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Get G33 Moving

G33 newly assembled at Fyansford Cement Works,1946 – Photographer F. Dolder.

G33 to return to steam

This icon of Australia’s rail and wartime heritage arrived at The Bellarine Railway on Friday 31 May 2013

The locomotive has been surveyed and is in remarkably good condition and it is still envisaged that restoration to full operating condition is a very realistic proposition.

Work on the locomotive is being undertaken by a small group of our volunteers, and whilst G33 is in good overall condition many areas have found to need attention.

We need your help to make a return to steam happen.

How

  • All donations over $300 will guarantee the donor a seat on the Official Train when the locomotive returns to service,
  • All donations over $1000 will guarantee the donor a 32km cab ride in the ASG on The Bellarine Railway;
  • All donations over $3000 will guarantee the donor a full day driver experience on the locomotive – where YOU will drive it with a goods train for 32km on The Bellarine Railway.

All donations are tax deductible.

Conceived in the darkest days of World War II the Australian Standard Garratt (or ASG as it came to be known) was designed and built to help Australia’s 3’6” gauge railways meet the ever-increasing traffic brought on by Japan’s march south towards our northern shores.  With only twelve months from the design process to the turning of the first wheel these engines were, to quote one of the design team, possibly the result of “too much being attempted in too little time”.

Unloved by most of the states’ railwaymen and ultimately the subject of a Royal Commission, the ASG only found favour after the war ended – at the Emu Bay Railway in Tasmania and the Fyansford Cement Works in Victoria.

Of the 60 locomotives assembled between 1943 and 1945 as part of the war effort, only one remains – G33, also known as No.3 on the Fyansford Cement Works roster.

Locos lined up at Fyansford on 10/09/66

G33 survives due the generosity of Australian Portland Cement, who donated all six remaining steam locomotives to parks and fledgling preservation groups after the closure of their Fyansford Quarry Railway in 1966.

 

 

In 1968 two of these locomotives, Hudswell Clark No.6 and Vulcan No.4, became the foundation of the Geelong Steam Preservation Society.  Through recent assistance from the Puffing Billy Preservation Society and the efforts of the GSPS, all the steam engines from the Fyansford Cement Works were reunited as part of the Bellarine Railway – except for one!

G33 at the museum.

With the support of the ARHS Victorian Division the GSPS moved G33 from Newport, where the ARHS have been stewards since 1968, to the Bellarine Railway.  This move is not for display purposes but is intended to return G33 (Cement Works No.3) to full operational status.

G33 (also known as No.3) is named the Albert A Gunsser  – after Cement Works driver Bert Gunsser who loved this engine and went on to become a founding member of the Geelong Steam Preservation Society.

Aerial shot

With a weight of 119 tonnes in working order and an overall length of 85’ (25 metres) the move had some significant challenges; the ARHS Museum at Newport has gained many exhibits since 1968 and the only way to get the big Garratt out was over the fence!

Consequently funding is needed for two parts of the project – for the move and for the return to operation.  Anecdotal evidence indicates G33 was fully overhauled prior to being put onto standby status (in case of a possible failure of the works diesel).  The railway closed soon after and a heavy service of all components should see G33 back in steam.

So, if you have a passion to see one of the largest of narrow gauge Garratts in Australia return to steam, the Geelong Steam Preservation Society welcomes your contribution, no matter how large or small.

  • AUD$30,000  – to recover the cost of the “move”
    crane and truck rental based on final invoices received involving lifting “over the fence”.  This was completed on Friday 31st May 2013 but to date (2015) donations are yet to cover the transportation costs outlaid by the Society.
  • AUD$50,000 (estimate) – for return to service
    based on evaluation of locomotive in-situ at Queenscliff as work progresses in moving to a point where it can be reassembled. G33′s return to service date is now subject to the future detailed examination of the boiler at the Bellarine Railway’s Lakers Siding facility – mechanical surveys to date have shown no areas of major concern.

To view photos of G33 taken recently at the museum click here

To download the donation form click here

To donate online click here