C17 No. 967

Mary Valley Heritage Railway


No.967 in steam on a Beaudesert Rail service at Beaudesert station on 7 February 2004; this photo is courtesy of Mark Griffiths.



Walkers Limited, Maryborough



Builder’s Number & Year

504 of 1950



Wheel Arrangement




No. in class



No.967 is one of Queensland 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 967 represents the final batch of 40 ‘Brown Bomber’ C17’s of the ’1950 design’, which featured Timken roller bearings on all axles together with the ‘1938 design’ improvements of piston valves, Laird crossheads, a wider & taller sedan cab, a slender stovepipe chimney with capuchion lip and a higher-capacity tender. (Further general information about Queensland Railways’ C17 class locomotives can be found on the page for C17 No.2.)

No.967 was placed in Queensland Government Railways service during August 1950 and written off in November 1969 after a working life of 19 years. Following retirement, No. 967 was initially placed in a park at Bulcock Beach, Caloundra for the Caloundra Rotary Club, however it has made a number of subsequent moves around Australia during its preservation career.

In 1985, No.967 was purchased by the Ghan Preservation Society and transported to their base near Alice Springs, Northern Territory, where it was exhibited as the gatekeeper outside their MacDonnell station and workshop precinct. This acquisition reflected the fact that the Commonwealth Railways NM class 4-8-0’s (which used to work the famous Ghan train to Alice Springs) were copies of the Queensland Government Railways C17's class (albeit the original 1920 design rather than the modernised 1950 design) and accordingly No.967 provided some reference to The Ghan’s historical motive power.

A third move came in 2000 when No. 967 was purchased by Beaudesert Rail and moved to Beaudesert, south of Brisbane, where it was restored to operation in early 2003 for use on Beaudesert - Logan tourist trains. No. 967 wore lined blue livery during this period of operation for Beaudesert Rail. Unfortunately the Beaudesert Rail operation failed after a short period and during March 2006 No. 967 was moved to the Ipswich Railway Workshops for storage.

In early 2007 Queensland Rail invited tenders for the purchase and removal of No.967 from Ipswich Railway Workshops. On 22 August 2007 No. 967 was purchased by the Mary Valley Heritage Railway (MVHR) and by late -2007 it had moved to Gympie. Here it was repainted to lined black livery and added to the MVHR stud of C17 locomotives running tourist trains on The Valley Rattler operation between Gympie and Imbil.

The Valley Rattler train recommenced operation in 2019 after a period of maintenance and upgrade of railway infrastructure on the Gympie - Imbil branch. No.967 had been laid-up in the Gympie loco shed (together with other MVHR locomotives) during the shutdown, but was overhauled and returned to service in 2019 as flagship for the renewed MVHR operation.

My thanks to Robert Alexander for contributing the following sequence of photos showing No.967 in Mary Valley Heritage Railway service on 26 April 2008.

No.967 on a Mary Valley Heritage Railway ‘Valley Rattler’ service on 26 April 2008; photo courtesy of Robert Alexander.

No.967 rides the turntable at Aramoor on 26 April 2008; photo courtesy of Robert Alexander.

No. 967 and crew rest at Gympie - 26 April 2008.

Another view of No.967 on a Mary Valley Heritage Railway ‘Valley Rattler’ service on 26 April 2008; photo courtesy of Robert Alexander.

This earlier view shows C17 No.967 when in the care of the Ghan Preservation Society, Alice Springs.

Here No.967 was statically presented as the gate guardian at their MacDonnell West station and workshop.

My thanks to Chris Johnson for contributing this photo, which is dated 20 January 1988.

Here is an even earlier view of C17 No.967 on display at Caloundra in authentic ‘Brown Bomber’ livery, dated late July / early August 1971.

My thanks to Steve Birdsall for kindly contributing this view of No.967 during its years at Caloundra, snapped during a holiday visit.



‘Locomotives of Australia’ by Leon Oberg,

published by J. W. Books Pty Ltd


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

(Queensland Railways 1910 – 1958 and beyond)’,

published by the ARHS Queensland Division, 1994.

Page updated: 22 September 2019

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