B13˝ No.398

Ipswich Workshops shunter ‘Pompey’


No.398 ‘Pompey’ displayed in front of The Workshops railway museum, Ipswich on 17 November 2002.

The loco was newly painted for opening of The Workshops museum, with the original ‘Pompey’ nameplate in place above the front buffer.



Ipswich Railway Workshops



Builder’s Number & Year

4 of 1904



Wheel Arrangement

(Originally 0-6-0T)



No. in class



The six locomotives in this class were conceived as a way of using spare 13˝ inch diameter cylinders left over from another project, together with spare 3 foot driving wheels from B15 class 4-6-0 locos which had been modified to B15 Converted class (with larger 3’ 9” driving wheels). These six locomotives were built to 0-6-0T configuration, hence receiving the class designation of 6D13˝ following the Queensland Government Railways (QGR) classification scheme. Purpose-built shunting locos were somewhat of a novelty for the QGR, with most shunting duties falling to superseded main-line types such as the B15 Converted class of 4-6-0.

As built, the 6D13˝ class were rather handsome and well-proportioned locos, but with high axle load. In the 1930’s the class were rebuilt to 0-6-0 tender configuration, with the side tanks and bunkers removed and surplus B13-class bogie tenders provided, hence reducing the axle load while also overcoming coal and water storage limitations. The cab roof was also raised to improve headroom. As rebuilt, these locos were rather less well-proportioned and had an appearance that belied their spare-parts origins. The locos were reclassified as the B13˝ class following rebuilding.

No.398 was the third built of the six locomotives in this class. It was converted into tender configuration in May 1937 and officially withdrawn from duties in December 1953, but retained at Ipswich Railway Workshops as the works shunter. Here staff bestowed the name ‘Pompey’, with a suitable name board added above the buffer beam, much in the style of a suburban destination board.

No.398 Pompey was finally retired from duties sometime after 1968, including use on some local ARHS railway enthusiast tours in 1967 and 1968. Pompey was subsequently preserved at Ipswich Workshops. (I think it was the gate guardian - perhaps someone could contribute a photo of Pompey at this early stage of its preservation?)

Pompey was repainted in time for the opening of the (then new) ‘The Workshops’ museum at Ipswich in 2002 and is displayed in the museum forecourt grounds, and is the first locomotive encountered by visitors as they enter the museum.

A broadside view of No.398 Pompey outside the newly-opened ‘The Workshops’ museum at Ipswich on 17 November 2002.

The webmaster’s son pictured with Pompey on 22 October 2006.

Not much has changed for Pompey since this photo was taken, whereas my son is now six feet tall!



Armstrong, J. 'Locomotives in the Tropics - Volume 2

(Queensland Railways 1910 – 1958 and beyond)’,

published by the ARHS Queensland Division, 1994.


‘Locomotives of Australia’ by Leon Oberg,

published by J. W. Books Pty Ltd

Page updated: 18 January 2020

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