This site was established by Wal Pilz (1927-2016) to share historical information depicted in photos and images of old scenes of the Rylstone District. Wal's belief was that sharing history was the best way to create a living history for Rylstone and the surrounding district. In Wal's memory, the site will continue to operate as an online database and you are invited to contribute images and information. Please comment or email Dan Hatton at email@example.com.
Shay locomotives on the Wolgan Valley railway
Photos: ASHET News October 2014
The railway is approximately 50 km long, linking with the western
line of the NSW Railways at Clarence Junction in the Blue Mountains. It
mainly follows the course of the valley hemmed in by precipitous cliffs.
The choice of locomotives was an important issue. No locomotives in
Australia at the time would be suitable for regular use on the line. Engineer-in-Chief for railway construction in
found that there were several designs of locomotive in service in Europe
and North America that could meet the requirements. His preference was
for the American Shay locomotive which had several desirable features:
it had great hauling power, because the whole of its weight, both engine
and tender, were available for adhesion; unlike conventional locomotives
it was geared, so a very even turning force was applied of the wheels and
it was able to start easily on the ruling grade; it had a very short rigid
wheel base which enabled it to traverse very sharp curves; the length of
the boiler tubes was very short, a little over 3 m, so the difference of
the water in the boiler level in the boiler on steep grade was not serious.
Its only disadvantage was that to avoid excessive vibration, speed must
be limited to around 25km per hour. The Shay locomotive was a unique
design with three cylinders vertically mounted beside the boiler, which
was offset from the centre line of the locomotive. An articulated shaft
and gears transmitted the power to all the wheels on the locomotive and