ONE of the three Great Central Robinson 8K (LNER O4) 2-8-0s surviving in Australia has been cosmetically restored to its First World War condition.
A sister to No. 63601 which returned to steam on the Great Central Railway in 2000, Railway Operating Division No. 2004 in February 1919 became the 350th ROD locomotive to go to France.
The conflict over, it was one of 13 purchased between 1923-27 by J&A Brown which owned the Richmond Vale Railway in Newcastle, New South Wales.
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No. 2004, which was built by the GCR, became J & A Brown No. 23. In July 1967 the Richmond Main Colliery closed and No. 23 hauled one of the last loaded coal trains to Hexham.
On February 15, 1973, it became the last ROD locomotive to work a main line train anywhere in the world.
By then run down, it worked the Hexham yards until June 8, when its fire was dropped for the last time.
In 1986 it was acquired as a static exhibit at the Richmond Vale Railway and Museum in northern New South Wales.
Read more in Issue 230 of HR – on sale now!