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American Steam on Australian Rails (Discontinued)

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American Steam on Australian Rails

David Burke

"Edward Loughry was only twenty-four when the Baldwin Locomotive Works sent their young engineer across half the world to bring a cargo of four little steam engines and six double deck carriages to Sydney. He sailed aboard SS Dryad from New York harbour on 15 May 1879 and reached Sydney on September 3.... The ‘Americanisation’ of Sydney, according to some observers, dated from Loughry’s arrival with the Baldwin trains." —from American Steam on Australian Rails

Railways, according to the history books, were a British invention, and as a result, English companies were quick to capture a huge part of the world market. So how did American steam locomotives come to play a major role in rail transportation in 19th-century Australia, then a British colony?

In American Steam on Australian Rails, David Burke tells the fascinating story of Yankee ingenuity and the companies that challenged an English monopoly. While purchasers of equipment for Australian lines argued about the virtues and failings of the American machine, most had to admit that the engines made for the Wild West worked equally well riding the curves, grades, and light rails of outback Queensland, Victoria, and New South Wales.

Burke provides copious descriptions of the locomotives themselves, from early models with ornate domes, long cowcatchers, and wooden cabs, right through to the trim 59 class 2-8-2 imported from Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton by New South Wales in the twilight of steam. Lavishly illustrated with colour and black-and-white photos and illustrations, American Steam on Australian Rails documents the progress of hundreds of Yankee engines across the vastness of a new continent as they became part of a grand Australian railroad adventure.

Published in association with Australian Railway Historical Society.

168 pages

ISBN 0253345278