Queensland adopted the 3ft 6ins gauge at a time when it was barely out of the experimental stage. Debate about the best gauge, and about the suitability of narrow gauge for main lines, was still raging. Whether a narrow gauge line could ascend the Dividing Range west of Brisbane and still haul useful loads was also an open question. But, short of capital, the Queensland Government saw it as a practical way to increase railway mileage cheaply.
The first line opened in 1865. By 1867 it has been extended across the Little Liverpool Range and up the Main Range to Toowoomba. But the full system was not complete until the 1920s. A "small engine" policy was dictated by light rails and a 9 ton maximum axle load. In recent times, modernisation has brought diesel and electric traction, but some steam engines remain for excursion service.
Queensland Railways (QR) has a large roster of preserved steam locomotives, of which two or three have been available for service in every year since the 1970s. There are also several preservation operations operating steam trains.
This DVD shows excursions and preserved lines in the period 1991-2004. It includes QR's AC16 "Macarthur" 221A, the 4-8-2+2-8-4 Beyer-Garratt, BB18¼ Pacifics, C17 4-8-0s, DD17 4-6-4T and a PB15 4-6-0. Also featured is the historic A10 0-4-2, built by Nielson in Glasgow in 1865, and the second-oldest loco still in public traffic in the world. Two Fowler cane tram locos perform at Nambour and Bundaberg. Rockhampton's restored steam tram, built by Purrey of Bordeaux in 1909 and in service until 1939, is seen in steam.
Source material for this production is 93% digital; 8 mins from Super-8 movie film has also been included. All 59 mins of the previous VHS release are included uncut, plus another 64 minutes of previously unseen material.
Produced by - Camden Miniature Steam/Railstuff
Running time - 120 Minutes