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50 years of Port Kembla Locomotive depot

Sep 1, 2014News

A huge celebration to mark the 50th anniversary of the Port Kembla Loco Depot was held in June at the Illawarra Leagues Club.

Almost 90 former and current drivers attended the event, which was organised by the RTBU, some travelling from as far as Goulburn, Junee, Cootamundra and Kempsey.

In addition to the sharing of old memories, stories and reminiscing, there were also raffle prizes up for grabs including five framed photographs of the 150 Year Of Rail and Rail Union History donated by the Rail Tram and Bus Union, a 750mil bottle of Teachers for the lucky door prize, and a DVD of Steam Locomotives kindly donated by Greg Price.

These kind of reunions take a lot of time and effort to organise, especially given the challenge of contacting drivers who retired up to 15 years ago. A special thanks to John Aquilina and his wife, Alex Claassens, Bob Hayden, Ian Wyllie, Greg Price for their dedication to making the celebration a memorable one.












A bit of history

Port Kembla Diesel Locomotive Depot was opened on the 1/1/1964. The depot replaced the former steam facility at Reid’s Hill (Port Kembla), taken over from the Public Work Department on the 1/1/1949.

The P.W.D had been responsible since the early 1900s for construction and maintenance of the Eastern Breakwater at Port Kembla “harbour”

Reid’s Hill was finally vacated by the N.W.G.R. on the 22/2/1964 with the final transfer of contents into the new depot. Reid’s Hill was then handed back to the P.W.D. and has since been demolished

Diesel hydraulic 7003 was the first of ten seventy class locomotives at Port Kembla, this type of locomotive were mainly used to service the Port Jetties the general network and to transfer loaded steel wagons from AIS Cringila to the shunting yards at Port Kembla

With the opening of Port Kembla Locomotive Depot, Thirroul Steam Depot was to close, although the facilities including the turntable were retained for several years before being demolished.

Thirroul continued to be used as a sign on point for Train Crews and for some servicing and turning of steam Locomotives until total dieselisation of the Illawarra South Coast Line was achieved later that year

Port Kembla (Loco) Maintenance is now used by private enterprise to fuel and maintain Diesel Locomotives