M and MA Class

To supplement the earlier and larger R class, and to enable the elderly A and B classes from mainline services, ten modern although light weight passenger locomotives were ordered as part of the post was reconstruction of the TGR.

The M class were built by Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn in 1952, and were based on the Indian and Burmese YB classes. The class initially worked trains of all types over the major lines mostly in the north of the state, although most of their use was on passenger and mixed trains. Due to the ongoing reduction in passenger services, in 1957/58 four locomotives had their 4' 7" driving wheels replaced with surplus 4' 0" Australian Standard Garratt wheels and were reclassified MA. This enable better operation on the steeply graded sections, particularly the North East Line, where the decrease in maximum speed was less of an issue.

Despite total steam locomotive operation declining during the 1960ís, suburban and tour workings out of Hobart allowed most of the M and MA locomotives to stay in service, although M1, M2 and MA3 had been stored by the mid 1960s. The 1971 TGR centenary celebrations, when six of the ten M/MA class locomotives (M3, M4, M5, M6, MA2 & MA4) were operational, was the finale for the type as a few months later all operational M/MA locos were withdrawn simultaneously. M3 was later reinstated to service and spent several years working tour and suburban passenger trains, before being withdrawn in October 1975.

All ten of the locomotives have been preserved to some extent, with four locomotives having seen further service

In October 1960, the locomotives were allocated as follows: M1, M6 and MA4 - Out of traffic at Launceston; M2 and M3 - Devonport, M4 - Smithton, M5, MA1 and MA3 - In service at Launceston and MA2 - Herrick


Builder: Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn
Type: 4-6-2 Tender
Intended use: Mixed traffic
Introduced: 1952 (M), 1957 (MA)
Number in class: 6 (M), 4 (MA)
Boiler pressure: 180 psi
Total Weight: 96t 12c
2 cylinder superheated

Original M
Class numbers
Final M/MA
M1 MA2
M2 MA4
M3 M3
M4 M4
M5 M5
M6 MA3
M7 M1
M8 MA1
M9 M6
M10 M2

Preservation - M Class

M1 - Derwent Valley Railway, New Norfolk (formerly in a park at Ross)
M2 - Tanfield Steam Railway, Gateshead upon Tyne, England (formerly in a park at Stanley)
M3 - Don River Railway, Devonport
M4 - Don River Railway, Devonport
M5 - Tasmanian Transport Museum, Glenorchy, Tasmania
M6 - Bellarine Peninsula Railway, Queenscliff, Victoria

Preservation - MA Class

MA1 - Derwent Valley Railway, New Norfolk (formerly in a park at Granton)
MA2 - Don River Railway, Devonport
MA3 - Park, Margate
MA4 - Don River Railway, Devonport

Picture: MA4 on a North East Line special passenger train, 13 March 1966
© ARHS Tasmania Collection

MA4, 13 March 1966, ARHS Tas Collection

Class images, sounds and video

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