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Vicsteam.com | To build and operate a Victorian Railways, Vauclain compound cylinder, V class, 2-8-0.

About the VSLC

Project Aim:

To build and operate a Victorian Railways, Vauclain compound cylinder, V class, 2-8-0. The locomotive is to be numbered V499 after the class leader, however it is intended to be a representation of the V class collectively rather than a replica of this original Baldwin locomotive. This will allow the VSLC to have the locomotive in up to four different liveries, from Baldwin green to plain black, if we wishes to alter as time goes by.

V499 has been chosen for the running number so that it does not conflict with the members of the 1954 built J class — The 500 series of locomotive numbering on the VR; And there are several working examples of this class. The 400 series was eventually given to the 2-8-2 N class, and the V class were given the road numbers 200-215 after the entire network underwent renumbering in the 1920s. There was suggestions that as it is a brand new locomotive it should, by ‘railway law’ have its own identity such as V497 or V531. However, V499 was chosen because this was the first large locomotive on the VR system and it can be said that it changed the size of future locomotives built in Victoria, and was the fore-runner to the further development of the 2-8-0 design, this being seen from the 1913 built C class right up to the 1954 built J class, the very last class of steam locomotives to be built for the Victorian Railways.

Why a V class?

Here in Victoria most railway enthusiasts that you talk to say “If I had the money, I would build an S class!” Well, as much as that would be a brilliant locomotive to build and indeed a very exciting project, the VSLC firmly believe that the secret to success of constructing a first, newly built, steam locomotive is to be realistic and choose a different class type that is not too big and complicated, yet is unique and missing in the preservation of steam. The V class is one of the many steam locomotives that is missing in VR preservation. The VSLC has been inspired by the success of the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust and their famous A1 locomotive Tornado, 60163. There are also many other new build projects that are currently underway in the UK such as BR 4-6-2 Clan ‘Hengist’ 72010, an LNER G5 0-4-4, LMS 4-6-0 Patriot 45551 ‘The Unknown Warrior’, BR 3MT 2-6-2T 82045, and many more.

All in all there are over a dozen new build/conversion projects. Many people may well say “Well the population is far greater there than here in Australia, and then that is broken down even further state by state.” Yes, there are far more people in the UK and many railway enthusiasts, however that is a very long list of newly built locomotives, which probably amounts to around ₤50m collectively in today’s money, and that is not including Tornado and other supporters of steam locomotives that have been saved out of British Railway’s service!

What is unique about V499?

It is all very well and good to say that the V class is a unique locomotive to build, and of course it is, however what is it that actually makes it so appealing to supporters who are, or are thinking of, donating to the project? Well, listed below is what the VSLC believes gives the V499 project its true uniqueness:

• The V class were the first 2-8-0s on the VR system, the forerunner for many other 2-8-0 designs to come.

• They were the only class of 2-8-0s that did not survive into preservation.

• They were right side drive locomotives.

• They were Vauclain compounds.

• The class was reported to be very popular with crews, free steaming and capable of operating everywhere.

• V499 will be the only operating Vauclain compound locomotive in the Southern Hemisphere.

• V499 will be the only Baldwin designed locomotive running on 5’ 3” broad gauge track.

• Rather than preserving the 1950s & 60s, as a majority of the heritage railways do, V499 will be recreating the 1900s.

• V499 will be a ‘crowd puller’ and a very versatile locomotive for tourist railways.

• V499 can operate on all broad gauge tourist railways due to its light axel loading of 12t 12ctw and short wheel base.

• Many V class and NA class (Puffing Billy locomotives) parts are either identical or very similar.