BHP Locomotive No. 4

Broken Hill Proprietary Company

Narrow Gauge


Class operators: Broken Hill Proprietary Company

Condition: Excellent

Entered service: August 1914

Entered the museum: 19.6.1969

Number in class: 2

Ownership: Port Dock Station Railway Trust

Provenance: Broken Hill Proprietary Ltd

Tractive Effort: 16,300 lbs

Wheel Arrangement: 4-6-0


In 1914 the Baldwin Locomotive Works, Philadelphia, USA, built two 4-6-0 locomotives for use on the Broken Hill Proprietary’s Tramway which ran between Whyalla and Iron Knob. They were to take over the haulage of iron ore from the small British-built tank locomotives then in use.

Delivered in August 1914 and given road numbers 4 and 5, they were typical North American products, being supplied with engine bells, but without those typically American appendages, Cow-catchers. The bells were removed shortly after their arrival.

They accounted for all main line haulage and could lift 850 tons away from Iron Knob. Their reign was short lived, however, as increasing ore production placed ever increasing demands on them, and the Company placed orders with Baldwin for two additional locomotives - 2-8-2s with almost twice the power. These latter locomotives, which were placed in service in 1920, were then the most powerful in use in Australia and, though only 3’ 6’’ gauge, could haul 2,000 ton trains unaided from Iron Knob.

No. 4 and 5 were relegated to secondary duties, shunting, work trains, and banking empty ore trains up the 1 in 95 grade out of Whyalla. No. 5 was written off and scrapped in 1956, but No. 4 survived, having been fitted with special steam pipes to enable it to drive the Company’s pile driver. It performed this duty from time to time until the mid-1960s when it was laid aside. In 1969 it was donated, minus its tender, to the Mile End Railway Museum. At first it was feared that the tender had been scrapped but it was later discovered that the underframes were still in use as a flat car. This was obtained by the Museum who built a new tender on it. On arrival at Mile End on 19th June 1969, No. 4 was found to be in very poor condition. It has since been refurbished to display standard. It was placed at the museum on 11th November 1988.

Visitors will note that No. 4 once more has its engine bell. When removed it had been given to the Iron Knob school who subsequently donated it to the museum.

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The National Railway Museum acknowledges the Kaurna people as the traditional owners and custodians of the Adelaide Plains. We honour and respect their ongoing cultural and spiritual connections to this country. We aim to respect the cultural heritage, customs and beliefs of all Indigenous people.

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