C16 No.106

Darling Downs Historical Rail Society Ltd, Toowoomba


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C16 No.106 stored in the dimly-lit confines of Redbank Workshops on 6 July 1999; this view was kindly contributed by Andrew Ham.



Toowoomba Foundry Ltd,

Southern Cross Works



Builder’s Number & Year

28 of 1914



Wheel Arrangement




No. in class



A limitation of the Queensland Government Railways’ locomotive classification system is that a class identifier might not prove unique over time, hence requiring various prefixes or suffixes to be added to differentiate between earlier types with the same number of driving wheels and cylinder diameter. Such was the case with the C16 class of 4-8-0 locomotives constructed by a variety of builders between 1903 and 1919, having been preceded by the ‘C16 Baldwin’ class of 2-8-0 locomotives of 1882. Indeed the Queensland Government Railways (QGR) had developed experience with 8-coupled types via the ‘C13 Baldwin’ and ‘C15 Baldwin’ types from 1879, together with the C16 Baldwin locos; these were typical Baldwin 2-8-0 machines that would have looked at home on the steep grades of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.

The QGR developed a preference for 4-wheel leading trucks over the 2-wheel trucks of the earlier Baldwin 2-8-0 and other pioneer locomotive types, hence the 4-8-0 wheel arrangement was adopted when a design for fleet locomotive with 8-coupled wheels was devised. The C16 class was designed by CME George Nutt with prototype No.395 becoming the first locomotive constructed at Ipswich Railway Workshops when completed 1903. The C16 class used saturated steam boilers and Walschaerts valve gear with ‘D’ slide valves, while a large cutaway cab provided protection for the crew. Over the years the class grew to 152 units constructed by a variety of Queensland builders comprising Ipswich Railway Workshops, Walkers Ltd of Maryborough, and Evans Anderson & Phelan of Kangaroo Point.

Ten class members were fitted with superheaters from 1921, but it was determined that the hotter, drier superheated steam did not agree with the C16’s slide valves and no further engines were fitted; indeed the trial locos later reverted to saturated steam. Instead the benefits of superheating were achieved via the later C17-class, using piston valves in place of slide valves, and cylinder diameter increased by 1 inch. The C17’s went on to supersede the C16’s on many duties and withdrawals started as early as 1934, with the remaining locos favoured for light lines, goods and heavy shunting.

Preserved example No.106 entered service on Anzac Day, 25 April 1915 as one of a batch of 15 built from 1914 by local company Toowoomba Foundry Ltd. (This builder also constructed 20 members of the PB15 class 4-6-0’s.) No.106 spent much of her career in south of the state, but also worked for some years in Townsville and finished her working days in Cairns. It was selected for preservation as the last of the Toowoomba Foundry batch in service when withdrawn in May 1964. Although some of the Toowoomba Foundry PB15’s survived until the late 1960’s, C16 No.106 is now the last locomotive from this builder in existence.

No.106 was statically displayed among the locomotives exhibits at the former Redbank Railway Museum from 1970 to 1992. While most Redbank exhibits later moved to the new ‘The Workshops’ railway museum at Ipswich Railway Workshops, instead No.106 moved to Toowoomba on 26 October 2001 and is now slowly being restored to operation by the Darling Downs Historical Rail Society (Downs Steam), where it has been named ‘The Pride of Toowoomba’. The Downs Steam website features news and photos including No.106 and their restoration progress.

As at 4 October 2021, C16 No.106 was almost ready to be returned to steam. Here is a recent YouTube video showing the loco being test driven on compressed air in the Downs Steam workshop.

The Wikipedia page for the C16 class also contains useful technical data.

C16 No.395

It is a pity that class leader and prototype No.395 was not retained for preservation on its withdrawal in 1951, but that was well before preservation era and presumably there was insufficient sentiment to have it retained in recognition of its place as the first locomotive built at Ipswich Railway Workshops.

C16 No.38

C16 No.38 (Walkers b/n 287 of 1917) was the last of the class in service, being withdrawn in March 1970 after a working life of 53 years including war service with the Commonwealth Railways as their Nmb55. Despite its low road number it was in fact one of the final batch of 15 built by Walkers between 1916 & 1917. The loco was retained for a few years after withdrawal and I believe ran some rail tours, but alas was not earmarked for ultimate preservation. It was among the final batch of seven locomotives (including four PB15 class 4-6-0’s) unceremoniously dispatched from Ipswich for scrapping following a tender process in June 1973, and was cut up at Banyo on 12 September 1973. In view of the many C17’s donated by QGR for preservation around the state, it is regrettable that C16 No.38 and the PB15’s were not donated instead, as more historic and perhaps worthy candidates.

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A pre-dawn view of No.106 sitting outside the Downs Steam workshop, preparing for a steam test.

This photo was kindly contributed by Andrew Caldwell and is dated 31 July 2021.

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The tender proudly displays No.106’s name ‘Pride of Toowoomba – Southern Cross Works No.28’.

This photo was kindly contributed by Andrew Caldwell and is dated 4 October 2021.

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C16 No.106 shows off her ornate brass number plate and boiler cladding rings.

This photo was kindly contributed by Andrew Caldwell and is dated 4 October 2021.

A view into the cab of C16 No.106 while stored at Redbank Workshops.

This earlier photo is dated 6 July 1999 and was kindly contributed by Andrew Ham.



Armstrong, J. 'Locomotives in the Tropics - Volume 1

(Queensland Railways 1864 – 1910)’,

published by the ARHS Queensland Division, 1985.


‘Locomotives of Australia’ by Leon Oberg,

published by J. W. Books Pty Ltd


Information provided by A. Ham via email,

12 June 2004


Information provided by J. Salomon via email,

29 February 2020


DownsSteam Tourist Railway & Museum website,

retrieved 11 June 2020.


Wikipedia page for C16 class, retrieved 8 June 2020.

Page updated: 12 October 2021

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