NZR UA class

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NZR UA class
Type and origin
Power type Steam
Builder Sharp Stewart and Company, Glasgow
Build date 1899
Total produced 6
 • Whyte 4-6-0
Gauge 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm)
Driver dia. 49.125 in (1.248 m)
Length 49 ft 3 in (15.01 m)
Loco weight 38.2 long tons (38.8 tonnes; 42.8 short tons)
Tender weight 24 long tons (24.4 tonnes; 26.9 short tons)
Total weight 62.2 long tons (63.2 tonnes; 69.7 short tons)
Fuel type Coal
Fuel capacity 4.0 long tons (4.1 tonnes; 4.5 short tons)
Water cap 1,700 imp gal (7,700 l; 2,000 US gal)
 • Firegrate area
16 sq ft (1.5 m2)
Boiler pressure 175 lbf/in2 (1,207 kPa)
Heating surface:
 • Tubes
972 sq ft (90.3 m2)
Cylinders Two, outside
Cylinder size 16 in × 20 in (406 mm × 508 mm)
Performance figures
Maximum speed 50 mph (80 km/h)
Tractive effort 14,591 lbf (64.90 kN)
Operators NZR
Numbers 172-177
Locale Otago, Southland
Withdrawn 1933-1936
Disposition Withdrawn, Scrapped
Classified U until 1902

The NZR UA class were a class of 4-6-0 Ten Wheeler locomotive built by the Scottish firm of Sharp Stewart and Company to ease a motive power shortage. They lived relatively short lives amongst NZR Ten wheelers, mostly at the southern end of the country where they were seldom photographed.

Origin and design[edit]

As New Zealand rapidly recovered from the 1880s depression, NZR developed a motive power shortage that its own workshops could not keep up with. After his 1898 annual report indicated it was "absolutley necessary" to obtain more locomotives the Locomotive Superintendent obtained permission to buy sixteen 4-6-0 locomotives, ten from Baldwin, six from Sharp Stewart and Co. all were delivered in 1899.

Unlike the Addington U class the new locomotives were of uniform appearance, with low mounted running boards and splashers over the drivers. The design was based on and very similar to the U class, differing primarily in the provision of smaller driving wheels delivering higher tractive effort. Although they used the same type of boiler they carried a higher pressure and were fitted with piston valves. Overall their appearance was similar to their predecessors.


Initially three each were stationed at Invercargill and Dunedin to run express passenger services between those cities. Later the Dunedin-based engines joined their siblings in the south. The only know report from footplate men indicated that while finely built they were difficult to fire. However annual returns indicate that they ran greater annual miles and at lower cost than other 4-6-0's at the time.

Modifications included lengthening the smokebox, a common procedure on many early NZR types, and sand domes were provided, while the running boards were raised. In the 1920s either two or three (sources vary) received superheated boilers of 200 lb sq in working pressure. However, the class was gone before the end of the 1930s, the superheated boilers going to members of the UC class of the same maker. One was reportedly dumped on the Oamaru foreshore.


  • Palmer and Stewart; "Cavalcade of New Zealand Locomotives", A H. & A W. REED, 1965
  • Sean Miller;"The NZR Steam Locomotive", NZRLS, 2011
  • W. G. Lloyd; "Register of New Zealand Railways Steam Locomotives 1863-1971", Rogan-McIndoe Print Ltd., 2002