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NZR Q class (1901): Map


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The NZR Q class was an important steam locomotive not only in the history of New Zealandmarker's railway network but also in worldwide railways in general. Designed by New Zealand Government Railways' Chief Mechanical Engineer A. L. Beattie and ordered from the Baldwin Locomotive Worksmarker in 1901, they were the first locomotives in the world to be built with the wheel arrangement of 4-6-2. This wheel arrangement came to be known as the Pacific type after the voyage the completed locomotives had to make across the Pacific Oceanmarker to New Zealand. A few instances of the 4-6-2 wheel arrangement are known to have existed prior to 1901, but these were all reconstructions of locomotives that were originally built with a different wheel arrangement, thereby making the thirteen members of the Q class the first "true" Pacifics in the world. The Pacific style went on to become arguably the most famous wheel arrangement in the world.


The Q class's design stems from the requirement for a locomotive similar to the Ub class with the inclusion of a wide firebox to burn poor quality lignite coal from the South Islandmarker and the Waikatomarker.


In operation, the locomotives proved to be satisfactory rather than brilliant and they suffered from occasional gear problems. They were soon displaced from the most important and difficult work by members of the A and AB classes; in fact, later in life, they were re-boilered with AB boilers.


They saw out their final years working in Otago and the West Coastmarker and the last Q class locomotive was retired in 1957. Sadly, no examples of the class have been preserved.

The members of this Q class should not be confused with the members of 1878's Q class. As all of the 1878 locomotives had been withdrawn by 1901, the classification was free to be used again.

External links


  • Heath, Eric, and Stott, Bob; Classic Steam Locomotives Of New Zealand, Grantham House, 1993

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