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.
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 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
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
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.
- 0-4-0T A. Jung (Jungenthal) cn# 1052, built 1906
This locomotive may possibly be an 0-6-0WT number 5 located at E M Loveday, c/-Graham Chapman, Murrumba Downs.
If so, it last worked at South Johnston Sugar Mill.
- 0-6-0T Orenstein & Koppel (Berlin-Drewitz) 1896
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
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.
There are three 2 foot gauge steam locomotives at Dreamworld.
- 0-4-0WT John Fowler, cn#16249, built 1923 Under Restoration/Repair
- (G. R. Clapton & Co.) 0-6-2T Queensland&Canefields Perry Engineering, Mile End, cn#5643.51, built 1951 Operational
- 4 (Reg Coulter) 4-6-0 Baldwin, cn#45215, built in 1916 Operational
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
Mary Valley Heritage Railway, Gympie
The Sugar Museum near Innisfail has a preserved Fowler and an old Hunslet
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.
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
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
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
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
Queensland Railway Class C19 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
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
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
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
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
Queensland Railway Class BB18¼ 4-6-2 Number 1089
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.
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
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
Queensland Railways 4-8-2+2-8-4 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
for more information on the QR Beyer Garratts.
Queensland Railways Class BB18¼ 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
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.
- 221A (Wes Barris photo)
- 221A (Wes Barris photo)
- 221A (Wes Barris photo)
- 221A (Wes Barris movie)
Other Steam at the Ipswich Workshops
The following steam locomotives may exist (at least in part) at the workshops:
- Queensland & Canefields 0-6-2T #3
- North Eton Sugar Mill 4-6-0T #4
- Number 3, class A10 0-4-2 QR Neilson Reid & Co. cn 1214, built 1866 (formerly displayed in Limestone Park, Ipswich)
- Number 48, class B13 4-6-0 Dubs cn 1741, built 1883 Stored Formerly Redbank Railway Museum.
- Number 290, class B15 4-6-0 Yorkshire Engine Co cn 532, built 1895 Stored Formerly Redbank Railway Museum.
- Number 2, class C17 4-8-0 Evans Anderson Phelan cn 169, built 1923 Stored Formerly Redbank Railway Museum.
- Number 771, class B18 1/4 4-6-2 cn 128, built 1929, stored
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?
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.
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 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.
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.
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
The other three former Moreton Sugar Mill locomotives are:
- "Mapleton", a 2-truck Shay built by Lima in 1914 (cn #2800), currently located at the Railway Workshops Museum in Ipswich, Queensland.
- "Valdora", an 0-4-0WT built by Dick Kerr & Co (cn #191), currently on diaplay at the Sunshine Coast Railway Modellers Society' outdoor live-steam track near Florence Street, Nambour, Queensland.
- "Moreton", an 0-6-0T+T built by Krauss in 1901 (cn #4867), currently operated (with hydraulic drive) at the Yandina Ginger Factory, Queensland.
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
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
. 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:
- 738 PB15 4-6-0 3ft 6in QR Walkers, cn# 385, built 1926 (Operational)
- PB15 4-6-0 3ft 6in QR (boiler only, displayed near front of museum)
- 855 D17 4-6-4T 3ft 6in QR QR (Ipswich), cn# 155, built 1938 (stored operational)
- 720 C17 4-8-0 3ft 6in QR Walkers, cn# 348, built 1923 (operational)
- 761 C17 4-8-0 3ft 6in QR Walkers, cn# 422, built 1927 (unknown)
- 763 C17 4-8-0 3ft 6in QR Walkers, cn# 424, built 1927 (stored near rear of museum)
- 935 C17 4-8-0 3ft 6in QR Clyde Engineering (Granville), cn# 503, built 1949 (stored near rear of museum)
- boiler (stored near rear of museum)
- boiler (stored near rear of museum)
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
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
Spring Bluff Historic Railway Station & Gardens
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
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
I have not seen the steam locomotives at Swanbank. However, I believe that they
- 3ft 6in operational Cane locomotive named "Kilrie"
- 448 PB15 4-6-0 3ft 6in QR operational (Walkers, built 1908, construction number: 5161)
- C17 boiler and wheels only
If anyone has details about these locomotives, please let me know.