16 April 2010

Steam trains to run on the Ipswich line after 42 years

Media Release

Minister for Transport

The Honourable Rachel Nolan


Steam train suburban services to make first appearance since 1968

Brisbane residents will have a rare chance to hop aboard a steam train service next week, with QR set to run additional, special services between Ipswich and Shorncliffe.

The three services, one each day from Monday April 19 through to Wednesday 21 April, are the first time in more than 40 years commuters will be able to use their regular tickets to get on board a steam train on the suburban network.

The special services are part of a training school to skill up current electric passenger train drivers to become qualified steam train drivers.

Transport Minister Rachel Nolan said Queensland Rail is one of a handful of railway companies in the world to operate heritage services.

"The train drivers in this school are already very experienced passenger train drivers who over the years have become firemen on our steam trains - for them this is the next step," she said.

"Our steam train trips are incredibly popular, with the Q150 steam train last year travelling more than 10,000km, and special services during events such as last year's Ekka.

"These extra services will be a bit of a surprise to some commuters next week; to be sitting at Central station waiting for the next train and see a steam passenger train pull in.

"It's a good opportunity to experience how rail travel use to be.

"These three special services will be out of peak times, but there are no special conditions - if passengers want to get on board they simply need to have a valid ticket or go card."

The last time steam trains were used as part of suburban passenger operations was September 1968.

The following year all remaining steam locomotives were removed from operations in Queensland, replaced by diesel locomotives and, beginning in 1979, electric trains on the suburban network.

This is the first steam train drivers school since 1997. Three drivers will qualify from this school, with a further three to qualify in May.

The special services will depart Ipswich station at 9:12 am, stopping all stations to arrive at Central Station at 10:34am and the all stations to Shorncliffe station for an 11:20am arrival.

They will then depart Shorncliffe station at 12:18pm, Central Station at 1:03pm and terminate at Ipswich at 2:24pm, stopping all stations on route.

COMMENT: What a great initiative by the State Government.

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