RAILWAY heritage was celebrated on the weekend with an 80th birthday run for Queensland Rail’s historic steam engine, the AC16 221A.
More than 300 railway enthusiasts boarded the train for a return trip from Ipswich to Grandchester station replicating one of the engine’s first journeys.
Passengers rode in historic wooden carriages, travelling past picturesque farming land and the historic towns of Walloon and Rosewood before arriving at Grandchester station, where the first section of railway opened in Queensland in 1865.
The event was also the first public open day held at Grandchester station since an agreement was signed by Queensland Rail earlier this year to reopen the station.
The trip also aligned with the current Galvanized Ipswich Festival which finishes this Sunday.
Transport Minister Mark Bailey said the trip honoured AC16’s service to the State as well as the many people who shared in its impressive 80-year journey.
Queensland Rail CEO Kat Stapleton said there is now just two AC16s left in the entire country, so it was a rare and special opportunity for the next generation of visitors to ride on this important piece of Queensland rail heritage on Sunday.
“Ipswich Workshops specialists overhauled this one in 2003—replacing the boiler, cab, tender and brakes system as well as the installation of auto couplers,” she said.
“Formerly known as ‘Bigge’s Camp’, Grandchester Station opened in 1865, while AC 16 finished service in the 1960’s.”