Robbie Burns No.3

Originally for the Stannary Hills Tramway

 

No.3 Robbie Burns in storage at Woodford on 12 April 2003.
Some of the unusual features are evident, such as the curved framing above the front pony truck and cylinders placed towards the mid-frame.

Builder

A. Borsig,
Berlin-Tegel, Germany

Builder’s Number & Year

6345 of 1907

Wheel Arrangement

4-4-2T

 

No.3 ‘Robbie Burns’ is a rare and unusual locomotive. It was built as a 4-4-2 tender engine for the Stannary Hills Mining & Tramway Co. for use on their Stannary Hills Tramway which linked tin mining operations and associated firewood supply with the Queensland Government Railways at Boonmoo on the Mareeba to Chillagoe line, inland from Cairns. To my knowledge it is the only locomotive supplied to Australia by German manufacturer A. Borsig, and as originally built featured a rather unusual look owing to its cylinders being placed towards the mid-frame and distinctive front pony truck. It worked alongside some more conventional British locomotives on the Stannary Hills Tramway, becoming the last loco to work there when used to dismantle the line in 1940.

The Borsig loco was then stored at Boonmoo until purchased by the Cattle Creek Mill in 1942. Its new owners converted the loco to a tank configuration (4-4-2T) and it worked in sugar cane haulage until withdrawn from service in 1962.

After 10 years stored at Cattle Creek Mill, No.3 was donated to the Australian Narrow Gauge Railway Museum Society (ANGRMS) in 1972. The loco was relocated to their Woodford site in 1983, where it remains in open storage. ANGRMS have recently completed construction of a loco storage shed, so hopefully No.3 Robbie Burns will be moved undercover. The ANGRMS website includes an information page for No. 3 ‘Robbie Burns’ including some technical data.

A search on the web found this site containing some photos of the unusual Borsig locomotive as originally built.
Here is link to another page with various photos of the Stannary Hills Tramway’s other locos.

Although No.3 ‘Robbie Burns’ has been slowly deterioration in open storage since 1962 and has been modified from its original tender configuration, it remains an interesting & unusual locomotive with a history that speaks of the early mining and development of the Atherton tableland and Cairns hinterland. Perhaps one day it will be restored for display as a significant artefact in a Cairns or regional museum. In the meantime, ANGRMS deserve thanks for saving this locomotive and hence creating the option of future restoration and display.

References

a

Light Railway Research Society of Australia Inc. Web site
(as at 30 March 2018):

'Preserved Australian Sugar Cane Locomotives' list

by John Browning (www.lrrsa.org.au/LRR_SGRc.htm)

b

Wikipedia page for August Borsig,

retrieved 30 March 2018.

c

Australian Narrow Gauge Railway Museum (ANGRMS) Website,

Page for No.3 Robbie Burns, retrieved 30 march 2018.

Page updated: 30 March 2018

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