Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company
Rack/Adhesion Tanks

To operate trains over the steeply graded line between Queenstown and Regatta Point, the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company had a fleet of five rack/adhesion tank engines. Of an 0-4-2T design, all locos were built by  Dübs and Co. of Scotland or their successor, the North British Locomotive Company, between 1896 and 1938.

Throughout their lives, the locos hauled the majority of trains over the steep grades, which in one section reached 1 in 16. A number of modifications were made to the locos over their operational lives, the most noticeable being conversion of all locos from coal to oil firing, fitting of new sandboxes, generators and headlights, and the repainting of most locos from black to green.

The locos are notable for having four cylinders in such a small locomotive. Two outside cylinders drive the main wheels in the traditional fashion and provide all power on the flat sections, whilst two inside cylinders independently drive a pair of pinion wheels which engage on the rack rail to provide additional power on the steeper sections of the line. Each set of cylinders is controlled by its own regulator within the cab.

With the closure of the line in 1963, four locomotives were made available for preservation, with the fifth scrapped. Number 1 was donated to the Zeehan School of Mines now (West Coast Pioneers Museum), Number 2 was donated to the Tasmanian Transport Museum Society in Hobart, Number 3 remained in Queenstown for preservation, and Number 5 was donated to the Australian Railway Historical Society, and spent many years at the Menzies Creek Steam Museum, near Melbourne, Victoria

Numbers 1, 3 and 5 have been returned from their previous locations and restored to working order as part of the restoration of the Queenstown to Strahan railway.


No. 1 - In service, West Coast Wilderness Railway, Queenstown
No. 2 - Tasmanian Transport Museum, Glenorchy, Tasmania
No. 3 - In service, West Coast Wilderness Railway, Queenstown
No. 5 - In service, West Coast Wilderness Railway, Queenstown


Builder: Dübs & Co; North British Locomotive Company
Type: 0-4-2 Rack Tank
Intended use: Mixed traffic
Introduced: 1896
Number in class: 5
Boiler pressure: 180  psi
Total Weight: 24 t
4 cylinder saturated

Class images, sounds and video

There are 15 matching items
Abt No. 2 at Queenstown in the 1920s. The loco still sports the original small coal bunker and oil l
Abt 3 at Lynchford. February 1962
Locomotive No.3 heads a short Rinadeena bound service through Queenstown, then South Queenstown and
Ex Mt Lyell Rack Tank No. 2 sits outside the roundhouse during shunting operations, October 2002
On 24 October 2003, Locomotive No.1 leads the afternoon train through South Queenstown, then two day
Loco No.1 at Dubbil Barril, October 2003
Abt loco No.1 and train pass through South Queenstown, February 2006
Abt loco No1 is turned on the Queenstown turntable, February 2006
Locos No. 1 and No. 3 stand outside the workshops in Queenstown, December 2010
Ex Mt Lyell Rack Tank No. 2 and ex TMLR carriage A+17 wait outside the carriage shed during shunting
Abt No. 2 in its normal display area at the museum, February 2014
Black painted No. 3 (front) stands ready for service later in the week, whilst green painted No. 5 i
Unlike the first four locomotives, No. 5 was constructed by the North British Locomotive Company whi
No. 5 is being reassembled following boiler inspection and maintenance at the Queenstown workshops i
No. 1 and train approach Queenstown station at the end of its trip from Dubbil Barril. November 2014

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