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Day’s rail tractor (JS Lee & Sons)

Historical Photo Recent Photo

Status: Awaiting restoration

This 3-ft 6-in (1067mm) gauge 4wPM locomotive started life as a standard 3-ft (914mm) gauge 0-6-0PM Day’s rail tractor with an as yet unknown owner at an as yet unknown location.   Around 1947, it was purchased by J. S. Lee & Sons of Leesville in north-west Tasmania and the power plant was replaced, converting it into a 3-ft 6-in gauge 4wPM.  It may have had up to two replacement power plants during its Tasmanian working life and, as it is now, weighs about 4.5 tonnes.  Its main job was to haul sawn timber from the Leesville sawmill 3km along a remnant of the Marrawah Tramway to the TGR sidings at Smithton.  It was also used to shunt TGR wagons around the yard using a pole and a heavy rope.  The loco is powered by a Ford V8 engine driving a large reversing box mounted at the rear of the tractor. Power is transmitted to the rear axle by chain drive, with power being transmitted to the front wheels by an additional chain on the left-hand side of the loco.  In 1974 the mill was closed and the Day’s tractor fell into disuse.  (Many thanks to Tony Coen for information and for permission to include the colour photograph of the locomotive working the yard at Smithton in 1968).