Steam locomotive Captain James

No. AA440. Victorian Railways Aᴬ Class 4-4-0 Steam Locomotive details: 1:5 Scale • 9” (235mm) driving wheels • Cylinders (2) 2¼” x 4”. Slide valves. Stephenson valve gear.

frankThis tender steam locomotive was built over three years at by Captain Ernest H James at his home in Hawthorn, Melbourne finishing in 1935. He was proprietor of The Model Dockyard in Swanston Street, Melbourne. He ran the loco at his weekender in Beaumaris, very close to the Beaumaris Hotel. In 1938 it operated at the 20th Century Exhibition, at the seven story Craig, Williamson Building, 20 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne. When Captain James died the loco shifted to Balwyn Rd, Canterbury, the home of Alan Mason the son of his business associate, Major George Mason. In November 2002 Alan’s grandson Chris Mason gave the train to MSTEC. This loco has not been operational for a very long time. A replacement water tube boiler is required. Historically, this locomotive is a very rare surviving example of one built for the enjoyment of the family and not for commercial use. The light nature of the construction meant that most were considered as not worth preserving.
Captain James, Military Cross, plus Bar, earned this rank leading the 1st Australian Armoured Car Section from 1916 until 1919, in the Middle East. He had led a group of car enthusiasts who were army volunteers. They built Australia’s first armoured cars and donated them to the Minister of Defence.