Mary Valley Heritage Railway
The late afternoon sun casts a golden light across C17
No.705 resting at the MVHR’s Gympie depot on 10 July 2014.
Some items have been removed from the locomotive,
such as the tall sand dome, motion and safety valve bonnet.
My thanks to David McCulloch for contributing this
Anderson, Phelan & Co,
Builder’s Number & Year
176 of 1926
No. in class
one of Queensland Railways’ highly successful C17 class ‘maid of all work’
4-8-0 locomotives, with 227 units constructed by a variety of builders
between 1920 and 1953. The ‘C17’ classification follows Queensland Railways’
nomenclature whereby ‘C’ denotes an 8-coupled locomotive and ‘17’ references
the cylinder diameter (in inches). The C17 design featured a superheated
boiler and was developed from the earlier saturated steam C16 type. The final
C17 class members were retired from service at the very end of Queensland
Railways revenue steam operations in August 1970.
to ‘Locomotives in the Tropics’, No.705 is one of the older C17’s, having
been placed in service by the Queensland Government Railways in February 1926
and written off 44 years later in July 1970. No.705 was built to the original
C17 ‘1920 design’ with a straight-sided cutaway cab, tall steam dome, cast
iron chimney and a low-sided bogie tender, however at some stage it received
the more modern ‘1938 design’ boiler with low steam dome and stovepipe
withdrawal from service No.705 was saved for posterity, being presented to
the Playground & Recreation Association and placed in a kindergarten in
Brisbane's inner suburb of Spring Hill. Here it carried the plates and
identity of sister C17 No.752 (Evans Anderson Phelan & Co 180 of 1927).
When I first encountered this locomotive in December 2002 it wore an
attractive but non-authentic livery of green with red trimmings and was
displayed under a well-constructed weather roof which provided good
protection from the elements (as seen in the photo below).
subsequently acquired by the Mary Valley
Heritage Railway and relocated to their Gympie base during April 2009,
joining the fleet of C17 locomotives stabled there. No.705 was ostensibly placed
in storage at the Gympie depot and workshop, with contemporary photographs
showing the running gear and other components had been removed, presumably
for assessment or further use on the MVHR’s operable C17 locomotives.
relocated to Imbil on 21 January 2021 and placed on display in the platform
road in the station yard, where it is being cosmetically restored by the
Imbil Progress Association. (Imbil was the destination of Mary Valley
Heritage Railway operations until more recent times, with the trip shortened
to Dagun. The Mary Valley branch originally continued from Imbil to the terminus
at Brooloo, but that section of line was out of use before formation of the
Mary Valley Heritage Railway and has since been lifted, becoming a bicycle
trail.) I understand that No.705 is on loan for static display for a period
of 5 years and will provide a promotion for Imbil township and the bike trail
to Brooloo. Photographs (below) show good progress is being made with cosmetic
restoration and repainting, with No.705 now wearing an historically accurate
livery of black with red running boards. Hopefully the compressor, cowcatcher,
rods & motion will also be refitted to make a more complete display piece.
further general information about the Queensland Railways’ C17 class
locomotives, refer to the page for C17
C17 No.705 plinthed in Spring
Hill, Brisbane as the webmaster found her on 26 December 2002.
At this stage the
boiler clothing had been removed and green livery applied directly to the
A well-constructed weather roof
provided good protection from the elements.
This commemorative plaque was
fitted to No.705 (referencing No.752) during the years the loco was plinthed in
a playground in the inner-city
Brisbane suburb of Spring Hill. Photographed 26 December 2002.
A view over the fence into the
Mary Valley Heritage Railway workshop and depot on 26 September 2009.
foreground is the tender of No.705, followed by the chassis of an unidentified
trafficable sister No.967 and an historic railmotor watch from adjacent shed roads.
The MVHR depot is based in
Queensland Rail’s former steam loco depot at Gympie.
No.705 has now been placed in the
platform road at Imbil Station, as seen in this view contributed by Michael
Gitsham and dated 21 March 2021.
The loco sports
an “Imbil” destination board and “Proud Mary” on the smokebox - and is a credit
to the efforts of the Imbil Progress Association.
Items such as the cowcatcher, air
compressor, rods & motion are yet to be replaced; hopefully these can be
refitted to make a more complete display.
A second view of No.705 displayed
at Imbil on 21 March 2021, courtesy of Michael Gitsham.
Oberg, L. ‘Locomotives of Australia’,
published by J. W. Books Pty Ltd
J. 'Locomotives in the Tropics - Volume 2
Railways 1910 – 1958 and beyond)’,
by the ARHS Queensland Division, 1994.
provided by Michael Gitsham,
Preservation Society of Queensland Inc.
dated 25 January 2022.
Page updated: 2 February 2022
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