Copy of a black & white photograph depicting one of the 2-4-0 type steam passenger locomotives built by the Phoenix Foundry, of Ballarat, during the late 1870s, for use on the country branch lines or 'light lines' that were built throughout central Victoria between 1873 and 1893. The engines were built in two batches Nos.126-144 (even numbers only), which went into service in 1876-77, and Nos.166-184 (even numbers only), which entered service in 1879-80. All were based on the design of a 'pattern' engine (No.98) built by Beyer Peacock of Manchester and imported in 1874. The engines were originally primarily used for hauling branch line passenger services out of the Ararat, Ballarat, Benalla, Geelong, Princes Bridge, Sale and Seymour locomotive depots. Originally they were equipped with four-wheel tenders but by 1894, most had been given larger six-wheel tenders.

Although originally unclassed, these engines were later given the F-class designation in alphabetical Victorian Railways locomotive classification scheme introduced from 1886 onwards. In 1910-11, seven of the newest F-class locomotives (Nos.172-184) were converted to 2-4-2 type tank engines, known as the F-motors, for use on outer suburban line passenger services to fill a gap in locomotive capacity left by the delay in electrification of Melbourne's suburban railway network. The remaining unconverted F-class engines were all withdrawn from service and scrapped between 1916 and 1922. Once electrification was completed a number were transferred to shunting duties before being progressively withdrawn from service between 1920 and 1929.

Daylesford, the location depicted in this photograph was unusual amongst Victorian country towns in that it was served by two separate branch lines. The 22½-mile Carlsruhe to Daylesford branch line, off the main Melbourne to Bendigo line, was completed in 1880 approaching the town from the east, whilst in 1887 a 23-mile branch line to the west was completed between North Creswick and Daylesford, providing a link through to Ballarat on the main western line.

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Railways station staff and train crew posing with a Victorian Railways F-class 2-4-0 type passenger steam locomotive on the turntable in the Daylesford Station yard, probably while the engine was being turned for a return trip to either Woodend or Ballarat, where F-class engines were based. The engine was built by the Phoenix Foundry Co., Ballarat, in about 1879, and appears to be Victorian Railways locomotive No.182 (although it may be no.180 or 184 - the number of the front buffer beam being partially obscured).

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