C19 No.700

Stored at ‘The Workshops’ museum, Ipswich


C19 No.700 is located in a storage shed at the rear of ‘The Workshops’ museum at Ipswich Railway Workshops, as seen in this photo of 8 October 2004.

The wide boiler and purposeful proportions of this chunky and powerful passenger locomotive are evident.

I believe the star on the smokebox relates to top-link passenger turns such as the Sydney Mail from Brisbane to the break-of-gauge border station at Wallangarra.



Ipswich Railway Workshops



Builder’s Number & Year

98 of 1923



Wheel Arrangement




No. in class

26 (plus three CC19 locos converted from the earlier C18 class)


The C19 class story actually starts with the earlier C18 class of 1914, which comprised three large-boilered 4-8-0 locomotives designed for heavy passenger duties such as the Sydney Mail, which had to traverse the demanding Main Range to Toowoomba and then though the Granite Belt to meet the NSWGR standard gauge railway at Wallangarra. The three C18 locomotives were constructed at Ipswich Railway Workshops and were commissioned with differences to trial the benefits of superheating. The first (No.692) was provided with a saturated boiler, the second (No.693) received a German ‘Schmidt’ superheater while the third (No.694) received a UK-built ‘Robinson’ superheater. The superheater trials were successful, leading to the selection of the ‘Robinson’ type but the production locomotive design was varied with a lower boiler pressure, while larger 19” cylinders were specified in compensation. The production engines accordingly became the C19 class following the QR practice of denoting ‘C’ for 4-coupled locomotives and ‘19’ representing the cylinder diameter. (The selection of the Robinson superheater would be an interesting topic alone; it is arguably simpler and more robust than the German ‘Schmidt’ design as it did not require baffles to isolate the superheater flues when the regulator is closed – but the webmaster suspects that post-war preference for UK-supplied manufactures may also have been a factor.)

The production run of twenty C19 class locomotives was constructed at Ipswich Railway Workshops between 1922 and 1928, together with a further six from Walkers Limited, Maryborough in 1935 to provide motive power for the expanding North Coast main line. The original three C18 class were later rebuilt to align with C19 class specifications, becoming the CC19 class. In addition to passenger turns, the C19 class found employment on fruit trains from the Granite Belt to Brisbane, together with other main line heavy freight duties. As was often the case, powerful and sure-footed locomotives were called on for the most prestigious passenger duties, with the C19 class hauling several Royal trains.

Preserved C19 No.700 entered service with Queensland Railways in August 1923. While most of the C19 class were withdrawn between 1955 and 1957 as a result of the first wave of dieselisation, a handful remained until 1962. C19 No.700 was the last class member in service when retired in February 1964 after a working life of 41 years. (A common theme in the transition to diesel traction was the early withdrawal of route-limited passenger and heavy freight steam locomotives, while more versatile steam locos like the C17 class survived to end of QR steam in 1970.)

No.700 was plinthed as a static exhibit within the former Redbank Railway (locomotive) Museum from 1970 to 1992. Upon closure of that museum, No 700 joined the other former Redbank exhibits in storage at Redbank Workshops while ‘The Workshops’ museum was developed at its birthplace, the Ipswich Railway Workshops. No. 700 is now located in a storage shed at the rear of ‘The Workshops’ museum, one of five former Redbank locomotive exhibits awaiting the removal of dangerous old boiler lagging before they can be publicly displayed. Alas those five locomotives have now been stored out of public sight for a period approaching 30 years; hopefully funding will soon be found for the professional removal of the old lagging, followed by careful static restoration, to allow these locomotives to be returned to public display. C19 No.700 could make an interesting exhibit to relate themes of domestic locomotive design for mountain climbing (prior to the introduction of 4-6-2 ‘Pacific’ types), technical innovation and fuel efficiency via superheating, Royal trains, or the break-of-gauge at Wallangarra (prior to the opening of the standard-gauge line to Brisbane via Kyogle).

The definitive reference for further information about the C18 & C19 Class locomotives is ‘Locomotives in the Tropics, Volume 2, Queensland Railways 1910 – 1958’ by John Armstrong. The Wikipedia page for the C19 class also provides good information and technical statistics.

This wonderful old advertisement extolls the virtues of the Robinson locomotive superheater.

(The locomotive pictured is the class leader of the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway L-class of 1914.)

Image sourced from Grace's Guide to British Industrial History – The Superheater Corporation Ltd.

Here is a second advertisement for the Robinson locomotive superheater.

Image sourced from Grace's Guide to British Industrial History – The Superheater Corporation Ltd.



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

(Queensland Railways 1910 – 1958 and beyond)’,

published by the ARHS Queensland Division, 1994.


Oberg, L. ‘Locomotives of Australia - 1985 to 2010’ (Fifth Edition),

published 2010 by Rosenberg Publishing Pty Ltd


Wikipedia pages for C19 class and C18 class, retrieved 25 May 2020.


Graces guide to British Industrial History website,

Superheater Corporation page, retrieved 26 May 2020

Page updated: 11 June 2020

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