Steam Locomotives of Queensland, AU

There are two primary gauged railways in Queensland. The larger 3'-6" gauge railway is used throughout the state on all main and branch lines. It may be the largest (and most profitable) narrow gauge system in the world. There is a standard gauge connection to Sydney but this is just 100 or so miles long between the capital, Brisbane and the southern border. The system has around 650 or more miles electrified now. The last revenue steam run on this system would have been around 1969.

The 2'-0" gauge is confined to the sugar growing areas along the coast and it extends out from the local sugar mills. These are often called tramways.

3'-6" gauge locomotives are classified using the following notation: Xnn, where "X" is a capital letter: A = 4 driving wheels, B = 6 driving wheels, C = 8 driving wheels, D = Tank locomotive, and "nn" is the cylinder/piston diameter in inches. Sometimes a second capital letter is appended to the front. This letter was used for several meanings: P = Passenger, A = American World War II Baldwin, ASG = Australian Standard Garratt, BG = Beyer-Garratt. Sometimes the first capital letter was doubled to denote a second class of similar locomotives. Using this system you can end up with some seemingly bizarre classes like BB18¼.

Page Contents: [Atherton Tablelands] [Bli Bli] [Beaudesert] [Brisbane] [Bundaberg] [Childers] [Gin Gin] [Gympie] [Dreamworld] [Movie World] [Innisfail] [Ipswich] [Maryborough] [Mossman] [Mount Morgan] [Mundubbera] [Nambour] [Pittsworth] [Port Douglas] [Redbank] [Rosewood] [Southern Downs Steam Railway] [Southport] [Springbluff] [Swanbank] [Woodford]

Atherton Tablelands

Capella RAILCO (Ravenshoe and Atherton Insteam Locomotion Company) has two locomotives. There is a C17 at Atherton. It has been restored but is not currently running because the line to Herberton is out of service. The Ravenshoe end runs tours every weekend between Ravenshoe and Toumoulin powered by an ex-Brisbane suburbia tank locomotive minus its tanks but with a water truck.

Bli Bli

Bli Bli Bli Bli is a small town located a few kilometers northwest of Maroochydore (a resort town on the Sunchine Coast). Alf Muller Park is just east of town on the David Low Way. The engine named for this city is an 0-4-2T cane locomotive built by John Fowler in 1915. Bli Bli was well protected from both vandals (and photographers) inside a covered cage. Since this photo was taken this locomotive was moved to the Nambour & Historical Historical Museum.


C17 #967 is a 4-8-0 built by Walkers in 1950. After retirement, it was put on display in a park in Caloundra (north of Brisbane). In 1985, the Ghan Preservation Society in Alice Springs bought the locomotive and moved it to their museum. In 2000, #967 was purchased by a new preservation groupl called Beaudesert Rail, with plans on restoring it to operational condition. It was transported to Beaudesert (south of Brisbane) in February 2001. The boiler restoration took place at Boilerland while the remainder of the locomotive was restored at Beaudesert Metal Fabrications. The locomotive ran on the Bethania - Beaudesert line. However, in 2004 Beaudesert Rail went broke. 967 was moved and is now stored at the Ipswich Railway Museum awaiting sale.



The following two 2-foot gauge steam locomotives were maybe once located at Kalinga Park in Nundah (suburb of Brisbane). One source listed these locomotives at Murrumba Downs. Does anyone have any information on these locomotives or if they were ever in Murrumba Downs? I have been unable to find them.

Spring Hill

QR 705 Locomotive number 705 is one of many QR class C17 4-8-0 steam locomotives displayed or stored around Queensland. It was built in 1926 by Evans, Anderson, Phelan. It currently is displayed in a primary school playground on Water St. in Spring Hill. A plaque attached to the locomotive incorrectly states that this is locomotive number 752 built in 1927. I wonder why the discrepancy. Since this photo was taken this locomotive has been moved to Gympie.


Childers Historical Complex, Childers

Childers number 6 Childers number 6 Number 6 is a 2-foot 0-6-0 built by John Fowler in 1912. A sign on the tender indicates that it once worked at the ISIS Sugar factory. It spent part of its life in the playground of the old Childers State School. Currently, it is nicely displayed with other historical equipment at the Childers Historical Complex.

Dreamworld, Coomera

There are three 2 foot gauge steam locomotives at Dreamworld.



Gin Gin

Bunyip Bunyip Plaque Gin Gin Bunyip is a 2-foot 0-6-0 built by Krauss (in Munich) in 1910. I believe it is a class 27bn locomotive. According to the plaque mounted on the cab, Bunyip worked at the Wallaville Mill starting in 1896 which doesn't jive with the builder's data that I have. It is nicely displayed in a historical park in Gin Gin.

Mary Valley Heritage Railway, Gympie



The Sugar Museum near Innisfail has a preserved Fowler and an old Hunslet as well.


Ipswich is located about a half hours drive west of Brisbane. It has attractions which include the Global Arts Link, the Queens Park Nature Centre, and the Historic Ipswich Railway Workshops.

Ipswich Workshops

Welding at the Workshops The Ipswich Workshops are located just north of downtown. Constructed in the late 1800s, they are considered the birthplace of Queensland Railways. When in full operation, they once were the work place of thousands of workers. Today, they provide a base of restoration for the historic fleet of QR steam locomotives.

Boiler Boiler The Workshops provide a unique place where steam locomotives and carriages may be restored. Tenders may be constructed almost from scratch, boilers can be overhauled, and springs can be manufactured and replaced. Even the tools may be fabricated here.


Queensland Railway Class B13½ 0-6-0 Number 398

QR 398 QR 398 Number 398 is displayed near the entry of the workshops. It was built in 1904 at these workshops as a class D13 ½ 0-6-0T shunter. It was later rebuilt into a B13 ½ 0-6-0 (tender locomotive) as shown here. It was named "Pompey" and used here as a shunting locomotive at the shops.

Some rosters still list 398 as a tank locomotive.

Queensland Railway Class PB15 4-6-0 Number 444

4-6-0 Number 444 4-6-0 Number 444 QR 444 was built by Walkers Limited of Maryborough in 1908 (construction number 89). She was once displayed at the former Redbank Railway Museum. In June, 2002, restoration to operational condition was completed on 444. I am not sure, but I think that 444 may power excursions around the Iswich area.

Queensland Railway Class C19 4-8-0 Number 700

4-8-0 Number 700 Number 700 was built here at the Ipswich Railway Workshops in 1923 (construction number 98). She is currently stored in one of the buildings.

Queensland Railway Class PB15 4-6-0 Number 732

4-6-0 Number 732 4-6-0 Number 732 Number 732 was built by Walkers Ltd. in 1926 (construction number 379). She once operated on the QR in excursion service. Today she is out of service, awaiting an overhaul.

Queensland Railway Class C17 4-8-0 Number 1000

4-8-0 Number 1000 4-8-0 Number 1000 Number 1000 was built by Walkers Ltd in 1953 (construction number 537). She was once located at the former Redbank Railway Museum. She is awaiting restoration to working order.

Queensland Railway Class C17 4-8-0 Number 974

4-8-0 Number 974 Number 974 was built by Walkers Ltd. in 1951 (construction number 511). She was once used in excursion service on the QR. In 2008 restoration work was completed. At the time this photo was taken Brown Bomber was written on the smoke box. The name Brown Bomber was a nickname given to the brown coloured C17 locomotives used in Rockhampton. This group of C17s had roller bearings. The older C17s which were coloured green were used in Townsville and had friction bearings. They were called Green Bombers.

Queensland Railway Class BB18¼ 4-6-2 Number 1089

1089 Commemorative Plate Number 1089 was built in Maryborough by Walkers Ltd. in March, 1958 (construction number 557). 1089 was the last main-line steam locomotive built in Australia. 1089 was officailly allocated to the Mayne depot but also worked for a period at the Willowburn depot in Toowoomba in 1968 and at Mackay during the sugar seasons. In 1965 commemorative plaques were added (shown on the left) to the cab detailing its service. 1089 was retired from active service in 1969.

1089 and 1079 doubleheading 1089 Operating 4-6-2 Number 1089 For a time 1089 was stored at the former Redbank Railway Museum. In 2001, restoration work was underway at the Ipswich Shops. Unfortunately the photo on the left, showing some the restoration in progress is a bit blurred. In 2002, 1089 made its first excursion run since the restoration.

Class A10 0-4-2 Number 6

0-4-2 Number 6 Number 6 was built by Neilson Reid & Co., Glasgow in 1865 (construction number 1170). She once operated in excursion service before being placed at the former Redbank Railway Museum for static display. In 1989 she was transported to Mayne (Brisbane suburb) for a complete restoration to working order.

Queensland Railways 4-8-2+2-8-4 Beyer Garratt 1009

Beyer Garratt 1009 Beyer Garratt 1009 This steam locomotive is a Beyer Garratt. It was built in 1950 by Beyer Peacock & Co. (Manchester) (construction number 7349). It was mainly used for coal traffic in central QLD. For some time it was displayed at the former Redbank Railway Museum. It was occasionally operated by SunSteam Inc. for special events. Currently, it is out of service due to a broken foundation ring. See this interesting movie for more information on the QR Beyer Garratts.

Queensland Railways Class BB18¼ 4-6-2 Number 1079

4-6-2 Number 1079 4-6-2 Number 1079 Number 1079 is one of two locomotives that are home based at Ipswich but spend much of their time touring throughout the Queensland Railway system. 1079 was built by Walkers Ltd. in 1956 (construction number 547). A number of excursion trains are operated throughout the year. A schedule of these excursions can be seen on the SunSteam web site.

Queensland Railways Class DD17 4-6-4T Number 1051

4-6-4T Number 1051 4-6-4T Number 1051 The Blue Baby, as this locomotive is affectionately named, is the other of two locomotives that are home based at Ipswich but spend much of their time touring throughout the Queensland Railway system. 1051 was built at the Ipswich Workshops in 1951 (construction number 210). It should be noted that 1051 was the last locomotive built at the Ipswich Workshops. A number of excursion trains are operated throughout the year. A schedule of these excursions can be seen on the SunSteam web site.

Queensland Railways Class AC16 2-8-2 Number 221A

Number 221A was built by Baldin in 1943 (construction number 69456). It was loaned to Australia during WWII by the US Army and later purchased by Australia. After retirement 221A was placed at the Redbank Railway Museum. It was restored to operation in 2003 at the Ipswich Railway Workshops (receiving a new boiler). It has its original AC16 tender and now serves in excursion service.

Other Steam at the Ipswich Workshops

The following steam locomotives may exist (at least in part) at the workshops: Several other boilers are located at the museum. I don't know whether that is the only part of these other remaining steam locomotives.

Are there any others?



qr299 Back in 1897 number 299 was the first locomotive built by Walkers Limited of Maryborough. Although supposedly operational, 299 is displayed at the Maryborough station.


Speedy Mossman is located in northern Queensland just north of Port Douglas. The Mossman Central Mill is (was) located in Mossman where two (Speedy and Bundy) "two-footers" were used to haul sugar cane trains to and from the cane fields. Later, a tourist line called the Bally Hooley operated out of Mossman. At the time of my visit I only saw Speedy displayed. I understand that Bundy) may have been stored behind the Bally Hooley station. Both steam locomotives are of the 0-6-2T type and built at the Bundaberg Foundry in 1952. Since my trip to Mossman, Speedy and Bundy have been relocated to the Bally Hooley Steam Railway in Port Douglas.


Mount Morgan

Mount Morgan 3 Mount Morgan 3 Mount Morgan 2 Mount Morgan 2 Mount Morgan is a gold and copper mining town located about 1/2 hour south of Rockhampton. The small town has cave and mine tours and has the Central Queensland Steam Railway. Two sister locomotives are located in town. Number 2 is displayed in blue paint on East Street. Number 3 is kept inside while not being used on the railway. Both were built by Hunslet in Leeds in 1904.


QR 253 QR 253 QR 253 Plaque 253 is a class C17 3'-6" gauge 4-8-0 built by Evans, Anderson, Phelan of Brisbane in 1921. It was retired from service on the QR in 1967 with just under one million miles on it. It was donated to the city in 1969.


Eudlo Dulong There used to be at least five cane locomotives at the Moreton Sugar Mill in Nambour (about 1/2 hour north of Brisbane). Today, two remain on display. The one named "Dulong" is a 2-truck Shay built by Lima in 1908 (cn #2091). The other, named "Eudlo" is an 0-6-0T built by John Fowler in 1926 (cn #16207). In 2006 Dulong was moved from Nambour to the Ipswich Workshops so that it could be cosmetically restored. When complete, it will be relocated to Mapleton.

The other three former Moreton Sugar Mill locomotives are:

More information: here and here

Warner Brothers Movie World, Oxenford

C17 4-8-0 988 was built in 1953 by Walkers. It has been stored in Cairns in railway yards for many years. In the 1980s, it was considered for restoration for use on the Kuranda Tourist Train, however, restoration efforts never materialized. It has now been leased to Warner Brothers Movie World in Oxenford. It is to be restored for static display in a new attraction called "Harry Potter Movie Magic Experience" which opens Dec 26, 2001.



C16 106, a 4-8-0 built by the Toowoomba Foundry in 1914 had remained in Redbank at the Redbank Training Centre building (former Redbank Stores) after all other locomotives were relocated to Ipswich. In 2001, the Downs Steam Historical Rail Society purchased 106 for restoration to operating condition. It had been moved from Redbank to Toowoomba for a short while. It was then moved to Pittsworth for restoration.

Port Douglas

Port Douglas is the home of the Bally Hooley Steam Railway. The railway used to be privately owned by the same person who owns the Rainforest Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary. The railway line runs past Choo Choo's restaurant and on to the Marina Mirage in Port Douglas. The train was originally owned and operated by the Mossman Sugar Mill. It has operated off and on as a tourist railway since the early 1980s. In the 2000s, locomotives Speedy and Bundy have been moved from Mossman to this location.



Redbank was once the home of the Redbank Railway Museum. In 1993 the museum closed and most of the equipment was moved to the Ipswich Workshops. I have heard that at least one steam locomotive is still stored in Redbank, however, this may only be a rumor.

Rockhampton Steam Tramway


The Rosewood Railway Museum is actually located in the small town of Kunkala. A railway line runs between Kunkala and Rosewood with a station located in between at Cabanda (between the two towns). Trackage rights do not yet allow the trains to run any further than Cabanda. Someday, they will run all the way from Kunkala to Rosewood and back. The museum is a project of the Australian Railway Historical Society, Queensland Division.

Although one could drive all the way to Kunkala, museum goers normally drive to the Cabanda Station and take the train to Kunkala and back. Steam power for the train (which operates on the last Sunday of each month) is class PB15 4-6-0 number 738. The museum at Kunkala is open every Sunday.

The steam locomotive roster at the Rosewood Railway Museum is:


Southern Downs Steam Railway

The Southern Downs Steam Railway was established in 1995 and has been restoring a C17 class steam locomotive number 971 which was obtained from the Chinchilla Historical Society and donated to the Southern Downs Steam Railway in May 2000.

The locomotive sports a brand new fully welded boiler built at the Ipswich Railway Workshops. The locomotive is in the final stages of restoration to working condition and should re-enter service by late 2006.


Queensland Railway Class C17 4-8-0 Number 996

4-8-0 Number 996 Number 996 was built by Walkers Ltd. in 1953 (construction number 533). It was displayed for many years in a park at the corner of North Street and the Gold Coast Highway serving as a playground item for children. In June, 2005 996 was acquired by the Queensland Pioneer Steam Railway in Swanbank.

More information.

Spring Bluff Historic Railway Station & Gardens

Spring Bluff Spring Bluff Spring Bluff is located just north of Toowoomba. Spring Bluff is not exactly a town and there is no steam locomotive here. However, there is a railway station located here on the main line between Ipswich and Toowoomba. Back in 1914, Queensland Railways introduced a garden competition to encourage railway staff to beautify the stations. This challenge was enthusiastically carried out by station master Ralph Kirsop and his wife Lillian.

In the 1970s, Queensland Rail introduced steam train excursions from Toowoomba to Spring Bluff in response to public interest in the prizewinning gardens.

Today the station is a great place to relax, have a picnic or a meal at the coffee shop.


The Swanbank tourist railway is operated by the Queensland Pioneer Steam Railway. The tourist railway is located south of Swanbank near the Swanbank Power Station in an area called Box Flat. There is a small picnic area near the station.

I have not seen the steam locomotives at Swanbank. However, I believe that they have two:

If anyone has details about these locomotives, please let me know.


All material Copyright ©
Wes Barris