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Malcolm Moore rail tractor no 23

Historical Photo
Recent Photo

Status: Static Display

The ballast and buffing weight displayed at the ATT is all that remains of the first locomotive used on the Rubicon hydro-electric scheme.  This locomotive was built by Malcolm Moore at its Port Melbourne workshops and assigned builder’s number 23.  It was powered by a Fordson tractor unit powering the loco’s rear axle by a drive from the tractor rear axle (covered by the large sheet-iron covers at the rear of the loco).  The rear axle was then coupled to the front axle via a roller chain.  Only the normal Fordson gearbox was used, so the loco had three speeds in forwards but only one in reverse.  Very little of the tractor was wasted – even the rear mudguards were used to form part of the cab.  The locomotive was in use during construction of the scheme, and for many years afterwards was used to haul trains on the raceline maintenance tramway.  Being difficult to start, it was not well liked by its operators, and was eventually replaced by a Malcolm Moore “1000” series locomotive powered by a Ford V8 engine.  This was a much more sophisticated unit and, except for the cab and the colour, identical to Malcolm Moore 1049 on display at the Alexandra Timber Tramway.  Malcolm Moore No.23 was consigned to the scrapheap and its driver at the time, Ernie Le Brun, was glad to see it go.

Because the heavy cast iron weights fitted to the locomotive front and rear made re-railing the locomotive difficult (and derailments were relatively frequent), Ernie had them removed while the locomotive was still in service.  One of these weights slid down the hillside and thus escaped being sold off as scrap.  Some years ago it was rediscovered by an SEC employee near the top of the haulage at Rubicon, and has been kindly donated for display at the ATT.