Memories of Locomotive No. 3144

Story & Pictures by James Whitfield


The New South Wales Government Railway (NSWGR) C-30 class (tank) steam locomotives were first introduced into revenue service from late 1903. These 4-6-4 wheel arrangement locomotives were built from 1903-1917 by Beyer Peacock & Co. (95) and the Eveleigh (Sydney) Railway Workshops (50). These versatile and reliable locomotives found use throughout the Sydney suburban area, some outlying suburbs, and Newcastle and Wollongong.

Following the electrification of the Sydney inner suburban lines from 1926, 77 of the 30 class 4-6-4 tank locomotives were converted to tender type becoming 4-6-0 wheel arrangements.

The first locomotive to be converted was No. 3088 which was delivered by Clyde Engineering on 22nd August 1928. This company delivered a total of 10 conversions, the remainder being carried out at the NSWGR Eveleigh Railway Workshops.

All were completed by1933.

On conversion, the suffix 'T' was added to their numbers, though the numbers were not altered on the locomotives.

Between September 1940 and April 1957, 28 were fitted with superheaters. This work included fitting new cylinders with piston valves and extended smokeboxes. Most of the 28 superheated C-30T engines received riveted-on 'drumhead' extensions to their smokeboxes. Some were given entirely new extended smokeboxes fully supported by their frames. Superheated locomotives had the further suffix 'S' added to their numbers.

The locomotives could be found working along almost every light branch line in New South Wales. In the last years of steam power, they could still be found working at depots throughout the state at locations including TemoraGriffithCowraDubbo, and Narrabri West.

The first of the class to be withdrawn in December 1958 was No. 3126T with the last being No. 3090TS which was withdrawn in August 1972.

On a personal note, I had an interest in locomotive No. 3144 for a number of years, having seen it working in various locations including Dubbo in black livery. On another visit I was surprised to find that the railway staff had repainted this little engine green in 1967.

This engine was built by the NSWGR and entered service as No. 1072 (Builders No. 141) on 18th December 1916. Later, with the renumbering of some classes, 1072 was renumbered as 3144, with the final number being C-3144TS. The locomotive was rebuilt in 1928 and subsequently superheated in 1942.

Above:No. 3144 is seen here at Dubbo Locomotive Depot in 1967.

•Above: C-30 Class Technical Specifications.

  •Above: C-30T Class Technical Specifications.

•Above: No. 3144 at Temora Locomotive Depot on 8th September 1970.

In 1970, while on holidays to the central west of NSW to see the first standard gauge steam-hauled passenger train, The Western Endeavour, returning from Perth to Sydney, I was again able to see 3144 in working order at Temora.

On 28th April 1972, 3144 was returned as ‘light engine’ (no load) to Enfield (Sydney) Locomotive Depot and subsequently withdrawn from service.

The total distance travelled for 3144 since first entering service in 1916 was 2,415,925 kilometres!

• Last Run’ 3144 passing through Tahmoor, NSW, on 28th April 1972.