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Day's Tractor ex Cheetham Salt

Cheetham Cheetham

Status: Awaiting restoration

W. Day & Sons is believed to have constructed its first light railway locomotive in 1926.  From then until the mid 1940s, the firm appears to have built at least fifty locomotives at its premises in South Melbourne, of which roughly half were four-wheel locomotives and roughly half were six-wheel locomotives like the restored Day’s rail tractor formerly operated by Ruoak Timbers.  Of the four-wheel locomotives, ten were 2-ft (610mm) gauge locomotives similar to this one.  Today, only two survive, a complete example at the Puffing Billy Railway Museum at Menzies Creek, and this example.

This 2-ft gauge 4wPM locomotive is believed to have been formerly used by Cheetham Salt, possibly at the Moolap works near Geelong and, eventually, going to Tasmania.  It ended up at the Redwater Creek Steam & Heritage Society at Sheffield, where it was surplus to requirements and was donated to the Alexandra Timber Tramway.  The Day’s tractor is complete as a rolling chassis but is minus the engine (an International tractor unit similar to that on our ex-Ruoak six-wheeled Day’s tractor).  We are now on the lookout for a suitable engine unit to enable the restoration of this rail tractor to operating condition.