B12 No.31

Last used by the Aramac Tramway


B12 No.31 was withdrawn from Aramac Tramway service in 1939.

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)


Avonside Engine Company, Bristol

Builder’s Number & Year

1179 of 1877

Wheel Arrangement



No.31 was 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.

No.31 was 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.

A1 was 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.

The 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.

Peter Bell & 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.

My sincere thanks to Andrew Fraser for contributing the photos on this page, following his visit to Aramac on 21 June 2021.

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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.

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The rusty Baldwin tender glowing radiant red in the afternoon sunlight.

The tyre marks in the foreground probably show evidence of the means of relocation of this old relic.

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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 once fitted.

The missing buffer lies in the dirt in the foreground. 21 June 2021

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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.


Bell, P. & Kerr, J., 'The Aramac Tramway'

published Melbourne 2002 by the

Light Railway Research Society of Australia Inc.


Information provided by Mr. G. Chapman

during our meeting of 12 April 2003.


‘Railway Digest’ magazine – October 2018

(Volume 56, Number 10), published by the

Australian 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

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