C17 No.45

Mary Valley Heritage Railway


A scanned photo view of C17 No.45 at Gympie & District Historical Society Museum in 1996.

The loco had been restored to operation in a cramped location at the rear of a display area.

No.45 subsequently moved to Gympie loco depot as flagship of the new established Mary Valley Heritage Railway.



Evans, Anderson, Phelan & Co,

Kangaroo Point, Brisbane



Builder’s Number & Year

168 of 1923



Wheel Arrangement




No. in class



No.45 is one of Queensland Government Railways’ highly successful C17 class 4-8-0 locomotives of which 227 units were constructed by a variety of builders between 1920 and 1953. No.45 was built to the original ‘1920 design’ of C17 which are identifiable by a straight-sided cutaway cab, cast iron chimney and a low-sided bogie tender. At some stage it was fitted with the ‘1938 design’ boiler with a low steam dome, but retains the original style of cast-iron chimney.

No.45 is one of the oldest surviving C17’s, having been placed in service by the Queensland Government Railways in January 1923 and written off 44 years later in October 1967. Upon retirement it spent some time in storage before being placed in Andrew Fisher Park, Gympie in 1972.

Following the unfortunate scrapping of sister park loco C17 No.820 at Gympie in 1982, No.45 was threatened with a similar fate in 1983 until concerned locals came to the rescue and it was transferred to the nearby Gympie & District Historical Society Museum on 4 January 1984. Here No.45 was gradually restored to operation by a team of local volunteers in a rather cramped location at the rear of a display building. Upon removing the firebox doors (which had been welded shut during No.45’s park days) it was found that the firebox was still full of ash! Replacement or refurbished parts were obtained from many sources, including swaps with other plinthed C17 locomotives. A major milestone was achieved on 10 October 1992 when No.45 was officially recommissioned and became available for steaming over a short length of track at the museum.

On 17 September 1996, No.45 was transferred to the newly-formed Mary Valley Heritage Railway (MVHR) depot and running shed in the former Queensland Railways loco shed at Gympie. It subsequently hauled the first ‘Valley Rattler’ train on 23 May 1998, becoming the flagship locomotive of the MVHR fleet which has since grown to six C17 locos with the addition of Nos. 253, 705, 802, 819 & 967.

John Stark has written a comprehensive and well-illustrated account of the restoration of this locomotive and the establishment of the Mary Valley Heritage Railway in his book ‘The Return of Steam Locomotive C17, No.45’.

I would really appreciate some good action photos of No.45 on Valley Rattler services for addition to this page, so contributions are welcome!

UPDATE: Alas No.45 Gympie is no longer operational, having last run in May 2003 and since placed in storage at the Gympie locomotive shed and restoration depot. Hopefully it will one day be returned to steam on the Mary Valley Railway.

For more general information about the Queensland Railways’ C17 class locomotives, refer to the page for C17 No.2.

No.45’s builders plate as photographed at Gympie & District Historical Society Museum in 1996.

No.45 is seen stored under an improvised tarpaulin at Gympie on 2 February 2019 (with sister No.802 behind).
This photo was kindly contributed by Paul Shepherd.



‘Locomotives of Australia’ by Leon Oberg,

published by J. W. Books Pty Ltd.


Stark, R. J., 'The Return of Steam Locomotive C17, No. 45',

published 2000 by The Degener Timms Publications,

Gympie, Queensland


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

(Queensland Railways 1910 – 1958 and beyond)’,

published by the ARHS Queensland Division, 1994.


Locomotive information sheet provided by the

Mary Valley Heritage Railway, 28 January 2004.


Page updated: 30 January 2022

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