Commonwealth Land Transport Bd Beyer-Garratt Locomotives in Australia

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class Australian Standard Garratt (Locobase 4386)

Data from Report of the Royal Commission appointed to inquire into Australian Standard Garratt Locomotive, Appendix II (Perth, Western Australia: William H Wyatt, Government Printer, 1946); and "Garratt Inquiry - Hauling Capacity - Footplate Instructor's Evidence", West Australian,(5 December 1945), p. 5, archived at [], last accessed 11 October 2018.. See also Hamilton's website [] (6 September 2005); See also Bobbie Oliver, "The Australian Standard Garratt: the engine that brought down a government" (2011), passim, archived at []. last accessed 11 October 2018. ; and her The Locomotive Enginemen: A History of the West Australian Locomotive Engine Drivers', Firemen's and Cleaners' Union (Black Swan Press, 2016), no page numbers.

Double Mountain Garratts developed to overcome a shortage of wartime freight power on the Cape gauge railroads in Australia. The ASG was derived from a West Australian design. Oliver writes that CME Fred Mills, successful designer of ten Msa Garratts (Locobase 6847) in 1930, took on the task of designing the ASG, adding a larger Belpaire firebox, and coal and water bunkerages sufficient to support the engine as it crossed the dry Central Australian portion.

But those modifications led to weight gain, which led to "reducing the thickness of plates for frame stays, cutting holes in the sides of boiler cradle frame and in the main plates of engine frames, and making some of the control rods hollow instead of solid."

Several Australian railway works produced ASGs. From Gavin Hamilton's table ([]) we can derive the following summary:

Clyde 21-25, 37-38, 51-65

Islington 11-20, 44-45

Midland Junction 26-30, 46-50

Newport 1-10, 31-33

34-36 and 39-43 weren't assembled.

Hamilton's tables also show where they went:

Queensland 1-5, 9, 11-19, 21-25, 51-53

Tasmanian 6-8, 37-38, 60-62

Western Australia 10, 20, 26-32, 44-50, 54-59, 63-65

Australian Portland Cement 33

Several went on to Tasmania (TGR and Emu Bay) and the South Australian Railway.

In 2011 paper, Oliver quotes the praise heaped on 'an outstanding feat of draftsmanship, fabrication, assembly and logistics, all the more remarkable because it was done in wartime." But John D. Blyth, writing in a Thailand English-language newspaper column ([]), said the process was rushed and badly flawed. He notes that a postwar commission found "... no less than thirty-six major alterations needed, as many crews on the WAGR and elsewhere were refusing to work them."

Testimony by Joseph P Heweston, special footplate instructor of the WAGR, claimed that most of the union's complaints about the ASGs were "traceable to poor quality coal and bad firing by the firemen." Heweston instead asserted that the ASG's were outstripping the Msa and earlier non-articulated designs in every service. He summarized his case for the ASG: "In my opinion the A.S.G. is an acquisition to the service ... It enables fast hauling of maximum loads and its reserve of power makes the work easier."

Almost no one else viewed the program positively, let alone effusively. An email response from "Brad" of New Zealand ( in January 2001 relayed comments from an unnamed correspondent that detailed some of the complaints and shortcomings. Among these were flangeless leading drivers which because of other problems resulted in frequent derailments. Another problem was leaks in the flexible steam pipes.

But most critical may have been "a lack of equalization in the suspension" The anonymous author notes that equalization - a series of springs and pivoting levers that interconnected driving axles and trucks and allowed the running gear to adjust to unevenness in the track - wasn't always adopted in Britain. That it wasn't in the Australian Standard Garratt may have been due to lack of space inside the frames because of cross-bracing.

Many never ran more than a year or two, in particular those on the Queensland Railway. Those that served other railroads lasted a few years longer, but were set aside as soon as other motive power could be obtained. Blyth is incorrect in saying that no ASG was saved. The G33, an ex-Australian Portland Cement is found at Fyansford, Victoria).

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

ClassAustralian Standard Garratt
Locobase ID4386
RailroadCommonwealth Land Transport Bd
Number in Class57
Road Numbers
Number Built57
Valve GearWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)27 / 4.11
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)27.50 / 8.38
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase 0.98
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)77 / 23.47
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)19,040 / 8636
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)152,320 / 69,091
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)266,560 / 120,910
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)266,560 / 120,910
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)5040 / 19.09
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT) 6.60 / 6
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)32 / 16
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)48 / 1219
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)200 / 13.80
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)14.25" x 24" / 362x610 (4)
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)34,521 / 15658.48
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.41
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)184 - 1.75" / 44
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)28 - 5.25" / 133
Flue/Tube length (ft / m)12.50 / 3.81
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)163 / 15.15
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)35 / 3.25
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1698 / 157.81
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)315 / 29.28
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)2013 / 187.09
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume191.64
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation7000
Same as above plus superheater percentage8120
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area37,816
Power L19657
Power MT1118.17

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