C17 No. 988

Once masquerading as 5972 Hogwarts Castle!


No.988 displayed at the Archer Park Station & Tram Museum, Rockhampton on 7 May 2013, with thanks to Joel Turner for contributing this photo.

The loco is wearing authentic “Brown Bomber” livery and also sports a cast iron chimney, rather than the original stovepipe variety.



Walkers Limited, Maryborough



Builder’s Number & Year

525 of 1952



Wheel Arrangement




No. in class



No.988 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.  The C17’s were a “maid of all work” type that were powerful enough for main line freight duties, yet with a low axle load which permitted wide deployment and accordingly they could be found on everything from suburban and express passenger trains to main, secondary and branch line freight and mixed traffic work, although the type are perhaps best associated with the long rural routes through Queensland Railways’ (QR) Northern and Central Divisions.  The final C17 class members were retired at the very end of QR revenue steam operations in August 1970.

No 988 represents the final “1950 design” of C17 which featured Timken roller bearings on all axles, together with the “1938 design” improvements of piston valves, Laird crossheads, a wider & taller sedan cab with sliding windows, a slender stovepipe chimney with capuchion lip and a higher-capacity tender.  It is one of the final 40 C17’s known as “Brown Bombers” due to their original livery of handsome mid-brown with green lining.

No.988 was placed in Queensland Government Railways service during June 1952 and written off in November 1969 after a working life of 17 years.  Following retirement it was placed in a Cairns park on behalf of Trinity Bay Lions and Rotary clubs, with ownership if the locomotive remaining with Queensland Rail.  Apparently No.988 was later removed from the park and displayed at Cairns station in connection with a local rail historical event.  No.988 was assessed for overhaul by Queensland Rail (QR) in late 1980's with a view to use on their popular tourist train which runs from Cairns up the escarpment to the market town of Kuranda.  Unfortunately this restoration did not proceed and No.988 was subsequently stored in Cairns yard for several years, apparently somewhat incomplete and sans boiler cladding.

A change in No.988’s fortunes came during November 2001 when it was leased by QR to Movieworld, Coomera.  It moved from Cairns to the south of the state, being cosmetically restored and painted to bright red livery to represent “No.5972 Hogwarts Castle” of Harry Potter fame and becoming the centrepiece of the Harry Potter display at Movieworld.  (The locomotive used in the Harry Potter films is in fact ex-Great Western Railway ‘Hall-class’ 4-6-0 No.5972 Olton Hall, with many of the railway scenes filmed in Scotland.)

Another move for No.988 came on 25 May 2011 when it was relocated from Movieworld, Coomera to the Archer Park Station & Steam Tram Museum, Rockhampton.  Here it is displayed under the station roof in authentic Brown Bomber livery of mid-brown with green lining.

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

This photo is kindly provided by Ken McHugh and shows 988 at Movieworld in June 2003.

This photo later appeared in Steam Railway magazine!




"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.


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