|TRIAL OF AMERICAN LOCOMOTIVE
The Sydney Morning Herald,
Wednesday, December 12, 1877.
On Saturday last, the Honourable the
Minister for Works (Mr Combes), having given instructions that the locomotive lately
imported from America should be tried on the Great Western Railroad, invited a few
gentlemen to accompany him. The party consisted of himself; Mr Alexander Stuart (by whose
advice, when Treasurer, the engine was ordered); Mr Whitton, the Engineer- in- Chief of
Railways; Mr John Rae, the Commissioner for Railways; Mr W. Mason, Engineer of Existing
Lines; Mr T. Carlisle, the acting Traffic Manager Dr B. H. Williams, one of the partners
of the Baldwin Locomotive Company which supplied the engine; Mr Augustus Morris, Mr P. A.
Jennings, Mr P. Higgins, Mr A. E. De Pavia, Mr D. Dixon, and some other gentlemen.
|The Baldwin arrived in Sydney, chained to the deck of the sailing ship
Star of the West, in October 1877.
Sydney to Glenbrook
The start was punctually effected at 6 o'clock in the morning,
with a train of passenger carriages, the total weight, including engine and tender, being
106 tons, such as ordinarily runs over the Western mountains, the railway authorities
evidently desiring to give the engine fair play on its first trial over such steep grades
and sharp curves. The engine had, however, been previously tested on the Southern line
with heavy freight trains. The run to Parramatta was made without stopping at any of the
intermediate stations, as was the next stage to Penrith. Crossing the noble bridge over
the Nepean, the engine had to face the first zig zag with its
incline of one foot in thirty, and although Dr Williams did not look anxious as to the
result, the rest of the party was pleased when the pinch was overcome, the valves beating
gently with perfectly regular stroke.
||U105 was the first American locomotive imported to the
colony of NSW, & came with a set of typical American carriages.
Over the Mountains
Mount Victoria was reached by five minutes before the time, and Lithgow, the end of the day's down run, was punctually reached at
11am, the whole distance of ninety-six miles having been accomplished in five hours,
including stoppages. At every station and crossing the inhabitants were warned that a
strange engine was approaching by the loud scream of the steam whistle, which sounds more
like the roar of a fog-horn than the shriek of an ordinary locomotive.
|Interestingly, 40 of the 45 minutes was saved between Mt Victoria
& Lithgow - at the top of the mountains.
A Tour and Luncheon
This far the engine behaved as well as one of its power could,
taking all the grades and curves with perfect ease, whether ascending or descending. The
Westinghouse brake fitted to the tender and carriages placed the train under perfect
control, and there was no necessity to use the engine brake. The train having been run on
the siding, the party, under the guidance of Mr Higgins, visited the coal mine of the
Lithgow Valley Company. The party next visited the company's brick, tile and drain-pipe
works. The iron smelting works and rolling mill in this locality were also inspected, but
operations have not yet been commenced. It is to be hoped that so desirable an industry
may flourish, and render the importation of pig iron and steel rails unnecessary. After
this the company dined with Mr Higgins, at the Hermitage, and returned at 3 pm to the
train. Shortly afterwards the Baldwin locomotive started off for the journey to Sydney. As
there is not a turn-table at Lithgow, the engine had to run backwards to Mount Victoria,
where it was turned. The up journey was performed with complete success, twenty minutes
lost time having been easily made up between Penrith and Sydney. The engine took all the
curves on the steep descending grades "like a bird", and after a most enjoyable
trip, Sydney was reached at 7.30 pm.
|Lithgow was home to Australia's first iron smelter.
& rounhouse were later installed at Lithgow.
The Baldwin Company
The American engine is made by the Baldwin Locomotive Company of
Philadelphia, which is said to be the largest establishment of the kind in the world. Some
idea of the magnitude of the Baldwin works may be formed from the fact that they occupy
six blocks of the city, and pay, in rates, about £ 16,000 a year. Fully 480 locomotives
are turned out annually.
It was admitted by all the party competent to give an opinion,
that if the American type of locomotive is equal to the English in endurance, it has some
features of superiority, and is very much less expensive. The experience of 100,000 miles
of railroads in North and South America has, it may be thought, sufficiently demonstrated
the greater economy and endurance of the American type of engine.
There is a letter in Engineering, of the 12th October
last written by the eminent English engineer (Mr Howard Fry), which gives his experience
of English and American locomotives, and will be found useful in assisting our authorities
with information on their comparative merits.
Mr Mason, and Mr Kinser, an American engineer, who accompanies Dr
Williams, were, during nearly the whole journey, in the driver's house carefully attending
to the action of the engine.
|Baldwin were able to offer rapid delivery and low price.
to 1893, 1,320 miles of railway were added in NSW, whilst passenger traffic increased by
200% & freight by 76%.