Sunday, April 1, 2012


One of the more interesting locos that operated on the NSW rail ,if only for a very short time came about from the tragic accident  that occurred west of Parkes at Mellelea on the 26th October 1974 .
2  locos  where involved in a head on with the up freight headed by 4476 coming in to cross the stationary down freight headed by 4478.Both locos where No 1 end leading and the forces involved ensured that both locos where write off 's.
On removal from the accident site the locos were sent to Cardiff workshops where the they could be assessed and stored safely from the public's gaze, from what was an embarrassing incident for the Railways.
After inspecting the damaged locos the plan was to cannibalize the damaged locos for any usable parts from what where 2 relatively new locos with 4476 entering service on 18-11-66 and 4478 on 23-1-67 .
Then the staff decided it would be better to use the locos as the basis for a hybrid loco which would combining the two undamaged No 2 ends to create a box cab loco similar to the newly introduced 422 and 442 class of locos.
As the loco's had already been written off the project was undertaken as a fill in with work taking place only when time allowed.And also as no official permission had been granted for the project the work was a closely guarded secret in the Cardiff workshops.
The loco eventually became a reality and it was a very proud staff that saw the loco completed and numbered 44101 to represent a new class of loco if only one strong.
The loco shared all the same equipment and specifications of the 44 class from which it came from.
The trials for the loco had to be keep secret until its existence could be made official.So under the cover of darkness the loco ventured out of the workshops onto NSW rails for the first and what would be the last time .
Arrangement's had been made to trial the loco on the neighboring Richmond Vale Railway system .
The loco performed faultlessly reaching Minmi Junction. Before after some minor adjustments the loco set out for the return journey.Unfortunately the higher than normal axle load of the new loco had caused damage to the track on the outbound leg which had gone unnoticed in the darkness and as it retraced its path tragedy struck with the track spreading under the weight of the loco and sending it toppling off the embankment and into the waters on the Hexam Swamp.

                                                            Location of 44101

Luckily no serious injuries occurred (Apart from the results of serious attacks from the Hexam Greys ) and as the crew and Cardiff workshop staff on board the loco scrambled to safety,the engine began to settle into the  soft mud of the swamp ,finally coming to rest parallel to the tracks and laying on its side nearly fully submerged.
By next morning accident crews where on site where plans could be made to retrieve 44101 from its resting place.
Due to the narrow embankment ,lightly layed line and inaccessibility of the site, the heavy lifting cranes required could not be used .And as investigations of how to extract the loco became more complicated the 110 ton loco settled further into the mud becoming fully submerged and firmly stuck in the muddy bottom making any hope of retrieval impossible.
On a field trip to the site in Dec 2011 no trace could be seen of 44101 but small traces of oil or diesel could be seen rising to the surface marking its resting place very much like the USS ARIZONA at PEARL HARBOUR.During the drought the loco may have been visible but this chance is lost for the moment.

With this information I set about making a model of this unique loco.I haven't been able to uncover any drawing or photos so the model is based on what I think it would of looked like.
Using 2 Lima 44's cut and joined, detailed, painted an numbered then mated to a dummy version of the Lima chassis using the 2 unpowered bogies.

                                                A triple unit lash up American style A+B+A
                                This combo ran at the Canberra and Hobsons Bay Exhibition when
                                 BOLIVIA was displayed with no comment !

                                          The loco used as a conventional loco on its own

                                      44101 makes an interesting addition to the loco fleet and as
                                      an ALCO would of found its way to Bolivia.

I would be pleased to hear from anyone who has any additional information and hopefuly some photos of this very unique loco.


  1. G'day Rowan,

    Interesting to see another model of this widely unheard of locomotive!

    It would appear that there were some other "rare" oddities floating around years ago as well.

    AN 970 Class

    V.R. SB Class


  2. Gee, I remember seeing 44101 on April 1st 1975 not long after it was done. Man it looked different.

    Cheers Justin Moy

    1. Justin ,did you happen to get a picture ????

    2. Rowan,

      I had a little bit of trouble holding up a Camera. It is that blurry you can't really see anything. I was only 2 years old at the time.:-) Justin

  3. Boy, how my memory is failing. I was a signalman there about that time, and I thought the accident was between a Garrett and a Standard Goods.
    Just goes to show, I can't tell the difference between a steam engine and a diesel engine.

  4. Jim
    Old age can be a real bastard !
    Your memory may be letting you down,dont let that worry you .
    The main thing is that you can still remember that $100 you owe me.
    You do remember the $100 dont you ????? or was it $200 ?

    1. Rowan
      No I can't remember owing anybody any money, but if you say so, I give you an IOU at next time I see you.

  5. Rowan,
    Just had a flash back.
    You owe me the $100 for those 2 Lima Loco I sold you.
    I see on the Internet that they are going to drain that swamp for the F3 extension to cut across country and join up at Hexam and bypass the roundabout.

    1. That's in a different location Jim, some kilometers north west of where that loco now lays. Interesting story about 44101 which I was not aware of previously. Did a trek from Minmi along the then still used coal railway from Stockrington to Hexham loco shed back in 1983, which was very interesting as there were still many of the old non-air coal hoppers parked on the track duplication and sidings just before reaching the loco shed at Hexham which still had a couple of SMR 10 class steam loco's stored there. I often visit this site due to the exceptional modelling abilities of the owner. Well done!