F176 is the sole remaining example of the class.
Number built: 21
Number range: 98, 126 – 144, 166 – 184 (even numbers only)
Built by: Phoenix Foundry, Ballarat to a design by Beyer Peacock & Co,
Built: 1874, 1876-77, 1879-80
Wheel Arrangement: 2-4-0, seven rebuilt as 2-4-2T
Tractive Effort: 8,268 lb, 10,584 lb after new boilers were fitted
Purpose: The F class were built for operation on the lightly-built branch lines around Victoria. With a 2-4-0 wheel arrangement, these locomotives were for passenger use. In 1894, five locomotives were allotted to Ararat, three each to Geelong and Ballarat, two each to Seymour, Benalla and Princes Bridge and four to Sale.
Interesting Facts: In 1874, the Victorian Railways received a Beyer Peacock built 2-4-0 inside cylinder, passenger locomotive as a pattern engine. This locomotive was assigned number 98. Two years later, the first of a batch of 10 locomotives built to the pattern were delivered by Phoenix Foundry. The rest of the batch was delivered during 1896 and 1897 and was assigned the even numbers from 126 to 144.
Phoenix Foundry built the second batch of 10 locomotives and these went into service in 1879 and 1880 with the even numbers 166 to 184. All locomotives were constructed as tender locomotive, initially with a 4 wheel tender and then 6 wheel tenders around the turn of the century. Between 1902 and 1912, all locomotives had their boilers replaced which resulted in increased tractive effort.
In 1910-11, seven of these tender locomotives, even numbers 172 to 184, were rebuilt as 2-4-2 tank engines for use in the outer suburban area. A bunker was provided behind the cab for the coal and side tanks for the water. Known as motors, these locomotives would pull a single passenger carriage on services such as Burnley-Darling, Camberwell-Asburton-Deepdene, Heidelberg-Eltham, Essendon-Broadmeadows, Ballarat-Buninyong and Ballarat-Ballan.
Withdrawal: The 14 locomotives that remained as tender engines were taken out of service between 1916 and 1922. Of those converted to tank engines, five were taken out off the register between 1925 and 1929. F178 was withdrawn from traffic in 1926 and remained at North Melbourne Locomotive Depot for use as a boiler washout engine until 1951.
F176 was sold to H V Mc Kay, Sunshine Harvester Works on 28 May 1920. The locomotive was donated by Massey Ferguson (Aust) to ARHS in 1961 for display in the Railway Museum.