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And so arriving at the Museum in a torrential downpour - "I thought that you were in a car" ...ed - I finally find the first of these rather ethereal steam trains, parked - or maybe "stationed" is a much better word - right outside the front door.

0-4-0 saddle tank steam locomotive 151 nova scotia museum of industry canada october octobre 2010

This is a rather impressive narrow-gauge 0-4-0 saddle tank. Saddle tank of course because the water is in the saddle over the top of the boiler, and the 0-4-0 configuration meaning that there are no wheels on any front bogie, four driving wheels coupled together, and no wheels on any rear bogie.

There is no tender, a small supply of coal being kept at the back of the cab. It's therefore been built for just short range operation where there is plenty of coal to hand, and the small driving wheels imply that it's been built for heavy loads, quick acceleration but a low top speed.

A yard shunter, anyone? Well, we are in what was formerly a major coalmining area with plenty of coal on hand and there would be plenty of freight marshalling yards around here.

Subsequent enquiries revealed that it was not quite a yard shunter, and not from around here either. It was built for the Dominion Steel and Coal Company in Sydney and used for pulling train-loads of steel ingots around their works. It dates from 1942 and this would seem to make it one of the last steam locomotives built in the country.

0-4-0 saddle tank steam locomotive 151 narrow gauge nova scotia museum of industry canada october octobre 2010

I went for a look around it to see what I could see. First thing that I noticed was what it is carrying plate number 151 from the Montreal Locomotive Works, so it was that company which presumably built it

There's another plate on the boiler "The American Locomotive Company boiler grade". Ahhh - ALCO. We've encountered them before haven't we? The Montreal Locomotive Company and ALCO participated in the construction of the 141-R locomotives that were shipped to France after World War II and ALCO built the Big Boy steam locomotives, said by some to be the largest steam locomotives in the world and one of which we saw in Wyoming in 2002 . What a small world.

0-4-0 baldwin saddle tank steam locomotive narrow gauge nova scotia museum of industry canada october octobre 2010

What is disappointing about this exhibit is that there didn't seem to be anything displayed to tell me what it might be. It's all very well making assumptions and then making further enquiries if there is something to start with, but in this case there is nothing at all to go on.

Ordinarily I would have pored over it looking for makers' plates and the like. Something like that might have given me more of a clue to follow up at a later date but I was running short of time. The staff at the museum had already indicated that the place was about to close and so I was in rather an indecent hurry.

I shall just have to give you a couple of hundred words of complete speculation and if you would like to make any comments on what it is that I am writing, please . I'll be happy to receive your comments.

0-4-0 baldwin saddle tank steam locomotive narrow gauge nova scotia museum of industry canada october octobre 2010

First thing to look at is the width of the track - the gauge. It's not standard gauge like most mainline rail networks, but narrow gauge. It is therefore likely to be an industrial locomotive of some description from a private rail network.
It has outside cylinders as you can see. This configuration is easier to maintain than if the cylinders were inside
It is another locomotive with 0-4-0 wheel configuration and the fact that it has very small driving wheels implies that power and acceleration were favoured at the expense of top speed

0-4-0 baldwin saddle tank steam locomotive narrow gauge nova scotia museum of industry canada october octobre 2010

Look at the size of the rear platform. There isn't much room for coal on there and so it clearly isn't expected to travel far under its ... err ... own steam. It does need to be somewhere where coal is abundant and very close to hand. You can't run very far with a shovel-load of coal.
The paintwork and the colour scheme are very suggestive too. It's quite similar to the colour scheme of 151 - the locomotive that is outside the museum. Could this locomotive also have come from the Dominion Steel and Coal Company?

Now that I have filled you up with speculation and all of that, let me tell you what I subsequently managed to find out about the locomotive. It was build by Baldwin's of Philadelphia in 1917 and carries fleet n°5.

It is from the Dominion Steel and Coal Company as I suspected, but from their Trenton site just down the road. Bizarrely, while it is a narrow-gauge locomotive like 151 outside, it's built to 30-inch gauge whereas the stock at Sydney was built to 36-inch.

Now just imagine that? One company with a couple of industrial plants with rail networks, and both networks operating to different gauges. I'm all for standardisation, for the ease of transferring stock about the company as and when necessary and for the keeping of an easy-to-manage store of spare parts. With the set-up that they had, they needed two lots of spares for many items and of course they couldn't transfer locomotives and rolling stock from one site to the other

By the way, these aren't all the steam locomotives in the tender - "groan" ...ed - care of the Museum. There's another one that is worthy of much more comment, and quite a few that are not on display to the public, one of which is probably the most controversial steam locomotive in the world.

But don't worry. If you follow these pages, I have a little suprise for you.

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page last modified 13:32 - 22nd August 2011
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