38 class derailment Brisbane Limited 1948

 
  petan Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting to see a zebra using a zebra crossing!
Any documents around to give the 38 class number that was hauling the Brisbane Limited when the last seven carriages derailed at 7.52 am on the morning of 19 August 1948. That is the incident that led to the banning of that class on the North Coast. No derailment document found by a very kind recent search on my behalf of ARHS’s Sydney Railway Resource Centre. Nor document on that derailment found at NSW State Records at Kingswood. Results needed for an article in Australian Railway History on that derailment, so need proof via document that can be verified by magazine editor. Locomotive and three leading carriages did not derail so no repair needed for loco so no loco repair paperwork. The train was travelling up the grade between Red Hill No2 and No3 tunnels, with the derailment around the 617 km area, approximately 9km north of Coffs Harbour. Tunnel 3 is under Coramba Rd, so the derailment was just east of that road. The train was climbing the almost 10km grade of 1 in 80s to Landrigans, with that long grade commencing in the northern urban area of Coffs Harbour. No mention of loco number in John Thompson’s 38: The C38 Class Pacific Locomotives of the New South Wales Government Railways, Eveleigh Press, Sydney, 1992. No fatalities so no Coroners report. No loco number in the many Trove reports.

Very grateful for any clues please!   Thanks Peter Cokley

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  M636C Minister for Railways

Any documents around to give the 38 class number that was hauling the Brisbane Limited when the last seven carriages derailed at 7.52 am on the morning of 19 August 1948. That is the incident that led to the banning of that class on the North Coast. No derailment document found by a very kind recent search on my behalf of ARHS’s Sydney Railway Resource Centre. Nor document on that derailment found at NSW State Records at Kingswood. Results needed for an article in Australian Railway History on that derailment, so need proof via document that can be verified by magazine editor. Locomotive and three leading carriages did not derail so no repair needed for loco so no loco repair paperwork. The train was travelling up the grade between Red Hill No2 and No3 tunnels, with the derailment around the 617 km area, approximately 9km north of Coffs Harbour. Tunnel 3 is under Coramba Rd, so the derailment was just east of that road. The train was climbing the almost 10km grade of 1 in 80s to Landrigans, with that long grade commencing in the northern urban area of Coffs Harbour. No mention of loco number in John Thompson’s 38: The C38 Class Pacific Locomotives of the New South Wales Government Railways, Eveleigh Press, Sydney, 1992. No fatalities so no Coroners report. No loco number in the many Trove reports.

Very grateful for any clues please!   Thanks Peter Cokley
petan
This is completely hearsay, but I recall being told many years ago that the locomotive involved was in fact 3801. The version I heard was that the derailment had occurred in a tunnel and that it resulted in the banning of the class from the North Coast. That sounds close enough to the details provided above given the Chinese Whispers effect.

I think that for a while at least, 35 and 36 class locomotives were also banned and trains were worked by double 32 class. I think I was shown a newspaper clipping from the late 1940s where double 32 class on the North Coast Mail both derailed.  I think the article mentioned that heavier locomotives had been restricted because of track conditions. While 35 and 36 class returned to the line, I don't think 38 class ever worked regular North Coast trains north of Broadmeadow after that time.

This was the time that efforts were being made to develop a diesel electric locomotive with an 18 ton axleload for the North Coast, using the power equipment from English Electric. The same equipment in the SAR 900 gave a 21 ton axleload and this resulted in some ingenious but impractical designs. 40 class were tested on the Brisbane Limited fairly early, but they couldn't be spared from freight traffic on the South.

The first DEB sets were tried on the North Coast but failed, at least partly due to the original "Hercules" diesel engines. The train was moved to Canberra and Cooma services when finally rebuilt years later. But this was clearly an attempt to provide a fast passenger service on indifferent track when first tried on the North Coast.

Peter
  petan Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting to see a zebra using a zebra crossing!
Any documents around to give the 38 class number that was hauling the Brisbane Limited when the last seven carriages derailed at 7.52 am on the morning of 19 August 1948. That is the incident that led to the banning of that class on the North Coast. No derailment document found by a very kind recent search on my behalf of ARHS’s Sydney Railway Resource Centre. Nor document on that derailment found at NSW State Records at Kingswood. Results needed for an article in Australian Railway History on that derailment, so need proof via document that can be verified by magazine editor. Locomotive and three leading carriages did not derail so no repair needed for loco so no loco repair paperwork. The train was travelling up the grade between Red Hill No2 and No3 tunnels, with the derailment around the 617 km area, approximately 9km north of Coffs Harbour. Tunnel 3 is under Coramba Rd, so the derailment was just east of that road. The train was climbing the almost 10km grade of 1 in 80s to Landrigans, with that long grade commencing in the northern urban area of Coffs Harbour. No mention of loco number in John Thompson’s 38: The C38 Class Pacific Locomotives of the New South Wales Government Railways, Eveleigh Press, Sydney, 1992. No fatalities so no Coroners report. No loco number in the many Trove reports.

Very grateful for any clues please!   Thanks Peter Cokley
This is completely hearsay, but I recall being told many years ago that the locomotive involved was in fact 3801. The version I heard was that the derailment had occurred in a tunnel and that it resulted in the banning of the class from the North Coast. That sounds close enough to the details provided above given the Chinese Whispers effect.

Peter (M636C)
M636C
My derailment details are from the next day's Coffs Harbour Advocate, which is the local newspaper for that derailment, so good chance their reporters visited the site. I had to use Trove as the official report can not be located, thus my plea for a copy of the official document via Railpage. Trove showed very similar accounts in other newspapers, so the main details match.

That newspaper reported RH Divison, District Superintendent from South Grafton, and J Russell, Senior Northern Inspector, were both aboard at the time, Davison being in the guard’s van.  He said that when the train emerged from Red Hill No2 tunnel, he felt the guards van rock and roll, with the guard applying the brake.  As the locomotive and three leading carriages were still intact and, on the rails, they were later used to convey the passengers and their luggage on to Coramba railway station, 10 kms north, to meet a relief passenger train from South Grafton. Coramba had a 217ft (66m) passenger platform, while the closer Landrigans crossing loop only had a 15ft employee platform, according to the 1961 local Appendix.

Coffs Harbour Advocate report so you can check my above statements  
https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/185055982

My article will cover details of the locomotive rearrangements (32,35, 36 & 38) following the derailment. These will  be based on 1948 & 1949 Weekly Notices and STNs. The  track restrictions eased on 17 March 1951 when WN 12 of 1951 permitted 35 class on any type of train between Maitland and South Brisbane. The 36 class had an interim northern limit of Casino by that 1951 WN, and the 1953 WTT showed 36 class through to Brisbane, so back to business as usual, apart from no 38 class.

Nothing found in the ARHS Bulletins as I have the DVDs, and the crash predates Railway Transportation, and I also have those DVDs. Brief mention P.7 of the March 1973 Roundhouse, which is the report of 3813's January 1973 Brisbane trip.

Peter, very interested if you have that loco number authenticity, especially if you send me your source. Use the Railpage PM if you wish, and naturally you will be credited in the ARH article, if you can gave a reliable source. Also interested in the diesel details you mentioned, hopefully with a citation that can be used in ARH, via PM. My 1950s North Coast diesel details are from Michael Morahan's Early diesel and electric locomotives of the NSWGR.  NSW Rail Transport Museum, 1997.
  petan Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting to see a zebra using a zebra crossing!
Any documents around to give the 38 class number that was hauling the Brisbane Limited when the last seven carriages derailed at 7.52 am on the morning of 19 August 1948. That is the incident that led to the banning of that class on the North Coast. No derailment document found by a very kind recent search on my behalf of ARHS’s Sydney Railway Resource Centre. Nor document on that derailment found at NSW State Records at Kingswood. Results needed for an article in Australian Railway History on that derailment, so need proof via document that can be verified by magazine editor. Locomotive and three leading carriages did not derail so no repair needed for loco so no loco repair paperwork. The train was travelling up the grade between Red Hill No2 and No3 tunnels, with the derailment around the 617 km area, approximately 9km north of Coffs Harbour. Tunnel 3 is under Coramba Rd, so the derailment was just east of that road. The train was climbing the almost 10km grade of 1 in 80s to Landrigans, with that long grade commencing in the northern urban area of Coffs Harbour. No mention of loco number in John Thompson’s 38: The C38 Class Pacific Locomotives of the New South Wales Government Railways, Eveleigh Press, Sydney, 1992. No fatalities so no Coroners report. No loco number in the many Trove reports.

Very grateful for any clues please!   Thanks Peter Cokley

I think that for a while at least, 35 and 36 class locomotives were also banned and trains were worked by double 32 class. I think I was shown a newspaper clipping from the late 1940s where double 32 class on the North Coast Mail both derailed.
Peter
M636C
Re the 32 class double header; the Brisbane Limited Express and Brisbane Express probably used double header 32 class between  (initially) Taree and South Grafton following the 35 & 36 class restrictions that date from June 1949, according to WN 25 of 1949, so predating the August 1949 Kempsey floods disaster. This 35 and 36 class passenger ban was extended onto the 186km Maitland Taree portion from 1 September 1949 by WN 37 of 1949.  

The double header clue is a single 32 class was allowed 350 tons with Brisbane passenger trains in that area, yet the normal 1947 Brisbane Limited was 379 tons. By contrast, the 35 and 36 classes did not require double heading for that Brisbane passenger load in that area as per the WTT passenger load list.

The North Coast (West Maitland and South Brisbane) 38 class ban was found in WN 37 of 11 September 1948.  

Weekly Notices 13 of 1949 reveal the station now known as Maitland was called West Maitland Station before 1 April 1949. As that is after the banning of the North Coast 38 class, the WNs with the 38 class ban mention West Maitland, not Maitland. That location is mentioned as it is the start of the North Coast route. The November 1947 Northern Working Timetable (WTT) lists East Maitland, High Street and West Maitland stations, in that order, and no Maitland.
  petan Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting to see a zebra using a zebra crossing!
Any documents around to give the 38 class number that was hauling the Brisbane Limited when the last seven carriages derailed at 7.52 am on the morning of 19 August 1948. That is the incident that led to the banning of that class on the North Coast. No derailment document found by a very kind recent search on my behalf of ARHS’s Sydney Railway Resource Centre. Nor document on that derailment found at NSW State Records at Kingswood. Results needed for an article in Australian Railway History on that derailment, so need proof via document that can be verified by magazine editor. Locomotive and three leading carriages did not derail so no repair needed for loco so no loco repair paperwork. The train was travelling up the grade between Red Hill No2 and No3 tunnels, with the derailment around the 617 km area, approximately 9km north of Coffs Harbour. Tunnel 3 is under Coramba Rd, so the derailment was just east of that road. The train was climbing the almost 10km grade of 1 in 80s to Landrigans, with that long grade commencing in the northern urban area of Coffs Harbour. No mention of loco number in John Thompson’s 38: The C38 Class Pacific Locomotives of the New South Wales Government Railways, Eveleigh Press, Sydney, 1992. No fatalities so no Coroners report. No loco number in the many Trove reports.

Very grateful for any clues please!   Thanks Peter Cokley
This was the time that efforts were being made to develop a diesel electric locomotive with an 18 ton axleload for the North Coast, using the power equipment from English Electric. The same equipment in the SAR 900 gave a 21 ton axleload and this resulted in some ingenious but impractical designs.

Peter
M636C
Peter, found a general reference to that on P. 17 & 18 of Michael Morahan's Early diesel and electric locomotives of the NSWGR. which mentions the North Coast route. Also Chapter two of Ron Preston's Green Diesels (40 & 41 classes) has a reference to the English Electric design, but so far no specific link to the North Coast in Ron's book.

So Peter, anything more specific would be very welcome, please, via PM, especially with a North Coast mention, as the Brisbane Limited (38 class) article is that route.
  M636C Minister for Railways

Peter, found a general reference to that on P. 17 & 18 of Michael Morahan's Early diesel and electric locomotives of the NSWGR. which mentions the North Coast route. Also Chapter two of Ron Preston's Green Diesels (40 & 41 classes) has a reference to the English Electric design, but so far no specific link to the North Coast in Ron's book.

So Peter, anything more specific would be very welcome, please, via PM, especially with a North Coast mention, as the Brisbane Limited (38 class) article is that route.

Peter

Regarding the diesel locomotives, I have Morahan's book but I couldn't bring myself to buy Preston's "Green Diesels" although I think I've read the section you mention.

I do have three relevant locomotive drawings:

62629A dated 23-9-1948
This shows a locomotive of conventional shape with frame mounted traction motors driving the four inner axles (1Bo-Bo1).

63872A dated 10-6-1949
This shows an articulated locomotive with bodywork resumbling DEB set power cars
This has the wheel arrangement A1-A1A-1A again with frame mounted motors.
By this time, I assume weight details of the 900 class (or LMS 10 000) were becoming available and an extra axle was added to keep within intended limits. The engine and generator were in one unit and the radiators and electrical switchgear in the other.

64088A dated 22-6-49
This is the logical progression from the previous drawing when someone realised that you couldn't build the articulated unit with anything approaching even axle loading. This was a symmetrical pair of 1A-A1 units with DEB set style bodies each with an 8SRKT inline engine.

The problem with this was that they had already ordered the 16CSVT Mk1 engines (see 1951 Railway Transortation issues).

I've made the connection to the North Coast myself since no other main line required such light and powerful locomotives.

These drawings are available from the ARHS NSW archives.

I think the arrival of the 40 class swept these ideas aside, although the 40 class were mainly used elsewhere.

It is worth noting that SAR 930 was trialled on the Brisbane limited in 1955(?) so there was continuous interest in getting locomotives for the North Coast until the 44 class arrived.

The 42 class did work the Brisbane Limited but I think were found to be too heavy.

Peter
  petan Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting to see a zebra using a zebra crossing!
Peter, found a general reference to that on P. 17 & 18 of Michael Morahan's Early diesel and electric locomotives of the NSWGR. which mentions the North Coast route. Also Chapter two of Ron Preston's Green Diesels (40 & 41 classes) has a reference to the English Electric design, but so far no specific link to the North Coast in Ron's book.

So Peter, anything more specific would be very welcome, please, via PM, especially with a North Coast mention, as the Brisbane Limited (38 class) article is that route.

Peter

Regarding the diesel locomotives, I have Morahan's book but I couldn't bring myself to buy Preston's "Green Diesels" although I think I've read the section you mention.

I do have three relevant locomotive drawings:

62629A dated 23-9-1948
This shows a locomotive of conventional shape with frame mounted traction motors driving the four inner axles (1Bo-Bo1).

63872A dated 10-6-1949
This shows an articulated locomotive with bodywork resumbling DEB set power cars
This has the wheel arrangement A1-A1A-1A again with frame mounted motors.
By this time, I assume weight details of the 900 class (or LMS 10 000) were becoming available and an extra axle was added to keep within intended limits. The engine and generator were in one unit and the radiators and electrical switchgear in the other.

64088A dated 22-6-49
This is the logical progression from the previous drawing when someone realised that you couldn't build the articulated unit with anything approaching even axle loading. This was a symmetrical pair of 1A-A1 units with DEB set style bodies each with an 8SRKT inline engine.

The problem with this was that they had already ordered the 16CSVT Mk1 engines (see 1951 Railway Transortation issues).

I've made the connection to the North Coast myself since no other main line required such light and powerful locomotives.

These drawings are available from the ARHS NSW archives.

I think the arrival of the 40 class swept these ideas aside, although the 40 class were mainly used elsewhere.

It is worth noting that SAR 930 was trialled on the Brisbane limited in 1955(?) so there was continuous interest in getting locomotives for the North Coast until the 44 class arrived.

The 42 class did work the Brisbane Limited but I think were found to be too heavy.

Peter
M636C
First of all, many thanks Peter for all this as I have been working through it since I spotted your reply! In particular your 1951 Railway Transportation clue was appreciated. Items copied and will be most useful! As you note the plans are at the ARHS archives, I will be able to cite them and get electronic copies.

Also glad for your North Coast clue as no other main line required such light and powerful locomotives, so obviously there, especially as the RT article mentioned interstate passenger service.

I also found a similar earlier Railpage thread http://203.28.90.37/f-t11386420.htm

Cheers Peter Cokley

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