North East Dundas Tramway

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G class 0-4-2T Sharp, Stewart & Co crosses the Montezuma Bridge on the North East Dundas Tramway with a mixed train to Zeehan around 1899

The North East Dundas Tramway (NEDT) was a 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge tramway on West Coast Tasmania that ran between Zeehan and Deep Lead (now Williamsford). It was part of Tasmanian Government Railways. The world's first Garratt locomotives TGR K Class were used on the line, as were two G Class 0-4-2T engines built by Sharp-Stewart of Glasgow in 1896 and a massive 'J Class' 2-6-4-0T articulated locomotive manufactured by Hagans of Erfurt in 1900.[1]


The line was opened in 1896 to carry ore from the Williamsford mines to Zeehan where it would be loaded onto another train for shipment to Burnie.[2] The narrow-gauge (2 ft) was chosen because of the extremely difficult terrain that the railway crossed, requiring several big trestle bridges, including one at the foot of Montezuma Falls. After some rain the engine and carriages would get soaked by spray from the falls. There was a break-of-gauge with the mainline 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) system at Zeehan. The railway was closed in 1932.


Several tight-radius curves required careful consideration of the locomotives that were to run on them, and consequently mainly articulated designs were chosen. The 2-6-4-0T 'J Class' Hagans locomotive[3][4] was the first articulated locomotive to run on the line, and was at the time the heaviest 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge locomotive in the Southern Hemisphere, weighing 42 tonnes. It was more powerful than its 3' 6" gauge counterparts. It proved successful on the line, and was soon joined by the 1909-vintage 'K Class' 0-4-0+0-4-0 Garratt locomotives, with which it worked until the line was closed to locomotives in 1929.

The Sharp-Stewart locomotives had been sold some years before the closure, and K-2 was also scrapped. However, K-1 and the Hagans loco were saved. K-1, the first of the Garratt locos, was presented back to its makers, Beyer-Peacock of Manchester, and now runs on the Welsh Highland Railway in North Wales, while the Hagans languished in the Zeehan locomotive shed until 1949, when it too was scrapped.

Stopping Places[edit]

Picnic with Dunkley Brothers Orenstein & Koppel (BN 2748) at Kapia

(distances from Walch's Tasmanian Almanac 1915 p. 237)

  • Zeehan
  • Wilson Street
  • Racecourse
  • King's
  • Hastings
  • Nickel Junction—also known as Nickel Show (4.5 miles)
  • North Dundas Road
  • Melba
  • Commonwealth
  • Japi
  • Confidence Saddle
  • Good Intent
  • Great Northern
  • Fraser's—also known as Fraser's Mine
  • Montezuma (14.5 miles)
  • Fahl Ore
  • Conliffe
  • Williamsford—opened as Deep Lead—renamed by 1898 (18 miles)
  • Connected to Hercules Mine on Mount Read by a 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge Hercules Haulage incline


A boiler explosion occurred on 17 May 1899 in the Zeehan yard.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ For a detailed description of the line, its locomotives and rolling stock, see Cenac, Christian, "K1 1st Garratt in Tasmania," (1996)(Autoedition)(ISBN 2-950540333).
  2. ^ "North-East Dundas Tramway". Zeehan and Dundas Herald (Tas. : 1890 - 1922). Tas.: National Library of Australia. 3 December 1896. p. 2. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Murdoch, Geoff (1998), Tasmania's Hagans : the North East Dundas tramway : articulated 'J' class (1st ed.), Geoff Murdoch, ISBN 978-0-646-33442-4
  5. ^


  • Atkinson, H.K. (1991). Railway Tickets of Tasmania. ISBN 0-9598718-7-X.
  • Blainey, Geoffrey (2000). The Peaks of Lyell (6th ed.). Hobart: St. David's Park Publishing. ISBN 0-7246-2265-9.
  • Murdoch, Geoff (1998). Tasmania's Hagans: the North East Dundas Tramway articulated J class. Redbank Plaza, Qld: The author. ISBN 0-646-33442-5.
  • Rae, Lou (2001). The Abt Railway and Railways of the Lyell region. Sandy Bay: Lou Rae. ISBN 0-9592098-7-5.
  • Whitham, Charles (2003). Western Tasmania - A land of riches and beauty (Reprint 2003 ed.). Queenstown: Municipality of Queenstown.
  • Whitham, Lindsay (2002). Railways, Mines, Pubs and People and other historical research. Sandy Bay: Tasmanian Historical Research Association. ISBN 0-909479-21-6.

Further literature[edit]

External links[edit]