunt engines at most broad gauge depots in the state. The Rx class were permitted on every broad gauge line in the state and even in 1965 were still working trains to Peebinga as the 830 class diesels were too heavy for that line.

An Rx class engine became the last steam engine on the broad gauge to be rostered for regular use on the SAR when an Rx class was rostered for shunt duties at Tailem Bend.

Prior to the introduction of the Red Hen railcars, Rx class engines were extensively used on passenger trains in the metropolitan area, mainly on the North and South lines. Superheated engines were usually rostered for hills line work and Rx 207 was for many years a Bridgewater engine. Double heading of steam locos on the broad gauge came to an end with the introduction of the large power steam locos in 1926, however the Society has on occasions teamed up 207 and 224 to run a double header passenger train.

Rx class engines are limited to a maximum speed of 45 mph, however it was not uncommon for them to be rostered to work 60 mph trains and maintain the schedule. An Rx class is limited to 145 tons from Mt Barker to Victor Harbor, whilst on the “Cockle Train” the load limit is 200 tons.

Rx207 took up active SteamRanger service in December 2000 and was named “Dean Harvey” in recognition of the commitment of Dean at SteamRanger Director through the 1970s and 80s, leading to the retention of the Victor Harbor line for tourist railway services.

Unfortunately, it needed to be withdrawn from service in 2007 to have major mechanical restoration work undertaken by SteamRanger staff, volunteers and contractors , including overseas purchase and replacement of worn tyres.

It returned to service in March 2011, but was again withdrawn in early 2013 when the need for further significant maintenance work was identified, particularly in regard to the firebox which eventually required the renewal of a significant proportion of the lower firebox sections. Additionally the axlebox bearings of the six driving wheels needed to be completely renewed by casting and machining new components. Most of this above work was carried out in SteamRanger’s workshops by employees Shaun Cassidy and Oliver Lukins with tremendous support from a number of busy volunteers.

Finally, the loco was again returned to active service in November 2015 in time to celebrate the loco’s centenary and is now again powering Cockle Trains and other lighter trains on a regular basis

Rx224 is actively undergoing major maintenance at Mt Barker Depot following a serious mechanical failure several years ago and could well return to active service in the near future.

As of 2021 Rx224 is now an operating steam locomotive in the SteamRanger fleet after being out of actions for 31 years.

F Class Locomotive No. 251

A total of 44 F class engines were built for the SAR. They were primarily used for working the suburban lines to Semaphore, Outer Harbor, Henley Beach, Belair and Marino prior to the introduction of the Red Hen Railcars in 1955-56. On occasions an F class was used to Hamley Bridge and when the Port Pirie line was opened only as far as Long Plains they also worked services on that line. In later days the F class were used as shunt engines in both Adelaide yard and lslington workshops, these later duties being taken over by the 350 and later 500 class diesel shunt locos.

These locos were capable of a fine turn of speed especially when rostered to work the “Alberton Flyer” each night where they operated express from Adelaide to Alberton attaining a speed of 60 mph.

F 251 was built by Perry Engineering and entered traffic on 7 June 1922. After a long working life it was preserved at the Elizabeth West shopping centre in 1963, then transferred to SteamRanger Dry Creek on 2 September 1981. It was restored to operating condition by SteamRanger and re-entered service in July 1995, initially working services to Belair, Gawler and Noarlunga Centre from Adelaide before being transferred to Goolwa for the commencement of the 1995 Cockle Train summer service.

The loco had a busy couple of years down south whilst both Rx207 and Rx224 were being refurbished and the larger 621 and 520 were facing major mechanical problems. However it had a limited capability for hauling well patronised trains and when it became obvious that significant mechanical upgrading would be required and other locos became available it was withdrawn from service in the late 1990s and placed in storage at the ARHS Mt Barker Depot. It is unlikely to be running in the near future.

Our Diesel Fleet

930 Class Locomotives No. 958 & 963

The 930 class diesels were built to replace the medium weight steam locos and as such had an axle load which permitted them to operate on the 60 lb rails of the “western system” to Wallaroo and Gladstone. In service they handled the main south line trains and many Port Pirie and Peterborough line services in preference to the older and heavier 900 class locos.

With the advent of standardisation of the Crystal Brook to Adelaide line some were transferred to the standard gauge and as such worked to Broken Hill and Port Augusta.

For many years these engines also worked the Overland express from Adelaide to Serviceton and with the advent of through working of locos to Victoria some were also to be seen in that State, even working local passenger services to Geelong whilst waiting to return back to Adelaide.

958 was built as a broad gauge loco and entered service on 5 May 1955. It was converted to standard gauge but was re-converted to broad gauge when purchased by SteamRanger from AN.

This engine has served as “back up to the big powered steam engines in addition to working services during fire ban periods. Engine 958 also worked all the transfer trains from Dry Creek when SteamRanger has to move to Mt. Barker.

830 Class Locomotives No. 844 & 845

SteamRanger Heritage Railway is pleased to announce that after several years of negotiations, operational broad gauge locomotive 844, will join our fleet, following its donation by OneRail Australia (formerly Genesee & Wyoming Australia).

Locomotive 844 was built by AE Goodwin and Co, and their Granville, NSW workshops, and entered service with the South Australian Railways on the 25th October 1962, servicing on both broad and standard gauge’s, before being placed into storage at Dry Creek, following the cessation of stone train operations between Penrice and Osborne.

Locomotive 844 will join sister unit 845, which is currently under restoration at SteamRanger’s Mount Barker Depot, in providing a strategic backup to our fleet of operational steam locomotives.

The locomotive is expected to be moved by road from Dry Creek to Mt Barker in the coming months, where it will receive a cosmetic overhaul to its original livery, and undergo the appropriate accreditation for operation on our Cockle Train service.

We thank OneRail Australia for their generous support.

845 was built for the South Australian Railways by A.E. Goodwin & Co. in Sydney in 1963. Originally a broad gauge loco, it became a captive unit at Tailem Bend, working the yet to be gauge-converted line’s to Pinnaroo and Loxton during the mid 90’s, before eventually being sold to ATN Access, and placed onto Standard gauge.
The unit then worked in Victoria and New South Wales, before being absorbed into the Pacific National fleet and stored at Dynon in Melbourne.
The loco was subsequently donated to SteamRanger by Pacific National, and transferred initially to Dimboola and then onto Tailem Bend by SteamRail Victoria.
The engine was subsequently stored at Tailem Bend, until a pair of broad gauge bogies could be sourced. With bogies now in hand (with thanks to Genesee Wyoming Australia), the loco was finally delivered today from Tailem Bend.
Well done to our team of volunteers, who have worked hard behind the scenes to get the loco to Mt Barker.
Once restored, 845 will be a very useful asset working heavier Cockle Train services, and sharing duties with larger cousin 958 when required out of Mt Barker.
Now the long road toward reactivation begins.
844 has officially entered service as of 2023!

700 Class Locomotive No. 704

Ex South Australian Railways 700 Class Diesel Electric Locomotive No. 704 has been acquired by SteamRanger. 704 entered service with the S.A.R in 1972 and was built by A.E. Goodwin in New South Wales, during its life it ran on both Broad & Standard Gauge. 704 will eventually be a key part of our heritage fleet hauling passengers along our line from Mount Barker to Victor Harbour. 

500 Class Locomotive No. 507

The 500 class diesel locos were built by the SAR at lslington primarily to replace the Rx class engines on shunt duties at the major broad gauge yards in the state. The first 500, engine 500 entered traffic in 1964 whilst engine 507 was introduced to traffic on 6 April 1965.

With the standardisation of the Broken Hill – Port Pine line additional 500 class engines were built to the standard gauge for use at Port Pine, Gladstone and Peterborough.

With the advent of longer and heavier trains they have become unable to perform duties in the major marshalling yards with their duties being taken over by the more powerful 830 classes locos.

Engine 507 was purchased from AN by SteamRanger in 1991 and is used both as a depot shunter at Goolwa as well as working the Cockle Train when if is not economically viable to do so with steam.

350 Class Locomotive No. 350

Only two 350 class engines were built at the lslington Railway Workshops with 350 entering service on 7 June, 1949 and 351 on 21 June, 1949. They were the first diesels to be built by a rail system in Australia. For a period of time during the coal strike they were used on passenger trains in the suburban area, however they have a low maximum speed and at the conclusion of the strike were put to use on shunting duties.

They worked for a period at Mile End. 351 was stationed at Mt. Gambier for some time. Eventually both engines became the Adelaide yard shunters and then finally the workshop shunters at lslington. Whilst these engines have been mainly limited to yard shunting duties during their careers they were also used by SteamRanger to work the odd mainline train to Gawler and Penfield.

Engine 351 was sold by AN to a preservation group at Moonta, however that venture never came to fruition and the engine was purchased by the A.R.H.S. for $2000 and returned to Dry Creek where it was restored to operational condition. With the advent of the VHTR and holiday Cockle Train running it was based at Goolwa Depot, however due to mechanical problems has now been placed on permanent loan to Port Dock Museum.

Engine 350 was purchased by SteamRanger from A.N. and is now used as a depot shunt loco. It has a limited hauling capacity and on the Victor Harbor – Strathalbyn section is limited to 150 ton. It was used to haul passenger cars on a little used siding at Penfield during the filming of “Robbery Under Arms”.

Our Railcar Fleet

75 Class Brill Railcars No. 43 & No. 60

In 1926, following arrival of Commissioner W.A. Webb from the US, the SAR introduced railcars modelled on the US designed “Brill” cars for use on less busy country and some suburban lines. They were known locally as “Barwell Bulls” after the then Premier (Sir Henry Barwell) and the strident air horn note. Car 60 was rebuilt by SteamRanger volunteers from condemned trailer car 207 by installing a diesel power unit in what was originally the baggage compartment.

The first car for the SAR was built in J.G. Brill’s works in the US and entered service in South Australia in August 1926. All the remaining cars were built at the SAR’s Islington workshops. By 1930 some 50 broad gauge cars and trailers, and 12 narrow gauge cars and trailers had been supplied. The introduction of these cars resulted in a significant reduction in the use of steam locomotives on country passenger services in accordance with Webb’s moves for increased productivity. The cars were classified as “75 class” railcars. A smaller car termed the “55 class” had been built earlier.

Originally overall brown, the paint scheme became green and cream by 1936, with the distinctive illuminated “Day-Glo” safety stripes below the end windows fitted to many cars from 1957. The original motive power was a “Winton” petrol engine, with “GardNer” and “Cummins” diesels being retrofitted to various cars from 1937 onwards. At the same time, remote control facilities were introduced to allow four-car sets (2 trailers) to be coupled together. A major improvement in passenger comfort on longer journeys came with the fitting of new back-to-back compartment style seating to some cars between 1938 and 1940. This was colloquially known as “milk bar” seating

The first retirements coincided with the arrival of the modern “Bluebird” railcars on country lines in 1954 and the suburban “Red Hen” cars in 1955 By 1969 the era of the 75 class had effectively come to an end, with only occasional trips run on the Tailem Bend and Victor Harbor lines and a car continuing to provide the local service between Strathalbyn and Milang until that line closed 1970. The last revenue trip was to Victor Harbor in October 1971.

AN converted many of the cars to camp cars in the early 70s. When these became redundant in the late 80s SteamRanger acquired two of the converted trailer cars, 207 and 211. A small group of Goolwa based volunteers coordinated by Phil Neville then commenced the daunting task of recreating a representative power car from trailer 207. A diesel engine was installed in the baggage compartment and the bodywork, windows, and seating replaced or extensively refurbished. The body frame was strengthened and electrical and control systems upgraded.

After thousands of hours of voluntary effort the car emerged in early 2001 as Car 60 and provides an interesting historic attraction on selected services between Strathalbyn, Goolwa and Victor Harbor.

In addition to Brill Car 60 the railway has been fortunate in having received in 2008 a donation of a genuine Brill power car – as opposed to Car 60 (above) which SHR had converted from a trailer car.

No. 43 was one of the original order for Islington-built Brill Railcars and entered service on 26th March 1928. It retained its maximum-capacity seating, and during its life was converted to multiple-unit operation, as one of the so-called “Glamour Cars”. These cars were distinctive with their radiators mounted on the roof. The car worked the last passenger service out of Moonta on 26th April 1969 and was condemned just two months later. It was eventually converted to Permanent Way Sleeper, PWS 28 in April 1973. Despite this conversion it retained the power transmission bogie, and all of the strength of a power car’s frame. In 1988 PWS 28 was the last of the former Brill power cars to be disposed of by AN.

The car was purchased by long-time ARHS member John Wilson who, with a small number of Clare Valley enthusiasts, was hoping to retain the Clare branch line as a tourist railway. John installed Car 43 on a short length of track at his vineyard, with the back-up plan that if the Clare Valley tourist railway did not eventuate, he would use the car as a vineyard restaurant. At the time a roof was built over the car as shown in the adjacent photo and over the years some initial restoration work has been undertaken. In 1989, however, following an earlier bush fire the rails of the Clare branch line were lifted so ending the dream of a tourist railway there.

SHR Mechanical Services team members examined the car which appears to be in relatively good condition, complete with running gear such as brakes, bogies and good quality tyres. It is believed the car had a transmission overhaul not long before being taken out of service. Following more formal discussions with Dr Wilson an arrangement has been negotiated in that the Wilson Vineyard has donated the car to the SHR and relocated it to Goolwa Depot without cost to the Society.

On February 27th 2016 an inaugural meeting of a Brill 43 Restoration Team was held at the Goolwa depot. Those present were Rowena Lewis, Richard Parkinson, Mark Batten, Peter Schneider, Ray Green, Alan Potter, Chris Thompson and Phil Neville. The meeting was convened by Rowena who, along with others, was concerned that the Brill 43 restoration had stalled and was keen to get things going again but this time on a more formal basis. She had called together all those who had an interest in the restoration. She had applied for, and was granted, a $1,400 grant from the State Government Office for Volunteers for the purchase of personal protective equipment for use by those engaged in the restoration. The meeting was called to discuss the way forward. The Manager, Mechanical Services, Craig Dunstan, has produced a document outlining the requirements from his point of view, both practical and financial.

The meeting agreed that a project manager was required to co-ordinate all work on the restoration. Given Phil Neville’s extensive experience with RC60’s restoration and on-going maintenance, it was appropriate that he be appointed Project Manager. It was agreed that additional help would be seconded as required, including the possible employment of “Work-for-the-Dole” people. Work would commence once the Brill was returned to the shed and it was suggested that work be carried out on a Friday and/or Saturday once a month. Depot workers with welding skills, for example, will be asked to assist.

Further fundraising and volunteer effort will be necessary to restore it to service later in this decade.

300 & 400 Class Redhen Railcars No. 334, 364, 405, 412, 424 & 428

SteamRanger has purchased and restored examples of the unique South Australian railcar fleet that provided the core of the suburban passenger service throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s Running of these cars complements the steam hauled trains operated by the Society.

The first railcars used the South Australian Railways were introduced in 1924 when Commissioner Webb introduced the class 55 and 75 “Brill” cars to take over selected suburban services from steam loco hauled trains. Although using railcars greatly simplified the shunting required at the dead-end Adelaide station, the Brills were not capable of handling heavy peak loads and many were mainly used on country services.

In 1952 an enquiry recommended that the suburban services be upgraded to operate with electrified cars at a cost of £4.5M, but this was not accepted by the Government which chose to build diesel powered railcars with conversion of existing non powered passenger cars to form matching intermediate trailers. The cars were to be constructed at the SAR workshops at Islington with the engines and transmissions purchased under contract.

The new cars worked on all suburban services operated by the SAR and were transferred to the State Transport Authority on the demise of the SAR on 1 March 1978.

All the cars originally had silver roofs, which were later painted black, but the final paint scheme was an overall “Regal Red” color, leading to their common name of “Red Hens”, contrasting with the later country railcars which were given the name “Blue Birds”

In service with SteamRanger, the cars are used to operate the off-peak Goolwa to Victor Harbor “Cockle Train” service outside the busy school holiday periods and when firebans prevent use of steam. They also operate scheduled services from Mount Barker to Strathalbyn and to Mount Barker Junction. They are a popular car for groups to charter, since the minimum viable number of passengers is low and they can run to locations without loco run around sidings. One, two or three car sets can be assembled.

Use of these cars allows us to operate services during the winter when steam services from Mt Barker are no longer viable as well as running to varied destination on the line all year round and providing further support for our off peak Cockle Train services.

300 class powercars – The first car, numbered 300, entered service in October 1955. The initial batch of cars only had a driving station at one end and were “’matched up” with a centre trailer car to become “car-trailer-car” units capable of being coupled into six car sets (on some occasions up to a nine car unit). Car 334, one of the ex Limestone Coast cars (see below) was selected as the vehicle that could be put into SHR service within the shortest amount of time – mainly it has the least amount of mechanical issues to attend to. The car was delivered by truck to Strathalbyn in mid August 2012 then moved to our depot at Mt Barker where it was extensivel reconditioned before being returned to service in December 2014 on the summer Cockle Trains .

400 class powercar – To cater for the lightly patronised off peak services a “double ended’ car was designed and entered service as car 400 in 1959. SteamRanger’s car 412 entered service on 5th December 1960 It was donated to SteamRanger in 1994 and worked the last passenger train from Adelaide over the broad gauge to Victor Harbor in March 1995. Car 428 was built in 1968 as part of a later batch which saw the final demise of the Brills. It was purchased by a number of volunteers in 1997 and donated to SteamRanger. It has subsequently been refurbished. Car 424 one of the Limestone Coast cars (see below) is currently being restored at Mt Barker and will be the next car to return to service

800 class trailer – SteamRanger’s trailer car 824 began life as steam era end-loading baggage car 329 in December 1912 and was converted to a Red Hen trailer in 1961. It is at present being used with one or both of our 400 class powercars.

Cars acquired from Limestone Coast
In order to increase the number of RedHen cars available SteamRanger purchased cars 405, 424, 334 and 820 from the now closed Limestone Coast Railway

Unfortunately the cars suffered from significant vandalism whilst stored at Mt Gambier. Railcars had all windows smashed out. Whilst this is frustrating and will cause delays, it is repairable but does come at some cost. It will therefore be some time before cars 405 and 424 are returned to active SHR service.

Trailer car 820 was virtually totally destroyed in a vandalism fire attack on the Mt Gambier Roundhouse on the 19th October 2014 and is now effectively written off.

2000 & 2100 Class Jumbo Railcars No. 2010 & 2109

SteamRanger recently took delivery of a 2000 class railcar power car and a 2100 series trailer. These were delivered by low loader which took a rather devious route from the STA depot via Roseworthy, Truro, Mannum and Strathalbyn (due to road clearances) and are now securely stabled at Goolwa Depot.

The raicars were donated by the State government, following general scrapping of the class consequent on electrification of several Adelaide commuter lines. Two of the final group of STA’s cars , each of which can carry 100 or so passengers) was donated to SteamRanger (cars 2109 and 2010), the National Railway Museum at Port Adelaide and one to the SA Metro Fire Service (for training purposes) The cars entered service in 1980 and 1981 and had accumulated some 34years of commuter service

SHR Mechanical Services manager, Craig Dunstan, and his team have begun inspection of the cars and driver training will be undertaken in forthcoming months, with no immediate timetable to introduce the fully air-conditioned cars into passenger traffic – but “watch these pages!” .