Featured Locomotive for May 2011

The Baldwin 0-4-0ST (Saddle Tank) shunter

This month we will look at a rather unglamorous loco. The Baldwin 0-4-0ST (Saddle Tank) shunter - an unenviable job but vital to the transport of goods.

Sandfly, as our subject was known, was built in 1886 in Philadelphia to the order of C & E Millar Bros. She was taken over by South Australian Railways in 1890. Being classified as No. 107 of Class NA and transferred to Commonwealth Railways 1st January 1911. She spent the bulk of the rest of her life at Darwin shunting on the docks. She was retired in 1950. Perhaps her most exciting episode was in 1942. On Thursday 19th February 1942 the first air raid took place on Australian soil. On the 15th March there was a spectacular raid on the Darwin Railway Station and the nearby fuel storage tanks.

The Cable Car

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When the raid was over it was realised that Sandfly and another engine were trapped on the far side of a stream of petrol flowing across the track. The men feared that both locos would be destroyed, Sandfly was cold - no fire, but the other engine had a head of steam; this engine was going to loose shunt Sandfly through the stream of petrol. The two engines were pulled back, then the live engine pushed as hard as it could letting Sandfly fly through the petrol stream under its own momentum. Fred Robertson later realised his close shave with death, as one spark from Sandfly's wheels would have produced a fireball.

Sandfly in retirement has had a number of homes, Adelaide mainly but now back in Darwin.

During most of Sandfly's life she had a stovepipe chimney, pictures show her with no headlights, a very big headlight, a middle size headlight with and without spark arresters.

Sandfly's particulars are :
  • Driving wheels 28 inch (711mm)
  • 2 Cylinders, Bore/stroke 8in (204mm) x 12in (305mm)
  • Valves - Stephenson
  • Steam pressure 140psi (938kpa)
  • Tractive effort 3270lbs (1486kg)
  • Capacity - Coal 0.4ton (204kg)
        - Water 320gal (1500L)
  • Length overall 18.5ft (8.75m)
  • Max weight 9.5 ton (9.670kg)
  • Axel load 4.5 ton (4.580kg)
  • Builders' number 7860
  • Gauge 3ft 6in (1067mm)

Our model 'Ida' is a copy of the standard Baldwin 0-4-0ST locomotive of the period, like Sandfly she is live steam and can, on occasion, be a bolter. The scale is 1:20.3 (15mm to 1 foot). Fuel is Butane. Unlike Sandfly the cab is metal and removable. Cheap locos like Sandfly usually had wooden cabs.

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