Richmond Vale Railway Museum and Richmond Main Colliery Historic Park

Richmond Vale Railway Museum was commenced in 1979 to rebuild the abandoned private railways of the J & A Brown coalmining family. The museum now operates steam engine - hauled passenger trains between former collieries of Richmond main and Pelaw main. The historic park occupies the site of what was once the largest shaft mine in the southern hemisphere. Many of the buildings have been restored.

Mulbring Road, Pelaw Main, NSW
10am-5pm first three Sundays of each month (only)
Adults $10, pensioners $5, children 6 -16 $5, children under 6 free
Wheelchair access to entry building, toilets, cafeteria, and some workshop buildings on site, guided tours
9 Steam locomotives used by local industries, 2 ex BHP steam cranes, which were used to build Newcastle steelworks. Four industrial diesel locomotives. 21 Passenger carriages, 62 ex government railway freight wagons, 84 privately owned freight wagons, 8 stainless steel interurban trailer cars.


Steam Locomotive

J & A Brown R.O.D Loco No.23

Great Central Railway, England
2-8-0 Tender Steam Locomotive
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One of 521 engines built for the British Army for use in France in WWI. The engine is one of 13 purchased in the mid 1920's by John Brown. The design was a slight modification on the Great Central Railway 8k 2-8-0 design, the main differences being fitted with steel inside fireboxes and having Westinghouse air brakes for the train. No. 23 was built as R.O.D 2004 and was one of 6 R.O.D.s built by the Great Central Railway at their Gorton Works in Manchester in 1918. The 6 GCR engines were built with copper fireboxes. No. 2004 was the last R.O.D shipped to France, arriving in France in February 1919, three months after the armistice had been signed. No.2004 was used on trains taking troops & supplies to the channel ports for return to England. Arrived in Australia 26th Feb, 1927. In service 1930. Last overhauled at Hexham Works 1st July 1960, withdrawn 28th June 1973, arrived Richmond Main 14th January 1986.

Diesel Locomotive

BHP No.34

A. Goinan and Co. Broadmeadow NSW
Diesel Electric Shunting Locomotive
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One of the 5 diesel electric locos built by Ganions to replace BHP's aging steam locomotive. In the early 1950's BHP Newcastle Steelworks decided to replace their fleet of ageing steam locos with diesel electrics, then becoming popular world wide. A standard American design was selected and orders placed with A. Goninan & Co. of Broadmeadow who held the General Electric, Licence. The design chosen was a General Electric 70 Ton shunting locomotive built in large numbers in the USA. They are an end-cab design, utilising a pair of four wheel bogies powered on each axle. A six-cylinder in line Cooper-Bessemer FWL-6-T diesel Engine connected to a GT571 generator feeds power to four GE747 traction motors. The Engine is rated at 600HP at 1000 RPM giving a starting traction effort of 57 000 lbs. And a continuous tractive effort of 20 000lbs. The maximum speed is 25 mph (40 kph).

Steam Locomotives

Pelaw Main & Richmond Main

Kitson and Co, leeds, England
2-8-2 Tank Steam Locomotives
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9 & 10

These 2 engines are the survivors of a class of 3 engines specially built for JKA Brown and named after important locations on their railway system. They were used on coal trains as well as on the mines passenger trains between Richmond Main and Pelaw Main Collieries.These two locos are the survivors of a class of 3 engines that were specially built for J & A Brown by Kitson & Co of Leeds. The design was based on the Great Central Railway 8A 0-8-0 tender locomotives that Kitsons had built recently. Loco No.9 was built in 1909 having Kitson builder's No. 4567, the nameplates "Pelaw Main" were cast and fitted to the engine at Kitsons. With No.9 being successful and traffic on the Richmond Vale Railway expanding, two similar engines were ordered from Kitsons. They were No. 10 "Richmond Main" and No. 11 "Hexham" both engines were built in 1911. These 3 locos hauled most of the coal traffic on the Richmond Vale line until the introduction of the ROD locos from 1926 onwards. They were then put on shunting duties and working the miners' passenger train between Richmond Main and Pelaw Main Collieries. By May 1945 two of the engines were working the coal trains from the Stockrington Collieries, the third engine was either in Hexham Works or working the passenger trains.

Coal Wagon

Non Air Coal Wagon

Wood and steel privately owned coal wagons used in the Cessnock/ Newcastle coalfields.

These 67 wagons are the survivors of over 13,000 wagons which were used in the Newcastle/Cessnock coalfields. The design of the type of coal wagon referred to as the "Non-Air coal wagon" dates back to 1863 Lambton. This design had a removable pyramid shaped hopper, previous designs used by the coal companies included removable rectangular boxes or hoppers fixed in the frame. The hoppers were made removable to save having to lift the whole wagon by crane, as until 1958 the only way to load coal was to lift the hopper over the ship's hold and open the bottom door in the hopper. These wagon's in later years were commonly referred to as "Non-Air" coal wagons as they had no continuous air brakes, being only fitted with hand brakes, which were applied by the guard at the top of a steep grade. The grades on the line serving the colliery determined the amount of wagons that could be hauled due to the braking power of the engine & brake van, the maximum permitted train was 50 wagons or 610 Tons. Some companies did fit air brakes to their wagons but this was either as a short lived experiment to improve braking over steep lines or due to that they were required to fit them by the government railways as Branxton was the limit that the government railways would work privately owned wagons without having continuous air brakes fitted. Originally all of the steelwork in the wagon was imported from Europe, this was the reason that the underframes and hoppers on locally built wagons were of wood as it was readily available. After WWI and the opening of BHP's Newcastle steelworks & the opening of BHP's Newcastle steelworks and the opening of Comsteel, the steelwork, axles & wheels were made in Newcastle. This enabled the underframes to be made from locally made rolled steel sections which lowered the maintenance costs of the wagons. From the 1930's onwards all new wagons had steel underframes and large numbers of the wooden underframe wagons had new steel underframes made when their old wooden underframes neede rebuilding. BHP also had several wagons made with welded steel hoppers for use on trains from their collieries to the steelworks. The Richmond Vale Railway Museum has 67 of these wagons in its collection, of which 17 are currently accredited to run. These 17 wagons form a train which is run on special occasions.

Railway Carriage

John Brown's Carriage

J & A Brown's Engineering Works
4 wheeled passenger carriage

Built by the owner of the Richmond Vale Railway, Richmond Main and Pelaw. In the late 1920's John Brown had a carriage built at his Hexham Workshops, for him to use on his inspections of his railway and mining empire. It appears that the carriage was built on the underframe of an early ex-government railway 4 wheeled passenger carriage, that has previously been used on the recently withdrawn passenger service to Minmi. The carriage was divided up into 3 compartments, one of which was fitted with lounge, the other with a toilet. The internal ceiling was covered with pressed metal. After John Brown's death in 1930 the carriage was used for a short period of time by the directors of the new company J. & A. Brown & Abermain Seaham Collieries Ltd, but this use was discontinued by the mid 1930's. It was then taken out of service & stored in the fodder shed at Richmond Vale Junction.