Memories of the Tasman Ltd.|
Tasmania's Last Regular Long Distance Passenger Train
The Tasman Ltd was the last regular long distance passenger train in Tasmania and
was hauled by
1 or 2 "X" class diesel electric locomotives, of 660 HP (about 450 KW)
built by English Electric.
These locomotives and had six in line cylinders and two four wheel bogies
with all axles powered with electric motors with power from the main generator
driven by the engine.
The locomotives were introduced to the Tasmanian Government
Railways system in the early 1950s.
There were originally 32 of these three foot six inch gauge lococomotives in
this class but five were later modified and fitted with higher capacity engines and
numbered Xa 1 to 5.
This also made them more
compatable when double heading with the later introduced more powerful Y class.
The Tasmanian Government Railways X class,
were the first examples of 'main line diesel electric locomotives
to operate in Australia.
They replaced a large number of steam locomotives.
Later, the newer Y class diesel was sometimes used on the Tasman Ltd.
In busier times, extra cars were included and the trains often ran with two articulated
cars and a conventional car as well as the two regular vans.
On such occasions, an extra locomotive was added.
The train operated between Hobart in the south, and Wynyard on the north west coast.
There were in fact two similar trains with each making a one way journey on the
operating days, being Mondays to Saturdays.
Four articulated carriages were especially built for the service, with each having a
Two more that were planned were never built.
An articulated car, is in fact two cars with each permanently sharing a central bogie
which means there were three bogies for two cars rather than four.
Three of these cars are now under the care of the Derwent Valley
Railway near Hobart while another is part of a market at Margate south
of Hobart together with other cars and an MA class steam locomotive.
The part of the journey between Ulverstone and Wynyard, was particularly
scenic as the railway was constructed very close to the shores of Bass
Strait due to the hilly nature of the inland in that area.
The Tasman Ltd operated from 1953 until the end of July 1978.
Also on this page, there are some pictures of steam Locomotive M6
on an enthusiasts excursion in 1963. Included in the consist
of this train is one of the articulated cars built for
the Tasman Ltd service.
Most pictures below have been reproduced from color slides.
Click here for first picture (Pictures can be clicked on
to advance to next)
Video: Steam Train and M.V. Abel Tasman to Burnie
The Wynyard bound Tasman Ltd with X17 in the lead passing
through Burnie on the north west coast. (X20 and X3 are now preserved in operating condition
on the Bellarine Peninsula Railway in Victoria).
The east bound Tasman Ltd west of Penguin
The Tasman Ltd running beside Johnsons beach before arriving at Penguin
Back in 1963, still in the days of telegraph wires, telegrams and operater
connected trunk line telephone calls,
the then main Bass Highway, the railway and the telegraph wires, jostled for position
near the edge of Bass Strait
while X11 hauled the Hobart bound Tasman Ltd between Penguin and Ulverstone past
the page author's Morris Minor complete with Victorian registration plates after
a voyage across Bass Strait aboard the Princess of Tasmania.
The Hobart bound Tasman Ltd traces the southern shore of
Bass Strait near Sulphur Creek between Burnie and Penguin
The Hobart bound Tasman Ltd is increased in length for
an Australia day holiday weekend early 1960s. It is here seen
approaching Penguin before Johnsons beach. The area to the left
has now been filled and is the site of the Penguin caravan park.
Steam locomotive M6 which is now on the Bellarine Peninsula Railway in Victoria,
is seen here departing Devonport with an enthusiasts from Victoria steam train excursion
which travelled to Smithton and down the West Coast hauled on that part
by an Australian Standard Garratt.
One of the articulated carriages built for the Tasman Ltd service is included
in this train.
The front of the bow of the Princess of Tasmania
berthed in the Mersey River over at East Devonport, can just be seen on
the left of the picture.
The train above, with steam Locomotive H5 in charge, is arriving at Devonport
from Deloraine. Here where the H loco will be exchanged for M6 shown in the other pictures.
From Deloraine, a CCS loco
had been used for a
run on the branch line to Mole Creek and back to Deloraine.
Motorcaded by a VW micro bus leading a string of other motorised vehicles,
M6 and the excursion train it is hauling, progresses west bound between Ulverstone
and Penguin. This is near the place where
the East bound Tasman Ltd was photographed in picture 4
M6 shunting its train at Smithton. The two tone blue external swing door car is from
the then privately operated
Emu Bay Railway and was swapped at Burnie for the goods brake van seen in other pictures.
M6 and train arriving at Smithton
A CCS class steam locomotive and train on the Don River Railway
An Emu Bay Railway, Australian Standard Garratt ( ASG ) and train from the west coast,
crossing the Bass Highway before
arriving at Burnie about 1959. This level crossing has long been replaced with a
road overpass and the Garratt has unfortunately, long passed into extinction.
A Tasmanian Q class locomotive and goods train crossing Penguin Creek.
With distinctive Mount Montgomery in the background, a goods train pulled by two
X class diesel Electric locomotives, eases out of Penguin rail yards
in the background, and over the Penguin Creek as it departs and heads
Steam Train & M.V. Abel Tasman Devonport to Burnie
Tasmania Australia November 1987
from reidgck on Vimeo.