This 1952 photograph shows a passenger train in Victoria, Australia, hauled by a 4-6-4 R Class locomotive built by the North British Locomotive Co. Railways in Victoria were built to a 5 feet 3 inches gauge, one of three different gauges used by Australia's main line railways. The engines were built to facilitate a later conversion to standard gauge.
The order placed at the Hyde Park Works from Victorian Railways for seventy R Class locomotives provided a major boost for the NBL. A special 100-ton gantry-type crane was constructed in Glasgow, dismantled and shipped in 1950, then re-assembled on Nelson Pier at Williamstown to unload the engines when they arrived aboard Blue Funnel Line ships. Some work was required to repair sea water damage sustained on the long voyage, before the first locomotives entered service in 1951.
Between 1903 and 1953, a total of 374 locomotives were supplied to Australia by the NBL, including 120 for the state of Victoria. R Class locomotives are regarded as among the best ever built by the company, and several have been preserved at various locations in Victoria.
Reference: NBL 131
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning
Blue Funnel Line, cranes, engines, Hyde Park Works, locomotive builders, NBL, Nelson Pier, North British Locomotive Co, R Class, railway gauges, railway signals, steam locomotives, trains, Victorian Railways