G42’s drain cocks are open, as it prepares to leave Belgrave with the 12.30pm Luncheon Special on 10 July 2004. (Colin MacKay)
returned to Newport Workshops, where it was stored and faced an uncertain future. On 28 July 1962 the Puffing Billy Preservation Society reopened the Belgrave to Menzies Creek section of the Upper Ferntree Gully – Gembrook narrow gauge railway. The Society was collecting as much rolling stock as possible from all Victorian Railways narrow gauge lines. G42 was purchased in 1964 and put on static display in its steam museum at MenziesCreek. By the mid-1970s plans were initiated to restore the Garratt to working order for operation on the Puffing Billy line. Feasibility studies were conducted on the locomotive and a long-term restoration programme planned. The work commenced in 1986 with a Commonwealth Employment Project Grant supplying labour to the Society. The locomotive was dismantled, various parts cleaned and painted, and eventually all wheels re-tyred. The centre frame – the section supporting the boiler – was restored along with two engine units, which were rebuilt ready for assembly. Through the generosity of a Society member, steel was supplied to the workshops so that new tanks and a coal bunker could be constructed. While in Victorian Railways service, G42 was worked hard and received little main
tenance. In 1994 an examination of the main frames showed them to be cracked and in a poor state, so it was decided to manufacture a new pair. With support from Australian shipbuilder Transfield Amecon, the new frames were cut to shape. The Society then commenced the long and arduous task of machining them but by 1995 this part of the restoration was completed. In September 1996 the engine units were ready to be re-wheeled. The cylinders, valve gear and pivot units were in place and the tanks and bunker were prepared for fitting. The pony trucks, driving and coupled wheels sets were installed and in March 1997the tanks and bunker were fitted. When the locomotive was purchased in 1964 its boiler had been stripped and all the brass boiler tubes and the copper firebox had been removed. In 1968 the Australian Portland Cement Company’s railway at Fyansford had recently closed and the company donated a spare Garratt boiler and a new steel firebox that formed the basis for the G42’s new boiler. A Melbourne company carried out various modifications with the remainder of the work being undertaken in the Society’s workshops at Belgrave. On 2 September 2003 the first fire was lit in the firebox of the restored boil
G42 – vital statistics
Bore x Stroke
Wheel diameters Leading
2 x 2
131⁄2in x 18in
Rigid wheelbase *
Total length overall
Total weight 70 tons 3 cwt Adhesive weight 56 tons 5 cwt Maximum axle load 9 tons 5 cwt Tractive effort § 26,860 lbs Boiler pressure 180 psi Total heating surface 1,236 sq ft Grate area 22.6 sq ft Water tanks capacity 1,680 gallons Coal bunker capacity 31⁄2 tons
* Each engine unit § 85% boiler pressure
er. This was purely a working test, which raised the pressure to 120 psi. The next day the boiler was steamed to full working pressure and the safety valves were set. For the first time since its restoration, G42 moved under its own steam in Belgrave yard on 10 March 2004. On 16 March the locomotive ran on the main line to Emerald for tests. In late March it made three further trips, one to Emerald and two to Gembrook, followed by three more test runs to Lakeside during April. G42 hauled its first passenger carrying train from Belgrave to Cockatoo on 17 April 2004. The official launch took place the following day when the locomotive took a train of invited and paying guests to the Packing Shed at Nobelius Siding for a luncheon. G42 returned to regular service on 19 April when it hauled the first of the daily Luncheon Specials from Belgrave. Since then it has remained in regular service and to date has performed admirably.
In NGW-46 we praised an informative book with a lengthy title, The Essential Guide to French Heritage and Tourist Railways. Its successful approach was bound to suggest companion volumes on other European countries, the first of which is Switzerland. Devising this new work cannot have been an easy task, as it could be argued that virtually the entire Swiss network consists of heritage and tourist railways. The approach adopted has been to have initial chapters on the country’s national railway,
its ‘Trans-Regional Railways’ and lines crossing international frontiers before going into more detail in five regional sections. In every case the gauge is clearly indicated and, as befits a country with more mountain railways than any other, so too is the type of rack system. The photographs – almost 150 of them – are entirely in colour.
The Essential Guide to Swiss Heritage and Tourist Railways is published by Oakwood Press, price £15.95. The term ‘Essential’ is again well deserved.
10■NARROW GAUGE WORLD – N0 52 Celebrations in Saxony
Ten years on,the rain-sodden centenary of the Cranzahl to Oberwiesenthal line is recalled by Philip Horton.
The opening of the narrow-gauge Cranzahl to Oberwiesenthal line on 19 July 1897 probably went largely unreported outside the immediate area. The line was one of many similar ones opened during this period by the Saxon State Railway. A few years earlier the Government had determined that 750mm should become the norm for lines in areas where standard gauge would be difficult to construct or could not be justified financially. Building narrow-gauge railways was therefore the Government’s only option if it was to achieve its objective of putting a railway within one hour’s walk of every inhabitant. The small town of Cranzahl, in the Erzgebirge region of southern Saxony, was already served by a railway, the standard gauge single line between AnnabergBuchholz and Chomutov, now in the Czech Republic. Although today the rail border crossing is little used, in 1897 it formed an important link between the major cities of two of Europe’s super-powers, the German Reich and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The narrow-gauge line climbs steadily away from Cranzahl, 654 metres above sea level, along the valley side above the village of Neudorf, five kilometres away. Climbing then begins in earnest through woodland to the hamlet of KretschamRothensehma situated eight kilometres from Cranzahl and 792 metres above sea level. Just beyond Kretscham the line crosses the watershed and descends slightly into Hammerunterwiesenthal. Here it runs along the border with the Czech Republic before climbing once more into Oberwiesenthal itself, 17.3 kilometres from Cranzahl and 893 metres above sea level. The town is reputedly the highest in Germany.
Although the line was originally promoted to tap the rich mineral and timber resources of the Erzgebirge region, Oberwiesenthal soon developed into a health resort. The prefix ‘Kurort’ or ‘curing place’ was then added to the station name. The disease from which visitors hoped to be cured was all too frequently tuberculosis. In addition, with the increasing popularity of winter sports, Oberwiesenthal also flourished as a major skiing resort. Local legend has it that a Norwegian construction worker on the railway brought his
skis with him and hence introduced skiing to the area! Whether or not this is true, the prosperity of town and railway have been closely linked with skiing ever since. Since 1897 the fortunes of the line have waxed and waned as wars were fought and lost. In 1938 the infamous ‘Munich Agreement’ between Britain, France and Hitler’s Germany allowed Czech land along the German border, the Sudetenland, to be ceded to Germany. It was restored to Czechoslovakia after the Second World War. After the War the East German
(Top) Meyer tanks Nos. 99 1542-2 and 99 1608-1 leave Cranzahl with the 15.48 to Oberwiesenthal on 19 July 1997. The inscription on the side tank of 1542-2 sends good wishes for the 100th anniversary from the nearby Pressnitztalbahn line, where the locomotive is preserved. At the time No. 1608remained a DB engine. The train also included the DB’s traditional stock including two open coaches, then based at Radebeul. (Lower) The same two locomotives pause at Hammerunterwiesenthal on the 18.05 special from Oberwiesenthal to pass the 17.32 service train from Cranzahl, which has arrived behind 2-10-2T No. 099 749-4. 19 July 1997.
NARROW GAUGE WORLD – N0 52 ■11