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7949 Locomotive, steam, No. 1, full size, 0-4-2, hauled the first passenger train in New South Wales in 1855, designed by James McConnell, made by Robert Stephenson and Company, Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, 1854, used by New South Wales Government Railways 1855-1877. Click to enlarge.

Locomotive No.1 which hauled the first passenger train in New South Wales

No.1 Locomotive hauled the first passenger train in New South Wales on the line between Sydney and Parramatta in 1855. It is one of the most significant objects in the Museum's collection relating to the history of New South Wales and has been in the Museum's possession for well over a century. It was designed by James McConnell and built in England by Robert Stephenson & Co of Newcastle-on-Tyne and is significant in British railway history as it is a very rare surviving McConnell-designed …


Object No.


Object Statement

Locomotive, steam, No. 1, full size, 0-4-2, hauled the first passenger train in New South Wales in 1855, designed by James McConnell, made by Robert Stephenson and Company, Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, 1854, used by New South Wales Government Railways 1855-1877

Physical Description

The locomotive is a mixed traffic type featuring an 0-4-2 wheel arrangement. The valve gear is Stephenson's slide. The boiler is short with a brass steam dome cover while the chimney is tall and of a small diameter as was common at the time. The livery is green with a black smoke box and red buffers. When it arrived the locomotive had no protection from the elements for the driver and fireman on the footplate. A roof was added in 1865.


Builder: Robert Stephenson and Co. Newcastle-on-Tyne, England
Engine No: 958
Wheel arrangement: 0-4-2
Class: 1
Number in class: 4
Type: Mixed traffic
Dates in service: 1855-1877
Tractive effort: 8 900 lbs (39 587 N)
Steam pressure: 120 p.s.i. (827 kPa)
Cylinders (2): 16 in bore x 24 in stroke (406 mm x 609 mm)
Driving wheels: 5 ft 6 in diameter (1 676 mm)
Heating surface:
Firebox 85.3 sq ft (7.82 sq m)
Tubes: 1,060 sq ft (92.52 sq m)
Grate area: 13.8 sq ft (1.26 sq m)
Overall length: 21 ft 6 in (7.15 m)
Overall width: 7 ft 5 in (2.30 m)
Overall height 14 ft 2 in (4.30 m)
Weight in steam:
Engine: 26 tons 1 cwt 1 qr (26,478 kg)
Tender: 20 tons 8 cwt 0 qr (20,726 kg)
Tender capacity: 4 tons (4,064 kg) of coal and 2,000 gallons (9,100 litres) of water



4300 mm


2300 mm


46500 kg



Locomotive No.1 was designed by James Edward McConnell (1815-1883) one of the most distinguished British locomotive engineers of the 1840s and 1850s. He was born in Ireland, but of a long Scottish ancestry. After a few years working in the iron trade, in 1842 at the age of 27 he was appointed Locomotive Superintendent of the Birmingham & Gloucester Railway. This line included the notorious Lickey Incline, south of Birmingham, the steepest sustained main-line railway incline which for two miles (3.2 km) is graded at 1 in 37. To overcome this, McConnell designed what was said to have been the largest engine in the world.

In 1847, at the age of only 32, McConnell moved to a considerably more important position, that of Locomotive Superintendent of the Southern Division of the London and North Western Railway (L& NWR). He was responsible for the design, construction, running and repair of all the engines hauling all trains running out of what was London's principal station, Euston, to (in those days) the whole of the north and centre of England. His most famous engines, the Bloomers (nicknamed after the new women's garments simply because they and the engines were both the latest thing), continued as the main southern L&NWR express engines for 37 years.
McConnell left the L&NWR in 1862 and went on to practise for many years as a consulting engineer. He died in 1883.

McConnell had long had associations with railways outside the United Kingdom. In particular, in 1853 he was appointed consultant to the Sydney Railway Company, for whom he produced a design for this 0-4-2 engine. McConnell was a consulting engineer with the famous locomotive builders, Robert Stephenson and Co., and Locomotive No. 1 was one of the four engines built for the Sydney railway and delivered to Australia in January 1855.

By the 1850s the basic principles of locomotive design were well established and McConnell's choice was almost identical to the 0-4-2 locomotives of his design for his own railway, complete with polished brass steam dome and the distinctive locomotive number on the funnel. The locomotives were a 0-4-2 modification of the fast 0-6-0 goods express engines designed by McConnell for the L&NWR and introduced in 1854.

Consequently, the Sydney Railway Company did not receive a Stephenson-designed locomotives but a McConnell-designed ones, significantly the only order at the Stephenson works to have been built to the design of an outside engineer. As Wallace, the Sydney Railway Company's engineer, did not specify a livery, the locomotives were given the same as for McConnell's L&NWR Company, a boiler of Brunswick green; splashers, footplate steps, buffer beam and side rails of red; boiler bands, mainframe and buffers of black; and line work in white.

William Scott, who came out to Sydney to supervise the delivery and erection of the engines, had worked for McConnell for some three years at the L&NWR's Wolverton Railway Works, Wolverton, in Buckinghamshire, as a foreman erector.

Locomotive No. 1 is the only original McConnell locomotive or tender known to survive anywhere in the world, though a replica Bloomer has been built in England.


The locomotive was built by the English firm of Robert Stephenson and Company, of Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, the son of the famous pioneer of railways, George Stephenson (1781-1844). Robert Stephenson (1803-1859) was born at Willington Quay, Northumberland, England and studied at Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Edinburgh. Robert assisted his father to survey the Stockton and Darlington railway. At the age of nineteen Robert Stephenson was appointed to manage the locomotive works established by his father George and funded by Edward Pease and Michael Longridge in June 1823. Not only did Robert manage the works at such a young age but the company bore his name. It was established at Forth Street in Newcastle with Robert as manager and George providing plans for the engines. "Locomotion No.1" was built in 1825 and locomotives were exported to America in 1828, France in 1829, Germany in 1833, and Russia in 1835 By the end of the 1830s Robert Stephenson and Company had exported to almost every European country. By 1855 the company had built over 1000 locomotives including a wide variety of types and gauges. On 1 January 1937 the company merged with R.W. Hawthorn & Co. to become Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn Ltd. Over a 112-year period a total of 4 185 steam locomotives were built.



From the earliest days of settlement in New South Wales the transportation of goods posed many problems. This situation worsened when explorers Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson crossed the Blue Mountains in 1813, opening the way into the interior. As settlement spread quickly the crudely made roads increased the time and expense of transporting goods. At about the same time in England and America railways were being hailed as a fast, efficient and relatively inexpensive transportation systems and in the 1830s suggestions were offered that New South Wales should also have a railway.

No.1 Locomotive was one of four locomotives which arrived in Sydney on the "John Fielding" (or "Fielden") and landed at Campbell's Wharf, Circular Quay on 13 January 1855. The locomotives were hauled by a team of twenty horses to Slade's dairy paddock, near the site of the old railway stores building at Eveleigh, then placed on tracks and drawn into a temporary shed not far from the present Redfern Railway Station. William Scott, locomotive engineer with Robert Stephenson, who brought the locomotives out, then prepared them for service.

On 29 March 1855 No.1 undertook a trial run as far as Newtown and was subsequently employed as the ballast train from 26 April. It hauled the first passenger train, a special service, from Sydney Station to Long Cove viaduct (near the present site of Lewisham) on 28 May 1855. The high cost of constructing the railway presented the directors of the Sydney Railway Company with innumerable problems and in September 1855 the New South Wales Government assumed responsibility for its operation.

The line was officially opened on 26 September 1855 with No.3 hauling the first passenger train leaving at 9 am, followed by No. 2 Locomotive hauling the official train at 11 am. The engine driver for the official service was William Sixsmith while the fireman was William Webster. Locomotive No. 4 left at noon while No. 1 was out of service that day and did not run. The line was 14 miles in length and had five stations: Newtown, Ashfield, Burwood, Homebush and Parramatta. On the first day a total of 3,554 passengers were carried and the fares to Parramatta were 4 shillings, 3 shillings and 2 shillings respectively for 1st, 2nd and 3rd class. The event attracted crowds of people dressed in their finery eager to be the first passengers. The service proved a great success but the locomotives were too heavy for the Barlow rails then in use.

As lighter locomotives became available in Sydney the original four locomotives were confined to goods train working and shunting duties. After 1857 No. 1 Locomotive was used mainly for hauling goods and passengers between Sydney, Campbelltown, Richmond and Penrith.

By October 1859 there were six trains per weekday to Paramatta and four of these continued to and from Campbelltown. The trip to Parramatta took 50 minutes. After 22 years, No. 1 was withdrawn from service on 15 March 1877, having travelled 155 667 miles (250 468 km). During that time it had been involved in two accidents, both of which involved loss of life. On 10 July 1858 two people were killed and a number were injured when some of the carriages hauled by No. 1 left the rails. A few years later, on 6 January 1868, a man was killed when No. 1 collided with a passenger train at Newtown station. The engine was extensively damaged and required major repairs. After retirement No. 1 languished in "Rotten Row", an area at the Railway Workshops at Eveleigh where old engines were put pending reconstruction or final condemnation.

No.1 Locomotive was owned and operated by the New South Wales Government Railways from 1855 until withdrawn from service in 1877. It was later refitted with parts of other engines of its class by the Railways and presented to the Museum on 8 May 1884. The locomotive was initially displayed in the Museum's original building, an Agricultural Hall in the Domain behind Sydney Hospital. Later, in 1893, the engine was housed in a small building behind the Museum's second home in Harris Street, Ultimo. During the late 1970s No.1 underwent an extensive restoration and conservation programme. Each part was stripped down, cleaned and polished to reveal the individually stamped numbers. This process found conclusively that the locomotive comprised predominantly of No. 1 Locomotive parts as well as parts of locomotive Nos. 2, 3 and 4.

The six-wheel tender of No.1 Locomotive was still in service in 1878 although it appears to have been withdrawn soon after. It was restored in 1955 for the New South Wales Railways' Centenary celebrations and later presented to the Museum for display with No.1 Locomotive. Since 1988 No.1 Locomotive and tender have been displayed with 1st, 2nd and 3rd class carriages of the day in a permanent exhibition at the Museum.


Credit Line

Gift of the Commissioner for Railways, Sydney, 1884

Acquisition Date

8 May 1884

Cite this Object


Locomotive No.1 which hauled the first passenger train in New South Wales 2022, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 19 August 2022, <>


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