Mildura cement rail tractor

  RustyRick Chief Commissioner

Location: South West Vic
As I was driving up Benetook Av I saw something yellow near the cement wagons.

A New Holland tractor with hydraulic couplings was being used by Blue Circle to shunt their wagons around.

The full wagons were on the down (Mildura) end of the siding..

Dragged up to the discharge hopper.

Then shunted to the up side


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  73LJWhiteSL Deputy Commissioner

Location: South East Melbourne Surburbs
Well now that's certainly a new spin on the name Rail Tractor.

Obviously cheaper to run than have a loco sitting there to shove a handful of wagons around.

  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
What one of the many RT's not available?

Interesting however
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
Quite a clever idea I would have thought. Although it does not seem to be suited to general purpose work, as the guide wheels and coupling apparatus seem fairly dedicated.
  Raichase Captain Rant!

Location: Sydney, NSW
Great series of shots, and thanks for sharing the info.

As for "why not a rail-based vehicle?", why not? This can be repaired with standard parts for it's type, and can go anywhere if it needs a service. It can be onsold or leased if not required and used on a multitude of other jobs.
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
And it can easily go 'off-rail' to go around the wagons on a simple single line siding. All in all, a clever idea.
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
Further proof that sometimes the simplest of ideas are the best of ideas
  skitz Chief Commissioner

Certainly a good jigger.  Only thing missing is the Westinghouse.

You hear stories about rail tractors of old being able to get things moving and not being able to stop them.  Not that is useful always, but sometimes.

Not that its entirely related here but one such story was a rail tractor was not able to get a rake of wagons moving so they uncoupled the first two wagons, went back a bit and hit the rake with a run up.
  ab123 Chief Train Controller

They have a tractor with a similar set up at Warn Ponds also
  historian Deputy Commissioner

Back in the days, it was quite common for private siding holders to shunt wagons using adapted tractors. Indeed, it was so common that the railways quite often found holders had simply started to do so - this then required correspondence to ensure that the tractor was properly adapted, staff were competent, and the siding agreement was updated.

Adapted tractors were cheaper than rail tractors, easier to obtain, did not need sidings to run around trucks, and could be used for other tasks when not shoving wagons around.

The main requirement of the railways was the provision of large buffing plates at the front so that the wagons weren't damaged when being shoved, and that the holder's staff weren't tempted to pull the wagons using rope.  The Rollingstock Branch even produced a standard drawing of the buffing plate.

In those days, of course, hy-rail wheels weren't invented.
  aussiebbq Assistant Commissioner

Location: Ballarat, Australia
I remember in the 90s a tractor was used to push grain hopper through the unload at the Portland Harbour. It just had a bucket on the front, no special buffing plate or anything.
  xke9600hp Train Controller

Back in the days, it was quite common for private siding holders to shunt wagons using adapted tractors.
Going further back, horses were used to move small wagons and even rakes of wagons around Victorian yards.  

Working at the grain sheds in Williamstown as a schoolboy during hols, the old fellas there always talked about a good bloke (known to them) who died trying to save his draught horse whilst moving some G wagons around the yard at the back of the sheds in the 50s.- something about a truck rolling away over points into an adjacent line of trucks and the poor fellow and his horse getting crushed.

I have the impression that these man and horse teams were employed by the VR and not the business owners who operated the premises.

At the time I worked there in the early 70s, the Williamstown rail tractor (RT 35???) used to bring up a rake of GYs for us to unload and we would position them over the discharge boxes ( a crude heath robinson affair), shovel them out and then use the pinch bar to push them down to the end of the yard (slightly downhill but on a curve).  Lots of manual handling in those days and not too fussed about OH&S.
  gy Junior Train Controller

From memory the last shunting horse was used at Ballarat and was featured in Newsletter as Horse and Human retired in 1968 or thereabouts.  
All Victorian Railways goods wagons had a double ended hook on each side sill to allow a rope to be attached. The wagon could then be shunted along either by horse or a fixed winch arrangement.
Regards PTE.
  Top Cat Assistant Commissioner

Location: Under Hilton Bridge
Rail tractors, very similar to the one shown at Mildura, were once wide spread around regional SA.....and on 3 gauges.8)
  K-Class Chief Train Controller

Location: Melbourne
Rail tractors, very similar to the one shown at Mildura, were once wide spread around regional SA.....and on 3 gauges.8)
Top Cat

They are still regularly used throughout SA to help load grain at country silos.


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