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 buffet section. 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 passing 
 through Burnie on the north west coast
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 east bound Tasman Ltd west of Penguin

The Tasman Ltd running beside Johnsons beach before arriving at Penguin
The Tasman Ltd running beside Johnsons beach before arriving at Penguin

X11 hauls the Tasman Ltd between 
 Penguin and Ulverstone
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 traces the southern shore of Bass Strait near Sulphur Creek between Burnie and Penguin

The Hobart bound Tasman Ltd 
 near Johnsons Beach 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.

M6 with an enthusiasts steam train excursion leaving Devonport
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.

H class steam locomotive with a special 
 train arriving Devonport from Deloraine
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.

M6 and excursion train between
 Ulverstone and Penguin
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
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
M6 and train arriving at Smithton

A CCS class steam locomotive and train on the Don River Railway
A CCS class steam locomotive and train on the Don River Railway at Devonport

Emu Bay Railway Garratt and train arriving at Burnie
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 steam 
 locomotive crossing Penguin Creek
A Tasmanian Q class locomotive and goods train crossing Penguin Creek.

An X Class locomotive built by
 English Electric and goods train leaving Penguin Tasmania
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 towards Burnie

Steam Train & M.V. Abel Tasman Devonport to Burnie
Tasmania Australia November 1987
from reidgck on Vimeo.

Other Pages
The Tasmanian Wilderness Rack Railway
The Workings of a Mt Lyall Abt Steam Locomotive
New South Wales Steam in the 1960s
      Over 50 pictures of operational steam locomotives
The L class Electrics of the Victorian Railways
Some Steam Trains of Australia
Marree: Outback Australia
      Pictures of remains of the town and Dual Gauge remnants
Port Welshpool - Georgetown Seacat Catamaran
      Pictures of the ferry arriving, and at Welshpool
Bass Strait Passenger Ships and Ferries
Bass Strait Passenger Shipping History
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