Mt Lyell Fairmont Gang car
I am wondering if anyone knows what became of the Fairmont Gang Car , which is a recent discovery for me, that operated on the Mt Lyell Rack Railway.
I have included two Ted Lister Collections photo’s of the Fairmont, one of it in operation at Queenstown and later in a partially derelict condition at Strahan.
After much study a couple of identical marks on the front panels indicate it is the same car at both locations with the later showing much wear and tear.
The model is a Fairmont MT14 Z42 H-3-1. Production of this model started in Australia in 1956 and where built here under a Fairmont Minnesota Factory license held by the Tutt-Bryants Pty Ltd manufacturing arm/s. 540 units of the MT14 Z42 H-3-1 model were made over 25 years with the majority going to Queensland Railways from 1956 till the end of production in 1980.
I was unaware that any left the Australian factory with an original Fairmont style cab so had to do some digging through the company archives and original manufacturing drawings I am present custodian of plus a lot of digital enhancing of one of the photo's to determine if some unique Australian characteristics were present that would not have been on a directly imported car with such a cab. Spring suspension was unique to Australian built cars and the Mt Lyell Fairmont has this. The cab is a Fairmont Steel Cab option 54090. Fairmont only sent out to Australia the manufacturing drawings that were required and searching through the manufacturing drawing archives the cab drawings were sent out thus indicating the cab was most probably manufactured locally. The rear window and full rear panel that the Fairmont sports is uniquely an Australian design and not offered on any Fairmont MN Company cab parts lists.
Fairmont MN had a strict policy that as best as possible the Australian built and Canadian built cars for that matter must be identical to the local USA built cars to maintain company standards and reputation. I guess an exception was made for the full rear panel and window and would have been welcomed in Tasmania's harsh winters.
Company records indicate a one off sale in 1957 that was not QR bound. Unfortunately it does not indicate the customer but presents a strong possibility that it was the Mt Lyell Fairmont. It is most probable MT14 Z42 H-3-1 Serial 2091 of 1957 assembled at Rydalmere in Sydney by the Tutt-Bryant owned manufacturing arm S.P.Engineering. If it has survived maybe its builders plate has as well to confirm.
For interest to decode the model identification “M14” is the model type, “T” indicates it has transmission. In this case a high/low rear axle gear box, “Z” indicates a gauge other than standard, “42” indicates 42 inch gage, “H” is the series, “3” is the modification in the series and “1” is the options. In this case standard with magneto.
One other point I often wondered stemming from a recent trip from Dubbil Barril to Queenstown was if a Fairmont could scale the steepest 1 in 16 rack section and now I have my answer that they could it albeit I suspect in low gear and it may have been geared even lower with a small O/D engine drive belt pulley.
Finally the digital enhancing as best as I could do also revealed a track jack sitting in the floor pan of the car at Strahan not clearly discernable in the original photo as displayed.
I look forward to any help you can provide or any other pictures that maybe in your realm.