New South Wales D59 class locomotive

The 59 Class was a class of steam locomotive built by Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton Corporation for the New South Wales Government Railways of Australia.

New South Wales D59 class
Oil burning 5903 heading south at Hawkesbury River station
Type and origin
Power typeSteam
Serial number75564–75583
Build dateAugust 1952-March 1953
Total produced20
Gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Driver dia.5 ft 0 in (1.524 m)
Adhesive weight65 t (64.0 long tons; 71.7 short tons)
Loco weight91 t (89.6 long tons; 100.3 short tons)
Fuel typeOil, later coal
Fuel capacity10,800 litres (2,400 imp gal; 2,900 US gal) (oil) 11 t (10.8 long tons; 12.1 short tons) (coal)
Water cap24,750 litres (5,440 imp gal; 6,540 US gal)
  Firegrate area
47 sq ft (4.4 m2)
Boiler pressure1,379 kPa (200.0 psi)
Heating surface2,165 sq ft (201.1 m2)
  Heating area625 sq ft (58.1 m2)
CylindersTwo, outside
Cylinder size21 in × 28 in (533.4 mm × 711.2 mm)
Valve gearWalscharts
Performance figures
Tractive effort34,986 lbf (155.6 kN)
Factor of adh.4.09
OperatorsNew South Wales Government Railways
Disposition5 preserved, 15 scrapped


The class were ordered from Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton (the former Baldwin Locomotive Works) to relieve motive power shortages. The design is a variation on the USATC S200 Class Mikado, a design which first appeared in 1941.

Twenty locomotives entered service between August 1952 and March 1953. The most immediately apparent difference is the rather stubby short tender that was specially built to allow the 59 class to be turned on a standard 60-foot (18.29 m) turntable. It was the specification of these tenders which considerably delayed the delivery from the initial order. Unfortunately due to the weight of the locomotive it was eventually discovered, in service, that most 60-foot (18.29 m) turntables could not turn the 59 class due to balancing issues.[1][2]

The class was the first 'new build' (as opposed to conversions) of oil-fired engines to be introduced by the New South Wales Government Railways and were the first locomotives to be built for NSW by Baldwin since 1905. They were initially used on the Short North from Enfield to Broadmeadow. They were soon placed in service on both the Main Western and Main South lines and, although their light axle load made them available to a large proportion of the state, their sphere of operation was limited by the location of oil fueling facilities. Accordingly, they saw most of their service, as oil burners, working on the Main North and North Coast lines, as well as in the Sydney metropolitan area.[2]

In 1961 it was decided to convert the majority of the class to coal burning. Seventeen were converted using an ashpan based on the 38 class arrangement, together with modifications to the smokebox, fitting of brick arches, grates, firehole doors, etc. Two 59 class (5908 and 5916) remained as oil burners (the other member of the class had been previously scrapped) and they ended their service as shunters at Grafton before being transferred to Broadmeadow Locomotive Depot in December 1970 as stationary boilers.[3] In August 1974, 5916 was sent to the Eveleigh Carriage Workshops for a similar duty.

The coal burning locomotives were mainly operated from Enfield Locomotive Depot, working to Goulburn. They were also based at Broadmeadow Locomotive Depot, working from Gosford to Armidale. From February 1967 59 class locomotives were allocated to Bathurst for banking duties on Raglan and Tumulla banks. During 1968/69 59 class were often used on freight trains to Taree during a motive power shortage.[1][2]


Withdrawals began in June 1969 with the last withdrawn in December 1972.[4]

Preserved Steam Locomotives
5908oil burningNew South Wales Rail Transport MuseumGoulburn RoundhouseStored

NSW Locomotive, Steam 5908

5910coal burningNew South Wales Rail Transport MuseumThirlmereStatic display

NSW Locomotive, Steam 5910

5916oil burningNot listedGoulburn RoundhouseUnder cosmetic restoration

Not Listed[5]

5917coal burningSydney Rail ServicesRothburyRestored, in steam
5920coal burningDorrigo Steam Railway & MuseumDorrigoStoredLast steam loco imported from USA[6]


  1. "Our Baldwin Yankees - The D59 Class Mikados". Roundhouse: 12. January 1981.
  2. Grunbach, Alex (1989). A Compendium of New South Wales Steam Locomotives (Rev ed.). Australian Railway Historical Society, New South Wales Division. pp. 236–239. ISBN 978-0-909650-27-8.
  3. "20 Years Ago" Railway Digest March 1991 page 102
  4. Oberg, Leon (1984). Locomotives of Australia 1850's - 1980's. Frenchs Forest: Reed Books. pp. 206–207. ISBN 0 730100 05 7.
  5. NSW Heritage Register Locomotives, Steam
  6. Dorrigo Railway Museum 1050

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