Last used by the Aramac Tramway
B12 No.31 was withdrawn from Aramac Tramway service in
The copper inner firebox was scrapped at
Aramac, leaving the locomotive’s derelict remains rusting beside a siding.
In recent times the loco chassis and
tender have been dragged back to the station museum as the first step towards
placing them on display.
My thanks to Andrew Fraser for contributing this view of
B12 No.31 in the late afternoon sun of (date)
Engine Company, Bristol
Builder’s Number & Year
one of three additional locomotives to join the Queensland Government
Railways' B12 class of 2-6-0 tender engines. Interestingly it also carries
the Fairlie builder’s number 587 of 1877 as the order was actually taken by
Robert Fairlie while on a sales visit to Queensland but subcontracted to
Avonside Engine Co. for construction. The B12 class was clearly a successful
design for the Queensland Government Railways as the class eventually grew to
25 examples from a range of builders. These handsome locomotives featured
Salter safety valves and a prominent lattice headlight stand atop the
smokebox to support a large acetylene headlight.
sold by the Queensland Government Railways (QGR) in 1911 to the Aramac Shire
Council for operation on their Aramac Tramway, a 41-mile line linking Aramac
in central western Queensland with the QGR at Barcaldine. For sale it was
paired with a larger Baldwin-designed bogie tender from an A12 class 4-4-0
passenger locomotive, in order to increase its range. No.31 was renumbered A1
on the Aramac Tramway.
condemned in 1939 and the boiler removed from frame. Photos show that the
outer firebox was cut away and the copper inner firebox scrapped, but the
rest of the locomotive remained largely intact at Aramac. Further photos
dating from 1963 show the boiler barrel and smokebox lying alongside the
complete but derelict loco chassis and Baldwin tender.
remains of this historic locomotive were subsequently privately purchased and
the boiler shell moved to Kallangur, near Brisbane, while the locomotive chassis
and tender remained at Aramac. At my visit to the Kallangur site in 2003, the
owner of No.31 / A1 showed me a handsome brass numberplate ‘No.31’ that had
been cast and machined. I also observed the boiler shell with the distinctive
latticework headlight stand visible. The current disposition of these boiler remains
are now unknown to me, following sale & redevelopment of the Kallangur
site in 2007, but they are presumed to have moved together with the collection
to the owner’s new site at Narangba. Alas the owner has since passed; any
further news and photos for these boiler remains would be appreciated.
A visit to
Aramac by Shane O’Neil in July 2018 (as described in an article in Railway
Digest magazine of October 2018) confirmed that the frames, wheels and
complete Baldwin tender of No.31 / A1 remain at Aramac. More recently the
locomotive chassis and tender have been dragged closer to the former Aramac
railway station, now the site of the Aramac Tramway Museum, where I understand it is intended
to be prepared for display. Hopefully the boiler barrel and smokebox can also
be retrieved from Brisbane and re-united for display with the locomotive.
& John Kerr have written an authorative history of the Aramac Tramway and
its locomotives, including several photos of B12 No.31 / A1 in operation, in
storage and later derelict at Aramac. For further information about the B12
class and other early Queensland Government Railways locomotives, readers are
directed to the excellent publication ‘Locomotives in the Tropics - Volume 1’
by John Armstrong.
thanks to Andrew Fraser for contributing the photos on this page, following
his visit to Aramac on 21 June 2021.
A second view of the tender frames at Aramac on 21 June 2021,
courtesy of Andrew Fraser.
The rear coupling rod is bent at a crazy angle – possibly a
result of trying to drag the frames from this anchor point.
The rusty Baldwin tender glowing radiant red in the
The tyre marks in the foreground probably show evidence of
the means of relocation of this old relic.
The classic lines and details of a bogie Baldwin tender,
alas showing the ravages of the years and some rough handling.
Empty brackets point skywards from the
tender top, presumably the remaining part of timber ‘hungry boards’ that were
The missing buffer lies in the dirt in the foreground. 21
Rear view of the Baldwin tender, also showing the missing
buffer lying in the sand in the shadow of tender.
The toolbox above the rear buffer plate
is a classic Baldwin feature of the period.
The locomotive frames can be seen to the left rear of this
view. 21 June 2021.
Armstrong, J. 'Locomotives in the Tropics - Volume 1
(Queensland Railways 1864 - 1910),
published by the ARHS Queensland Division, 1985.
P. & Kerr, J., 'The Aramac Tramway'
published Melbourne 2002 by the
Railway Research Society of Australia Inc.
provided by Mr. G. Chapman
our meeting of 12 April 2003.
‘Railway Digest’ magazine – October 2018
Number 10), published by the
Railway Historical Society NSW Division,
Article ‘No, Not
FNQ this time, but a Central Queensland Tour’
By Shane O’Neil (p40 – 47).
Information provided by Andrew Fraser via email,
28 June 2021
Page updated: 11 July 2021
Private & Industrial Railways: