50 Objects from Vindolanda

50 Objects from Vindolanda

Buses of Devon and Cornwall

Buses of Devon and Cornwall

Australia's Last Steam Railways

The South Maitland and Richmond Vale Railways

Publication Date15th August 2024

Book FormatPaperback





Rare and previously unpublished images illustrate the story of the last commercial steam working in Australia, which was active until 1987.
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The South Maitland and Richmond Vale Railways formed an extensive network of standard-gauge lines serving collieries in the New South Wales coalfields. The first section opened for coal traffic in 1893, with passenger services introduced on part of the growing SMR system from 1902. Such was the volume of traffic that sections of route were double-tracked and signalled. The New South Wales Government Railways took over passenger services from 1930 until 1961, following which the SMR continued with diesel railcars until 1972. The RVR operated passenger trains for miners until 1959. The railways used a fleet of British-built steam locomotives, ranging from six coupled saddle tanks to several originally built for use in the Mersey Tunnel, and thirteen ROD tender locomotives constructed for use in France during the First World War. However, the last working locomotives were a fleet of Beyer Peacock 2-8-2 tank locomotives. Steam operation ended on the South Maitland system in 1983, leaving the Richmond Vale operation as the last commercial steam working in Australia until that also ceased in 1987. A section of the Richmond Vale Railway has become a museum line, and many locomotives have survived.

John Woodhams chronicles the history of these railways through a vibrant selection of previously unpublished images.

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