Rescue of H5 by the Derwent Valley Railway

This page has been added to publicise and hopefully help support the efforts being made by the DVR to restore what I believe to be the ultimate evolution of the type of export locomotives that the Vulcan Foundry excelled in.

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Sister Loo H3 at Vulcan Foundry in 1950               

H5 was a larger, yet lighter and more powerfull version of the famous Nigerian River Class design commonly refered to as a mountain locomotive capable of negotiating 330ft curves with an axle loading of only 13 tons.

After relatively light use on the Tasmanian Railways due to dieselisation H5 has spent the last 27 years sat stationary on a solitary piece of track outside of a strawberry farm and has just been rescued by the DVR with the intention a restoring her to full running order.


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H5 has rested for 28 years outside a Tasmanian strawberry farm


13th December 2007  


On Saturday (15th December 2007) the Derwent Valley Railway will transport a 66 ton steam locomotive from Hillwood to New Norfolk. Members, sponsors and friends of the DVR have raised over $25,000 to purchase and transport the locomotive.

Locomotive H 5 was built in England and entered service with the Tasmanian Government Railways in 1951. The gradual proliferation of diesel-electric power and decline in the number of train services eventually reduced the need for reliance on steam and a few of the H engines were stored in the early 1960s.

H 5 gained a rest from normal work in 1965 and was stored at Devonport until 1968.

During the lead-up to the Centenary of Tasmanian Railways in February 1971,   H 5 was made ready for service to take part in the celebrations. H 5 hauled many passenger trains during the week-long celebration period.

Following the Centenary the T.G.R. commenced an overhaul of H 5’s boiler as a back-up incase the new diesel locomotives for log traffic on the Bell Bay Line did not arrive in time.

H 5 subse­quently remained stored in the Round-house at Launceston and came under the ownership of Australian National Railways when it fully took possession of the State railway network in July 1978.

The last of the Tasmanian steam locomotive fleet was offered for sale by tender in 1979 and H 5 was purchased by Hillwood Strawberry Farm. After being towed to Bell Bay, H 5 was transported by road to the farm and mounted on a section of track as a promotional draw-card. She has remained there for the last 28 years.

The locomotive was offered to the DVR as a preferred option to selling it for scrap. The DVR was not running trains at the time and did not have the income to purchase H 5.

A new member of the DVR,Derek Jones was passionate about saving the locomotive and started a fundraising programme. He was successful in raising the money required in a very short time.

H 5 will be lifted and loaded at sunrise, travel down the Midlands Highway and unloaded at New Norfolk Station at midday. The locomotive will be stored at New Norfolk for impending restoration. Federal Member for Lyons, Dick Adams and Transport Minister, Martin Ferguson granted $50,000 to commence restoration.

The DVR still remains optimistic about the future of Tasmania’s rail system and looks forward to recommencing tourist passenger operations, ideally to celebrate New Norfolk’s Bi-centenary in 2008.

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H5 in July 2007

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H5 with cosmetic paint job
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DVR members who carried out all the preparatory work (left to right) Damian Jarvis, Lyndon Hewitt, Derek Jones, John McDevitt, Geoff Clayton.

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H5 moves for the first time in 28 years on the 15th December 2008 on a 250km trip to New Norfolk


As planned, H 5 and tender were loaded onto separate trucks and departed at daybreak Saturday, although the move went very smoothly the 250KM journey made it a long day.

The trip to New Norfolk went uneventfully and H5 was offloaded at New Norfolk at about 3PM.