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Kelly & Lewis 0-6-0DM 4271 of 1935

Historical Photo
Recent Photo

Status: Operational

The tramway between Rubicon and Alexandra was opened in 1912 by the Rubicon Lumber & Tramway Company, and was operated by small steam locomotives until 1935, when the lease on the line was to be renegotiated.  The Rubicon Lumber Company was outbid by rival sawmillers Clark & Pearce, and the line changed hands.  The new lease was to take effect at the beginning of summer, when steam was to be banned on the tramway for the first time because of the fire risk.  Geo. W. Kelly & Lewis Pty Ltd of Springvale, Melbourne, was commissioned to build an 0-6-0 diesel locomotive.  The locomotive weighed ten tons and was powered by a four-cylinder Dorman-Ricardo diesel engine.  It was painted green, and carried the builder's number 4271.  It was the first diesel locomotive to be built in Victoria, and cost £2750.

The locomotive entered service on Monday 3 December 1935.  A special ceremony was held at Rubicon on Saturday 14 December, at which the locomotive was named "The Pioneer" by Mrs. Dobson, wife of the Alexandra Shire President.  A second locomotive (5957, painted maroon) was purchased in 1936.  The tramway on which this pair of highly successful diesel locomotives ran was closed in 1947, and the locomotives were retired.  In 1985, the Alexandra Timber Tramway & Museum was incorporated as the successor to the Alexandra & District Historical Society.  Locomotive 4271 was vested in the new body, and finally returned to service on 12 December 1993.