Broadmeadow Locomotive Depot

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Broadmeadow Locomotive Depot
Location Broadmeadow, New South Wales
Coordinates 32°55′35.6″S 151°43′35.60″E / 32.926556°S 151.7265556°E / -32.926556; 151.7265556Coordinates: 32°55′35.6″S 151°43′35.60″E / 32.926556°S 151.7265556°E / -32.926556; 151.7265556
Owner(s) Transport for New South Wales
Operator(s) FreightCorp
Depot code(s) 2
Type Twin roundhouse
Roads 2 x 21 undercover
Routes served Main Northern
Opened 1924
Closed 24 December 1994

Broadmeadow Locomotive Depot (NSW depot number 2) was a large locomotive depot consisting of two roundhouse buildings and associated facilities constructed by the New South Wales Government Railways adjacent to the marshalling yard on the Main Northern line at Broadmeadow. Construction of the locomotive depot at Broadmeadow commenced in 1923 to replace the existing crowded loco sheds at Woodville Junction at Hamilton, with the depot opening in March 1924.[1][2]

Original facilities[edit]

NSWR drawing of the concrete drop panel construction Chargeman's office at Broadmeadow Loco Depot 1923
The concrete drop panel construction District Locomotive Engineer's Office

Original facilities provided include a single manually operated 23 m (75 ft) diameter turntable with 42 radiating roads. Twenty one of these roads were covered by a wooden framed roundhouse building clad in corrugated sheeting. All 21 roads in the roundhouse had 18 m (60 ft) long pits, radial drop pits were fitted to all 21 roads. Two elevated 227,300 l (50,000 imp gal) tanks fed three 229 mm (9 in) diameter water columns. An office for the District Locomotive Engineer (referred to as the DLE) was constructed using concrete drop panels.[3] An office building for the Superintendent, Steam Shed Inspector, Timkeepers & Clerks was built near the water tanks[4] along with a rest barracks for crews from other depots that was located near the depot, with both of these buildings also using the concrete drop panel method of construction.[1]

Coaling was provided by a 1,000-tonne (1,000-long-ton) capacity wooden elevated coal bunker capable of loading coal to locos on both sides. The coaling stage was 76 m (250 ft) long by 11 m (37 ft) high and was served by an 1:30 grade approach ramp. The coal bunker was also provided with storage and drying facilities for sand, with two wet sand bunkers of 51 tonnes (50 long tons) capacity and two dry sand bunkers of 51 tonnes (50 long tons) capacity being provided.[5] A timber framed machine shop clad in corrugated iron served from one of the radial roads from No.1 turntable was also provided.[6] This building housed the wheel lathe as well as general lathes and other machine tools for use in maintaining the locomotives based at the depot. Also housed in this building was a blacksmiths section and the air compressors for supplying compressed air to the depot, along with the pumps for the boiler washing out plant.[7] A timber framed corrugated iron clad meal room for running staff capable of housing 140 men was also built near the workshop.[8]

Adjacent to the arrival road inspection pits and a timber framed stores building clad in corrugated iron was also provided.[9] Two elevated de-ashing roads were constructed to the south of the site near the coal stage. These de-ashing pits consisted of a set of pits between the rails and side pits that were used for the disposal of the ashes from the smokebox and ashpan produced by the burning of coal in the firebox of the steam locomotives. Running underneath these pits at an angle was a sunken rail line where wagons were placed to collect the deposited ashes. in 1925 these deashing pits had a steel and timber frame corrugated iron clad shed constructed over them.[10]

No.2 turntable constructed[edit]

In July 1926 construction of the manually operated 23 m (75 ft) diameter No.2 turntable at its associated 42 radial roads was completed.[1] Unlike the roads surrounding No.1 turntable, initially none of the radial roads on No.2 turntable were covered. Over the following years several plans were proposed for the construction of a roundhouse building on the radial roads surrounding No.2 turntable. A plan dated 30 January 1922 for a proposed Car and Wagon Works on land adjoining the loco depot site even shows a proposed third turntable, with all 3 turntables having full roundhouses.[11]

Further additions and construction of No.2 roundhouse[edit]

In July 1927 a third 227,300 l (50,000 imp gal) water tank was constructed.[1] No major additions were carried out at the depot until 1945 when a third elevated de-ashing pit similar in construction to the original two de-ashing pits was constructed beside the original two pits, however the shelter covering the original pits was not extended to cover this new pit.[12] The DLE's office was also extended in 1945.[12][13] A further improvement carried out in 1945 was the fitting of electric drive to the manually operated 23 m (75 ft) diameter No.1 turntable.[14] Improved facilities were provided for the employees at the depot in 1947 with a new meal, locker and shower room being built.[12] This building could accommodate 144 persons in the meal room, and had lockers for 300 persons.[15]

The end wall of the surviving No.2 Roundhouse showing the extension for the Garratt locos

In 1948 construction commenced on a 21 road roundhouse building serving No.2 turntable, all 21 undercover roads were fitted with 21 m (70 ft) long service pits. This building is of similar construction to the East shed section of the roundhouse completed in 1947 at Junee Locomotive Depot and has brick side and end walls with intermediate concrete columns and wooden roof trusses clad with corrugated sheeting. At the same time the manually operated 23 m (75 ft) turntable was replaced with a 30 m (100 ft) diameter electrically operated turntable which was also similar to that provided at Junee. These works were for the proposed running of the D58 class locos from Broadmeadow.[14][16] In 1948/49 a new office for the District Locomotive Engineer was constructed.[17]

In 1952 drop pits were fitted to the service pits on roads 2–9 in No.2 shed, with the jacks on 2–4 roads being 30 tonnes (30 long tons) capacity, the remanning jacks were of 20 tonnes (15 long tons) capacity. A 1 tonne (1 long ton) radial hoist was fitted in the roof covering all 21 roads running above the drop pits. A second 10 tonnes (7 long tons) capacity radial hoist was fitted over the drop pit roads. At the same time 11 of the existing service pits in No.2 shed were lengthened to 25 m (83 ft) in length.[12]

Alterations to suit the AD60 class steam locomotives[edit]

In 1954 work was completed on extending roads 18 to 21 and the covering building on No.2 roundhouse to accommodate the new AD60 class Garratt locomotives at a cost of £87,662.[12] This extension was of similar construction to the existing roundhouse. These roads were fitted with service pits 40 m (131 ft) long, with roads 20 and 21 being fitted with 20 tonnes (15 long tons) capacity drop pits. Four outdoor roads were also lengthened and fitted with pits 34 m (112 ft) long.[18] To accommodate the length of the AD60 class locos the turntable was lengthened to 32 m (105 ft) in diameter.[12][19] The two Northern bays of the coaling stage had a dividing wall installed as well as having the bottom of the two bins raised to accommodate coaling of the Garratt locos.[20] In 1954 one of the radial roads on No.2 turntable was altered into an additional departure road from the depot, this road was provided with a de-ashing pit and was adjacent to the 45,500 l (10,000 imp gal) water tank and de-ashing pit on the existing departure road from No.2 shed.[12] Unlike the elevated de-ashing pits near the coaling stage these two pits were conventional style pits in between the rails that required to be manually emptied. These two pits were used for the disposal of any ashes that had built up during preparation of the steam locos prior to departing the loco depot to haul a train.

Alterations to suit diesel locomotives[edit]

With the introduction of diesel locomotives fuel storage and refuelling facilities were initially provided. An additional 54,600 l (12,000 imp gal) fuel oil tank was provided in 1961.[12] In 1962 Nos.12 to 17 roads in No.2 shed were upgraded to suit servicing diesel locomotives at a cost of £98,534.[12] The steam servicing pits on these 6 roads were removed and replaced by elevated rail service pits. These new pits were fitted with service platforms at footplate level on both sides of the pits. This new section was partitioned off from the rest of the steam shed to keep out the grime associated with steam locomotives using the rest of the shed, improved lighting and ventilation was also fitted to this section of the shed.Additional rooms for the maintenance of diesel loco components along with oil storage tanks were constructed at the rear of this new section.[21][22]

44220 in the loco sanding plant looking through the refuelling shed in 1990

In 1965 a Hegenscheidt pit wheel lathe was purchased for use at the depot for turning diesel loco wheels. This lathe was housed in a new shed constructed on land to the West of No.1 Roundhouse at a cost of £90,962.[12] This building was also fitted with a 3.0-tonne (3-long-ton) overhead crane.[23]

As part of the upgrades to suit diesel locos 2 of the outdoor radial roads from No.2 turntable were connected to Broadmeadow yards and converted to arrival roads. A new 10 tonnes (7.5 long tons) capacity sanding plant for the diesel locos was constructed on one of these roads using steelwork transferred from Enfield Loco Depot.[24] In 1966 a new diesel fuel storage facility was installed consisting of four 81,800 l (18,000 imp gal) tanks and pump house, additional fuelling points were provided on the new arrival roads. A load box building was constructed on one of the outdoor roads of No.2 turntable to allow the stationary load testing of diesel electric locos after repairs.[25] A new air compressor house was also constructed in 1965 adjacent to No.2 Roundhouse.[12][26]

End of steam and removal of steam facilities[edit]

In March 1970 construction of a new Administrative and amenities building to the West of the original 1924 DLE's office was completed. This building replaced both the existing meal, locker and shower building dating from 1947 along with the DLE's office dating from 1948 and the weatherboard general office building near the workshop, these buildings were demolished soon after the completion of the new building.[27] The original 1924 DLE's office remained. In December 1970, two D59 class steam locomotives were transferred for use as stationary boilers.[28]

In October 1971 a 2 road shed over the diesel loco refueling area on the two arrival roads was completed.[29]

The Departure road from No.2 Roundhouse with the roundhouse on the right & the refuelling shed on the left

Further improved facilities for diesel locos were in July 1972 with the upgrading of the sanding facilities with 2 49 tonnes (48 long tons) capacity sanding sheds being constructed.[30] These 2 sheds were constructed on the arrival roads to No.2 Roundhouse, and had 4 bins with each bin having a capacity of 12 tonnes (12 long tons).

Broadmeadow Loco Depot was the last stronghold of regular mainline steam haulage on the New South Wales system with 3246 hauling the last scheduled steam hauled passenger train between Singleton and Newcastle on 24 July 1971.[31][page needed] The last mainline steam locomotive hauled train was also worked from the depot with 6042 working the last train on 24 February 1973, it then worked a special run from Newcastle to Broadmeadow on 2 March 1973 to mark the end of steam. The locomotive then worked to Sydney on 4 March 1973 ending the steam allocation at Broadmeadow Loco Depot.[32][page needed]

No.1 Turntable with some of the preserved heritage rolling stock currently stored

During 1974 the water tanks and columns at the depot were demolished.[14] Also in 1974 a steam cleaning shed was built on the straight transfer road between the two roundhouses adjacent to the original workshop building.[33] In 1977 the coal stage was demolished.[14] By the late 1970s No.1 roundhouse had ceased being used as a locomotive servicing facility and was being used a covered store and for wagon repairs.[34]

Further alterations[edit]

In late 1977 tenders were called for the rebuilding of the Garratt Shed roads of No.2 shed (roads 18–21).[35] The 4 roads were shortened to a length similar to the adjoining roads and were fitted with elevated rail pits fitted with service platforms on both sides similar to that fitted to roads 12–17 in 1962. The area above the 4 roads was fitted with a false ceiling and was fitted with exhaust extraction fans. 1 Tonne cranes were also fitted over each of these 4 roads. The shed extension was fitted with a wall separating it from the main shed along with an elevated floor, with this floor and the ground floor of the divided off area being turned into office & stores accommodation.[36] In 1979 the 2 de-ashing pits on Nos.2 and 3 departure roads adjoining No.2 shed were filled up and the surrounding area cement paved.

With the electrification of the Main Northern line from Wyong in June 1984, a siding was electrified adjacent to the depot for the servicing of electric locomotives.

In 1984 a new combined ambulance room & female staff amenities building of brick construction was built near the 1970s main administration & amenities building. In August 1985 tenders were called for a new waste water treatment plant .[37] This plant was constructed to the West of No.2 Roundhouse and was used to treat the dirty water from the shed pits etc. In 1987 a 3 road railcar maintenance centre was built on the site of the depot's arrival road inspection pits, coal stage embankment and stores building. This railcar centre was managed separately from the locomotive depot. Also in 1987 a new brick rest barracks building for crews from other depots was constructed to replace the original 1924 barracks building, with the original 1924 building being then leased to a community group.[38]

Workshop and stores building

In 1988 the Carpenters' shop was demolished along with the original 1924 machine shop.[34] The machine shop was however was replaced with a more modern steel framed building transferred from the closed depot at Valley Heights this building was doubled in length and was also used as a store.

In March 1988 tenders were called for the design, manufacture, installation and commissioning of a drop table.[39] This drop table was fitted to No.4 road in No.2 shed, as part of this work No.3 road was removed along with the original drop pits on roads 2 to 5 along with the original inspection pits on roads 1 to 5. The pit on road 5 was replaced by a raised rail with depressed floor type.

In July 1989 demolition was completed of the original No.1 roundhouse building along with the mess room adjacent to No.2 shed. After the demolition of No.1 shed the turntable pit and surrounding radial roads were nominally raised by 470mm to lessen the effect of groundwater. As part of this raising all of the servicing pits surrounding No.1 turntable were in filled.[40] In 1991 further modifications took place to the pits surrounding No.2 turntable, with the outdoor section of the pits on roads 6 & 7 being infilled so that the pits only ran inside of the shed. The pits on 8 to 10 roads along with the drop pits on roads 8 & 9 were also filled in. The 2 surviving outdoor 'Garratt' inspection pits on roads 25 & 26 were also filled in.[41]

Preserved 4102 stored on No.20 road of No.2 shed


The introduction in 1994 of the 82 class and 90 class locomotives that were maintained by Clyde Engineering at Kooragang Island and the resulting withdrawal of most of the 44, 45 and 442 class locomotives together with the move to through working by National Rail saw the depot's use further decline with the depot closing on 24 December 1994.[2]

The depot since closure[edit]

In the mid to late 1990s the State Rail Authority auctioned most of the removable plant at the depot, the pit wheel lathe and crane from the wheel lathe shed, along with the drop table in No.2 Shed, both sanding sheds and the four 81,800 l (18,000 imp gal) diesel fuel tanks were also auctioned off. The machinery in the workshop/store building was also disposed of and the entire building was then used as a store for the neighbouring railcar maintenance centre, this building being the only one at the depot remaining in active railway use.

In 2004 the railcar maintenance centre was extended which required the shortening of some of the No.2 shed outdoor radial roads, along with the removal of the load box and associated building.[14] The Sydney end arrival road for No.2 shed was disconnected from the main line and shortened to a normal radial road. The Newcastle end arrival roads for No.2 shed were disconnected from the main line as well.

The surviving section of the loco depot is heritage listed and is on the New South Wales Section 170 heritage register.[42] In 2009 to make room for redevelopment of the New South Wales Rail Transport Museum's Thirlmere site several items of the RailCorp heritage collection that were at Thirlmere along with items that had been previously stored at various locations in Sydney were relocated to Broadmeadow and initially stored around No.1 turntable. Later in 2009 work commenced in repairing the No.2 roundhouse and associated turntable to allow the undercover storage of some of the items which had been relocated to Broadmeadow for storage.[43]

In early 2011 due to extensive vandal damage and being outside of the main heritage area the original 1924 concrete drop panel barracks was demolished.

It has been proposed that the site be redeveloped by Transport Heritage NSW as a rail heritage centre. In February 2013 a Hunter Division of Transport Heritage NSW was formed by local members of THNSW with the purpose of looking after the site & items stored there.[44] Other operators such as the Lachlan Valley Railway are also interested in the site.[45]


  1. ^ a b c d Historical Notes on the Main Northern Railway Strathfield to Wallangarra, J. Forsyth, NSW PTC
  2. ^ a b "Remember When" Railway Digest February 1995 page 45
  3. ^ NSWR drawing 37-116 Broadmeadow Loco Depot Offices for Chargeman, Bookers On Etc dated 14 June 1923
  4. ^ NSWR drawing 37-115 Broadmeadow Loco Depot Offices for Superintendent, Clerks Etc dated 11 August 1923
  5. ^ NSWGR drawing 24295 Arrangement of sand handling Plant on Existing Bunker Broadmeadow dated 26 September 1924
  6. ^ NSWR drawing 37-117 Loco Depot Broadmeadow Machine Shop Details dated 3 September 1923
  7. ^ NSWGR drawing 23161 Arrangement of Machine Shop Broadmeadow dated 14 September 1923
  8. ^ NSWR drawing 37-114 Broadmeadow Loco Depot Meal Room For Running Staff dated 24 July 1924
  9. ^ NSWGR drawing 23181 Broadmeadow Loco Depot Alteration to Buildings and Locations dated 26 September 1923
  10. ^ NSWR drawing Broadmeadow - Shed Over Loco Deashing Plant dated 31 August 1925,
  11. ^ NSWGR drawing 21528 Proposed Car and Wagon Works Broadmeadow dated 30 January 1922
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Department of Railways New South Wales Order Cards for Broadmeadow
  13. ^ Department of Railways New South Wales drawing 1574–33,848 Broadmeadow Extension to Loco Offices dated 24 June 1943
  14. ^ a b c d e Statement of Heritage Impact – Broadmeadow Rail Depot August 2004, OHM Consultants
  15. ^ Department of Railways New South Wales drawing 1584–35,099 Broadmeadow Locomotive Depot Proposed Meal, Locker and Washing Facilities dated 2 March 1945
  16. ^ Singleton Argus article 26 August 1949
  17. ^ Department of Railways New South Wales drawing 1463–37,977 Broadmeadow Loco Depot District Loco Engineers Office dated 12 July 1948
  18. ^ Department of Railways New South Wales drawing 66547 Broadmeadow Loco Depot Accommodation for Garratt Locos dated 3 November 1950
  19. ^ Department of Railways New South Wales drawing 166–38 Broadmeadow 105 foot Turntable General Arrangement dated 18 June 1952
  20. ^ Department of Railways New South Wales drawing 153–21 Broadmeadow Alterations to Coal Bunker for Coaling Garratt Locomotives dated 7 July 1954
  21. ^ Department of Railways New South Wales drawing 158-47 Diesel Servicing Facilities dated 7 June 1960
  22. ^ Department of Railways New South Wales drawing 80116 Diesel Electric Locomotive Service Terminal dated 25 June 1959
  23. ^ Department of Railways New South Wales drawing 90357 Hegenscheidt Pit Operated Wheel Lathe Building Arrangement dated 9 August 1963
  24. ^ Department of Railway Drawing 158-123 Broadmeadow Loco Depot Sand Plant General Arrangement Dated 18 November 1960
  25. ^ Department of Railways New South Wales drawing 96031 Broadmeadow Loco Depot Accommodation for Diesel Electric Locomotives Site Plan of Facilities dated 5 December 1966
  26. ^ Department of Railways NSW drawing 176B-80 Broadmeadow Loco Depot Compressor House Alongside Roundhouse No.2 Dated 3 December 1963
  27. ^ Department of Railways New South Wales drawing 1463–37,977 Broadmeadow Loco Depot District Locomotive Engineers Office dated 13 July 1948
  28. ^ "20 Years Ago" Railway Digest March 1991 page 102
  29. ^ Department of Railways NSW drawing 184-298 Broadmeadow Loco Depot No.2 Roundhouse Alterations to Fuel and Sand Servicing Facilities dated 4 June 1971
  30. ^ Public Transport Commission of NSW drawing 101-472 Locomotive Depots 24 Ton and 48 Ton Sand Servicing Station General Arrangement dated 11 June 1970
  31. ^ Grunbach, Alex (1989). A Compendium of New South Wales Steam Locomotives. Australian Railway Historical Society NSW Division. ISBN 0-909650-27-6. 
  32. ^ Groves, Ken (1994). The 60 Class. et al. New South Wales Rail Transport Museum. ISBN 0-909862-33-8. 
  33. ^ NSW PTC drawing 154-615 Broadmeadow Loco Depot Steam Cleaning Building General Arrangement dated 14 June 1974.
  34. ^ a b Railway Workshops – Bathurst, Cardiff, Goulburn. Railway Locomotive Roundhouses – Broadmeadow, Casino, Cowra, Goulburn, Junee, Muswellbrook, Parkes Temora, Werris Creek. – Volume 1 Report prepared for SRA of NSW by Don Godden & Associates Pty Ltd August 1989.
  35. ^ Sydney Morning Herald advertisement 19 October 1977
  36. ^ Public Transport Commission of New South Wales drawing 246-304 Broadmeadow Loco Depot No.2 Roundhouse Additional Diesel Servicing Facilities General Arrangement dated 15 September 1977
  37. ^ Sydney Morning Herald advertisement 19 August 1985
  38. ^ Broadmeadow Loco Depot Heritage Study Second Edition 2006 - C & MJ Doring Pty Ltd
  39. ^ Sydney Morning Herald Advertisement 14 March 1988
  40. ^ State Rail Authority of NSW drawing 849-771 Broadmeadow Loco Depot Upgrading of No.1 Turntable Sheet 1 Drainage dated 1 March 1989
  41. ^ State Rail Authority drawing 575-018 Broadmeadow Locomotive Depot No.2 Roundhouse Load Box Drainage Slab & Service Pit Modifications dated 10 October 1991
  42. ^ "Broadmeadow Railway Locomotive Depot". Office of Environment & Heritage. 
  43. ^ NSW Transport Minister. "Work Begins on Preserving Broadmeadow Roundhouse" (PDF) (Press release). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 October 2009. 
  44. ^ Supplement to the February 2013 NSWRTM Roundhouse Magazine
  45. ^ Kelly, Matthew (9 November 2014). "Vintage trains take to the tracks at Newcastle station". Newcastle Herald. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Broadmeadow Locomotive Depot at Wikimedia Commons