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This directory contains miscellaneous private railway systems around Australia. The major system amongst those that are collected here is the South Maitland Railways, a once-extensive coalfields system near Newcastle.
Since many government railways have been broken up into private operations, and locos sold off, this section will doubtless expand. Where possible I include locos in private livery here, with a link in the home government organization.
Next to the SMR, the railways of J and A Brown were the next most extensive coalfields system in Newcastle. Based at Hexham, the system almost outlived the SMR, in spite of having no locomotives of its own left to work the system, and having to borrow 10 class from the SMR to run the line. Alas, the last vestige closed in the late 70s.
The system was notable for having some of the ex Railways Operating Division locomotives built for the 1914-18 war, and hence were the target for many British rail enthusiasts. In 1967, the decision was made to stop major boiler work on the ROD locomotives and as these locos were withdrawn, they were supplemented by 10 class from the SMR. Fortunately, some of the RODs have been preserved, and you can read all about them in the ROD section .
The Hunslet Locomotive Co in England was requested at the time to evaluate the cost in reboilering both classes of locomotives. They decided 10 class to be a better proposition than the ROD. If it had been the other way, ROD locomotives would have worked SMR from 1970's onwards. Hunslet provided 6 sets of boiler pressings to allow the withdrawn 10 class to be returned to service for both railway systems. (thanks to Brian Andrews for some of this information.)
The South Maitland Railways in the 1970s were the last remaining vestige of a once extensive coalfields railway system. During 1973, I took the opportunity of visiting this system a couple of times, and recorded steam in its last great regular revenue service in Australia.
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