Pressure gauge, steam, from locomotive 5913, brass / enamel, maker unknown, possibly in United States of America, used on NSWGR, New South Wales, Australia, 1952
This steam pressure gauge is from the NSW steam locomotive 5913. This locomotive was one of a number purchased in the 1950s by the New South Wales Government Railways to meet the expanding post-war needs for goods haulage. It was one of twenty oil burning lightweight Mikado-type locomotives, with wheel arrangement 2-8-2, purchased from the Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton Corporation of the USA. They were designated the NSW classification D59-class. The locomotives were the company's standard design for developing nations except that they were customised especially for the NSW railways. This involved changes to the locomotive cab and shortening of the tender to enable it turn on small 18.3 metre (60 ft) turntables.
Although ordered following the end of World War II, the first locomotive 5901 did not enter service until 30 August 1952 but all were running by 31 March 1953. The (D) 59-class was initially used on the northern and western lines, but this was restricted due to the fact that they burnt oil (the only locomotives to do so in NSW). With the high cost of oil and the need to provide special storage facilities, it was decided in 1961 to convert most of the class to burn coal, with 17 of the 20 locomotives converted between 1962 and 1966. By 1970 diesels began to replace them with 5910 the last withdrawn from service in December 1970.
Preserved examples of this class are Nos 5908, 5910 and 5916 at the Rail Transport Museum, Thirlmere; No. 5917 at the Lachlan Valley Railway, Cowra; and No. 5920 at the Dorrigo Steam Railway and Museum.
Curator April 2002
Locomotive 5913 was built by the American locomotive manufacturers, Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton in 1952. It had the builder's No.75576. The maker of the pressure gauge is unknown.
Gauges such as this one were commonly seen in locomotive cabs for measuring such things as boiler pressure, compressed air, vacuum pressure, steam chest pressure and steam heating pressure. The gauge comprises a circular white face with black markings of graduated scale to indicate steam pressure up to 300 pounds per square inch. A pointer on the face moves against tension in a spring behind the face, to show the steam pressure in the boiler.
Locomotive 5913, from which the pressure gauge originates, was brought into service for the New South Wales Government Railways as a goods locomotive on 10 February 1953. It traveled 777,508 km during its life and was converted to coal burning in July 1963. The locomotive was withdrawn from service in August 1970 and condemned the following month on 11 September 1970 after 17 years in operation.
This steam gauge from locomotive 5913 was purchased at auction at the Pickles Auction (sale No.755) held at the Goulburn Waterworks Museum on Saturday 8 September 2001. It was Lot 185 and purchased by the Museum for $275.00.
The auction was under instructions from Goulburn City Council and the estate of the late Fred Ricketts and various other vendors.