Old girl fires up for journey marking 150th birthday
IT'S hard to believe a chunk of Queensland history that arrived here in pieces 150 years ago could still look so good.
The A10 locomotive that will pull two carriages full of very lucky people this Sunday is as close to the genuine article as you could get.
While not one of the fleet that took part in the first train journey from Ipswich to Grandchester, the one that has been lovingly restored in Ipswich is closely related.
The loco's mere existence is testament to the knowledge, skill and devotion of the fitters and drivers who have kept her in such pristine condition over the years.
Queensland Rail historian Greg Hallam said that when she toots off from Ipswich this Sunday, the No 6 A10 will be the oldest engine running off its steam in Australia, and most likely the southern hemisphere.
"The A10 is a survivor from the very early days of the Queensland railways," he said.
"It landed here in 1866 - it came from Glasgow in pieces and once it arrived it had to be put together at the workshops where Riverlink now stands."
The No 6 was sent up to Bundaberg to work in the sugar industry in the 1960s, before being given back to QR for the centenary celebrations during 1965.
Tyrone Warn was one of the lucky 16-year-old Ipswich boys who were given the privilege of working as a porter on the train for that special day.
Mr Warn, along with David Wells and Howard Wallace, had to greet then Premier Frank Nicklin and Governor Sir Henry Abel Smith that day.
A former station master at Ipswich railway workshops prior to its transition into a museum, Mr Warn still works for QR today and will be part of this weekend's festivities.
"Imagine four 16-year-old boys escorting the premier around these days," Mr Warn said.
"I was one of the luckiest people on the planet."
Following the centenary celebration, the A10 was put on display at the Redbank museum, where it remained until about 1989.
It was restored in 1991 and has been working up some big kilometres ever since.
Fitter Mark Ferrar said the loco was a pleasure to work on and drive.
"Compared to the larger, more modern locos this one is more fun because it is a lot smaller and the controls are lighter," Mr Ferrar said.
"It is amazing that we still have it running. Something like this should be looked after. Some of us here think it should be kept in a humidity bubble to preserve it."
After departing Ipswich bright and early, the A10 will roll into Grandchester about 10.10am this Sunday, linking in with the Grandchester Community Steamfest event.
Members of the public will be able to view the beautiful old steam loco on the platform for 20 minutes following its arrival.
The re-enactment is part of a week of 150th anniversary celebrations for Queensland Rail, with Roma St station Platform 3 to be opened daily for public viewings of the restored 1875 station building and various steam engines and diesel locos.
Members of the public can buy a ticket to ride the much younger "Bety" steam train from Brisbane to Ipswich next Friday, July 31 - coinciding with the 150th anniversary.
The QT is giving away three double passes for the historic journey.