Our Collection


Z12 class steam locomotive

Built: 1878

Builder: Beyer, Peacock & Co. Manchester

Wheel arrangement: 4-4-0

Current status: Out of service, static display

1210 is an example of the Z12 (formerly C79) class locomotives, introduced in 1877 for express passenger and mail trains. A total of 68 were built, and they served as the top-link motive power of the New South Wales Railways for 20 years. However, steam technology was advancing rapidly around the turn of the century, and the 12 class were eventually ousted, and demoted to country mixed and freight traffic.

1210 was allocated to Goulburn in 1914, and hauled the first revenue-earning train into Canberra on May 25th of that year, bringing coal for the power house in Kingston. 1210 was eventually withdrawn in the early 1930s, but due to a locomotive shortage was pressed back into service. A second withdrawal in 1943 was aborted due to wartime demand, and a third in 1958 (after a short stint on the ‘Vintage Train’ excursions) saw the locomotive rescued by the National Capital Development Commission, moving the locomotive to Canberra in 1962, in recognition of its historical significance to the city.

Between 1984 and 1988, Canberra Railway Museum successfully restored the locomotive to working order in time for the Australian Bicentenary, and 1210 became a regular sight on the Canberra branch for many years, before being withdrawn for overhaul in 2014.


C30 class steam locomotive

Built: 1903

Builder: Beyer, Peacock & Co. Manchester

Wheel arrangement: 4-6-0

Current status: Out of service, stored

Locomotive 3016 was built in 1903, the 16th member of the C30 class. As built, the C30’s were tank 4-6-4 tank engines, designed for use on Sydney’s suburban rail network. They served in this function until 1926, when the ‘Red Rattler’ electric units came into service. Now surplus to requirements, the 30 class were reassigned to various places across New South Wales. Between 1928 and 1933, 77 locomotives, including 3016, were converted into 4-6-0 tender engines, to replace older locomotives on country services. 3016 was later further rebuilt with a superheater, to increase efficiency and power output.

3016 was rescued from scrap in the 1970s and brought to Canberra, being returned to working order in the 1980s. Since then, it has operated heritage trains far and wide, until withdrawal for overhaul in 2018.

CPH 27 & 37

CPH class diesel railmotors

Built: 1924, 1927

Builder: New South Wales Railways, Eveleigh

Current status: Undergoing repairs

CPH’s 27 and 37 are members of a class of diesel railmotors introduced to overcome the growing financial struggles faced by the New South Wales Railways, which controlled dozens of branch lines, most of which were not financially viable. Steam traction was costly, time-consuming and labour intensive, only exacerbating the unviability of these branch lines. With their lightweight wooden construction, minimal crew requirements, and cheap diesel engines, the CPH railmotors were an ideal solution. A total of 37 were built, and were used extensively across the network. So successful was the design, that the last examples remained in service until 1985.

The CPH railmotors were a fixture of the Canberra branch, commonly seen on passenger duties to Cooma & Bombala. From its opening in 1940 to its cessation in 1960, the passenger services on the Captains Flat branch comprised of a CPH railmotor.

CPH 37 has historical significance as being one of the last two CPH’s withdrawn, ending its career operating between Wollongong and Moss Vale.


S class diesel-electric locomotive

Built: 1957

Builder: Clyde Engineering, Granville

Current status: Undergoing repairs

Originally named “Matthew Flinders”, S300 was built for the Victorian Railways, as the first member of their premier S class express passenger diesel locomotives. The direct replacements for the earlier S class steam locomotives, the diesels could be found hauling the most prestigious trains in Victoria, particularly the Spirit of Progress streamliner between Melbourne and Albury.

In 1962, with the conversion of the Albury-Melbourne line to British Standard Gauge, through running to Sydney became a possibility. A new service was introduced: the Southern Aurora, and S300 was chosen as one of its principal locomotives. It was converted to standard gauge, and worked alongside other S class diesels for some years. Eventually, S300 could no longer compete with more modern diesels, and was sidelined for use on secondary duties. In 1994 it was sold to the short-lived West Coast Rail, changing hands again in 2004 to Chicago Freight Car Leasing (CFCLA). In 2019 it was sold into private ownership.

S300 is kindly on loan to Canberra Railway Museum from Paul Feighan.

Rolling stock


AL class Pullman sleeping car

Built: 1901

Builder: New South Wales Railways, Eveleigh

Current status: Static display

At around the turn of the century, the New South Wales Railways underwent a major facelift to improve their public image. Among the sweeping changes was the introduction of sleeping cars, allowing for far more comfort on the long journeys across the state. The Pullman Car Company of America were contracted to design a variety of sleeping cars, which were then built in Australia. The AL class were introduced in 1901 to serve on overnight mail trains. A total of 3 were built, and they worked regularly until the 1930s, when newer, larger sleeping cars displaced them.

AL1040, along with sister car AL1039, were internally rebuilt as mobile dental clinics, travelling throughout regional NSW to provide dental care for all the locals. In 1966, the onboard generator caused a fire which destroyed one of the end platforms. Given the age of the carriage, the decision was taken not to repair it. AL1040, along with AL1039, was abandoned at Eveleigh, until being rescued by Canberra Railway Museum. After a long period in storage, restoration began in 2002. The work involved has included recreating the original pressed metal ceilings, red cedar timberwork, and the fine white upholstery. Very little of the original interior was left over from its dental clinic conversion, and this project has been a significant and impressive undertaking by our members and project lead Bob!


BJ class sitting car

Built: 1904

Builder: New South Wales Railways, Eveleigh

Current status: Static display

At a glance, BJ 897 is strikingly similar in appearance to AL1040. But on closer inspection, there are fundamental differences which set the two apart. BJ 897 can trace its origins to the Mann Boudoir Car Company, a carriage manufacturer that first opened its doors in 1883. At their peak, Mann supplied luxury passenger cars for some of the most prestigious trains in the world- chiefly the infamous Orient Express- and were the largest competitor to the Pullman company.

The company was formed by William D’Alton Mann, an American engineer who dabbled in just about everything- upgrading military arms, railcar design, even magazine publication! Mann invented the sleeping compartment (earlier Pullman designs had passengers sleeping in a large shared space), and was also one of the pioneers of the corridor connector, allowing passage between carriages while the train was in motion.

The Mann Boudoir Car Co. didn’t last very long. After becoming part of the Union Palace Car Co. in 1888, it was very quickly bought out by rival company Pullman. The Mann brand fell out of use from 1909, but Mann’s innovations persisted, becoming the new normal.

897 was built in 1904 as an AM class sleeping car, but with the introduction of the TAM sleepers in the 1910s-1920s, was no longer fit for purpose and rebuilt in the 1930s as a BJ first class sitting car. Coming to Canberra Railway Museum in the 1970s, it showcases not only the rivalry between Pullman and Mann, but the fate that befell many turn-of-the-century sleeping cars.


BVJ class lounge car

Built: 1909

Builder: New South Wales Railways, Eveleigh

Current status: Static display

1457 started life as the identical twin of 897- an AM sleeping car. It too was rebuilt in the 1930s as an FJ second class sitting car. In the 1960s it was retired from service, but rather than be scrapped it was retained for a very unusual purpose. It was towed to the railway yards at Sydney, stripped of all its interior fittings, and kitted out with a bar and tables. At each table, a set of seats was installed, identical to those used in dining cars on the NSW network. Finally, the carriage was removed from its bogies and placed on hydraulic jacks, which could simulate the rocking motion of a moving train. It was reclassified as a TCS Hostess Training Car, and was used to train hostesses on carrying food and drinks aboard a moving dining car. It was withdrawn in 1977, and moved to Macdonaldtown sidings for storage, where it was bought by Canberra Railway Museum and returned to working order as a lounge/dining car, given the inauthentic classification of BVJ. After years of regular service on heritage trains, in the early 2010s the now 100-year-old carriage was retired and placed on display.


HCX class guard’s composite

Built: 1914

Builder: Ritchie Brothers, Auburn

Current status: Static display

HCX 632 is the odd-one-out in the museum’s carriage fleet, as the only example of a passenger car without a corridor connector or end platform. Each compartment is entirely self-contained, with doors on either side. This design of carriage, colloquially known as ‘Dogboxes’ due to their resemblance to the starting boxes of greyhound races, was common in the early days of rail travel, but fell out of fashion due to how inconvenient they were for train conductors, and the safety risk to passengers should their means of exit be blocked. 632 would have been one of the last of this type to appear in NSW, but they weren’t replaced outright until the introduction of the FS-type cars in the 1930s.

The carriage was built by Ritchie Brothers, a small manufacturing company specializing in carriages and trams. Based in Auburn in central Sydney, the company ran from 1857 to 1950. As built, 632 was a CX first and second class car, with three compartments for each. The CX’s were notable as the first carriages to provide on-board toilets for second class; previously, second class passengers would have to wait for a station, and hope there wasn’t a queue!

In the 1960s, 632 had three compartments rebuilt into space for luggage and a guard, to be used on mixed-traffic country trains. It was relocated to Goulburn, and was a regular sight on trains to Canberra. Upon withdrawal it was purchased by Canberra Railway Museum and used on heritage trains. Since preservation, it has even made a few appearances in film- first in 1973 in the TV miniseries ‘Seven Little Australians’, and then in 1987 in the film ‘The Year my Voice Broke’, which was filmed at Bungendore station.


TAM class sleeping car

Built: 1929

Builder: New South Wales Railways, Eveleigh

Current status: Static display

TAM 1888 was one of the last of its kind built in 1929, but the TAM 12-wheel cars were first built in 1914. They were the successor to the American-style sleeping cars like AL1040, built to cater for growing demand for sleeper trains. Their 6-wheel bogies not only gave a smoother ride, but allowed the carriages to be longer and hold more people.

TAM sleepers were a common sight on the Canberra branch, as they were used frequently on services to Cooma and Bombala. They were also used by politicians travelling to Parliament. A TAM sleeper would be detached from the Melbourne Limited at Goulburn, and coupled to a Canberra-bound train.

During the Second World War, TAM 1888 was one of several NSWGR passenger cars requisitioned by the Army for the purposes of creating an Ambulance Train, ferrying wounded troops from the docks to inland hospitals. Later in life, TAM 1888 was fitted with electric foot warmers, reclassified XAM 1888, and used on ski traffic to Cooma.


LAN class roomette sleeping car

Built: 1962

Builder: Commonwealth Engineering, Granville

Current status: Static display

LAN 2351, along with other stainless-steel cars, was ordered as a joint venture between the New South Wales Government Railway (NSWGR) and the Victorian Railways (VR), for use on the new Southern Aurora between Sydney and Melbourne. The car has 20 single-bed compartments, arranged in a zig-zag corridor design, with a pair of shower stalls at one end.

In 1969, LAN 2351 was a part of the train involved in the Violet Town Disaster, where the driver of the Southern Aurora suffered a fatal heart attack, failing to slow for a passing freight train and causing the two to collide head on. 9 people lost their lives in the tragic accident.

LAN 2351 would be repaired and returned to work. However, domestic air travel was fast becoming the preferred mode of travel between the two cities. For all the comfort the train provided, it simply couldn’t compete with the speed of an airliner. The Southern Aurora would be amalgamated with the Spirit of Progress and renamed the Sydney/Melbourne Express in 1986, and ceased operating altogether in 1993, replaced with the XPT service that still runs today. The carriages would be sold to various heritage organisations. LAN 2351 provides a look into the “last hurrah” of luxury express trains.

LAN 2351 is kindly on loan to Canberra Railway Museum from VicTrack.


PHA class power van

Built: 1984

Builder: A Goninan & Co.

Current status: Static display

The PHA power vans were introduced in 1984, as a replacement for the 1949-built PHS power vans on long-distance, air-conditioned trains in New South Wales, primarily on the North Coast Line. Like the 1960s-era Southern Aurora cars, they were built from stainless steel.

The PHA vans were used mainly with the steel-bodied HUB/RUB air-conditioned cars of the late 1940s, but were often in the company of fellow stainless steel FAM sleeping cars. They were a common sight on the Brisbane Express and Gold Coast Motorail, but were also seen on the Canberra Express on occasion.

The PHA vans consist of three sections: a large luggage space, a kitchenette/sitting room for the guard, and a generator room equipped with three large generators. The generators were designed by Cummins, and together can produce 125kW- enough for most services, though larger trains like the Southern Aurora made use of the larger and more powerful PHN power vans.