Perry Locomotive “Chiverton” sold to Timbertown

PHR announces the results of the EOI for disposal of Perry steam locomotive and tender:

With a more than a little reluctance, Pete’s Hobby Railway is however pleased to announce that Timbertown Wauchope is the successful applicant for purchase of PHR’s Perry-built steam locomotive. Under the provisions of the Expression of Interest, Timbertown has exercised its option to also acquire the Hudswell Clarke bogie tender. Accordingly, the locomotive (and tender) will remain in Australia.

Image 2017.4840: General view of Perry locomotive with tender.

Timbertown LogoTimbertown, located outside Wauchope on the mid North Coast of NSW, is a re-creation of an 1880-1910 working timber settlement, being officially opened to the public in December 1976. Originally owned and operated by the local Hastings Shire Council, the park continued to grow with many additional attractions – however, the operating 2.4km narrow gauge railway has always been a principal attraction. The current owners (who regard themselves as “custodians of the site” took over from Council in June 2010 and has since set about upgrading and improving the location.

I have a personal connection with Timbertown as back around 1980 or so, I spent some six weeks as a volunteer there, doing my “hours” on the railway so as to gain the required practical experience so as to be able to sit for my Boiler Attendant and Steam Driver’s Ticket.

PHR had announced the calling of Expressions of Interest on 23rd April last for the disposal of the 2-ft/610mm gauge 0-6-2T steam locomotive built in 1938 by the Perry Engineering Co., of South Australia – serial number 6771.38.1.

Image 2020.068: Other side of Perry locomotive.

Formerly working at the Kalamia Sugar Mill in North Queensland as “Chiverton” and after being on static display in a local park for some years, the locomotive was purchased in 1975. A number of parts went missing either before placement in the park or during its time there.

Of the thirteen 2-ft gauge locomotives constructed by the Company, 11 were of the 0-6-2T wheel arrangement and two were 0-4-2T wheel arrangement, all but two are understood to be still in existence in museums or privately owned. This locomotive is the second oldest to be built, in 1938. The oldest, dating to 1934, is also in private preservation. Another is currently in operating condition at the Lake Macquarie Light Railway at Toronto NSW (plus another, intact, but not currently operational), while another fully restored locomotive is located at the Illawarra Light Railway Museum, Albion Park NSW. This latter locomotive is currently undergoing commercial boiler repairs financed under a Transport Heritage NSW grant.

“Chiverton” is not in operating condition and will require considerable works to make it so. It is no longer fitted with its original side tanks and these are not available. There are no cab fittings, pressure or water gauges, wash-out plugs, steam turbo-generator or injectors fitted to the locomotive. While the boiler is understood to be repairable, but requiring a total retube, no guarantees in this regard were given by PHR in the EOI brochure and prospective bidders had been advised to satisfy themselves in this regard.

An original builder’s plate from the locomotive is included in the sale, as is the original headlight casing including glass.

Under the terms of the Expressions of Interest, Timbertown had the first refusal on a separately offered bogie tender originally used behind PHR’s Fowler-built locomotive “Perth”, originally from the Colonial Sugar Refining Co’s Victoria Mill in North Queensland. The tender, which also is in poor condition, has no direct link to the Perry locomotive, but could be rebuilt to allow the Perry to operate as a tender-type engine rather than its originally constructed tank type. Timbertown has exercised this option to acquire the tender.

Image 2020.0702: Timbertown has exercised its option to acquire this tender, in conjunction with its purchase of the locomotive.

As a part of a future restoration project, the locomotive (and tender) will need to be modified to operate over Timbertown’s 595mm gauge track.

Expressions of Interest had been received from around Australia as well as the United Kingdom. In addition to the EOI being promoted directly by way of the PHR web page and various specialist narrow gauge Facebook pages, the proposed sale received coverage in the local “Light Railways” magazine published by the Light Railway Research society of Australia and the UK-based “Narrow Gauge World” magazine, the latter giving the EOI world-wide exposure.

Moneys received from the sale of “Chiverton” will be allocated towards the completion of the restoration to working order of PHR’s 1900 vintage 0-6-0T Fowler steam locomotive.

The images accompanying this Report were a few of those forwarded to those who had lodged Expressions of interest.

I congratulate Timbertown on its acquisition and look forward to the time when the Perry will again be steamed to earn its living.

SM Loftus (and former Perry Locomotive owner)

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