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Negative - McKeen Petrol Rail Motor, Victoria Railways, circa 1912 Image Reg. No: MM 7229

Two of these futuristic looking railcars were purchased from the McKeen Company of Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.A. They had a 6 cylinder petrol engine and a passenger capacity of 73. Apparently they ran Ballarat to Maryborough and Hamilton to Warrnambool services. They must have been dismal failures as railmotors as they only lasted about 3 years. In 1919 they were de-engined and used as passenger cars (ABCL 1 & 2) on the Altona line for a few years. They were both recorded as scrapped in August 1926.
Description Of Content:
Three men posing in front of a McKeen petrol rail motor at an unknown Victorian location, possibly at Warrnambool.
Two gentlemen smartly dressed in suits, overcoats and hats are standing in front of the engine driver's cabin on either side of the cow catcher, the third gentleman, also smartly dressed in smiilar style but with his hat in hand, it seated on the buffer beam at the front of the engine between the two standing figures. The men appear to be some type of professional railways staff or businessmen, rather than train crew.
Acquisition Information:
Copied from Mrs H Kirby, 1988
The Biggest Family Album of Australia, Museum Victoria
Discipline: Technology

More information

Tagged with: rail vehicles, railmotors, railway workers
Themes this item is part of: Images & Image Making Collection, Transport Collection, The Biggest Family Album in Australia Collection
Primary Classification: RAIL TRANSPORT
Secondary Classification: Railways - Internal Combustion Power
Tertiary Classification: petrol rail motors
Format: Negative: Black & White; 35 mm
Place & Date Depicted: Warrnambool (?), Victoria, Australia, circa 1912

This image was original identified as having been taken in Gippsland, however, this is no record of the McKeen rail cars having been operated or even testing on Gippsland lines. It is possible that the location was incorrectly identified because a number of other images copied from the same contributor depict scenes in Gippsland.
Collections Online comment from Bruce Payne, 31/03/2012, suggests that the location where the photograph was taken may have been Warrnambool.


Bruce Payne Posted on 31 Mar 2012 12:14 AM
I would suggest that this photo is taken at Warrnambool (Place name probably confused with Warragul - Gippsland) Warrnambool siding had a hill cutting behind it and photo shows a bit of a hill behind the front of the McKeen.
This was the base for the Warrnambool - Koroit- Penshurst - Hamilton service being one of the McKeen Rail Motor Car operated services, that was introduced in May 1912 and ran until about early winter 1915
Anyone know the exact date the McKeen Car was actually withdrawn from this service? The second McKeen was used between Ballarat - Maryborough and then later between Maryborough - St Arnaud
Bruce Payne

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