D17 No. 855

Stored at the Rosewood Railway Museum


D17 No.855 as recently arrived at the Rosewood Railway Museum in 1991, after more than a decade plinthed at Murgon.

It appears to be receiving some cosmetic restoration; at that stage the stovepipe chimney was fitted and the large headlight in place on the smokebox door.

This view was kindly contributed by Anthony Winstone.



Ipswich Railway Workshops


Builder’s Number & Year

155 of 1938


Wheel Arrangement



No. in class


The D17 class locomotives were designed for Brisbane suburban passenger working, with thirty locomotives built in three batches of 10 each. The first batch was constructed in 1924 by Walkers Limited, Maryborough, followed by the second batch built by Ipswich Railway Workshops in 1925. The third batch was also built by Ipswich Railway Workshops but came a further 12 years later, between 1937 and 1942. The D17 class locomotives were confined to Brisbane metropolitan lines and became known as ‘Black Tanks’ following the later introduction of the DD17 class, which conversely wore a sky blue livery. The D17’s featured a superheated boiler and used the same 17” cylinders as the 4-8-0 C17 class, but with the cylinders aligned horizontally rather than inclined. D17 No.855 was one of the third batch, entering service in February 1938. Five members of the 3rd batch (Nos. 853-857, including preserved loco No.855) were fitted with roller bearings, which were later adopted for the final DD17 class.

No.855 was withdrawn in October 1968 after a working life hauling Brisbane suburban trains for 30 years. Apparently there was a plan to preserve one of the D17 ‘Black Tanks’ in Brisbane, but alas that plan never eventuated. Two were spared from scrapping; No.268 was plinthed at Capella in Central Queensland, while No.855 was similarly placed at Murgon in the South Burnett region. Accordingly both No.268 and No.855 were far removed from their home territory in the Brisbane suburbs.

In 1980 No.855 was donated by Murgon Shire to the Australian Railway Historical Society (Qld Division). In 1990 it was transported to Swanbank, before moving to the Rosewood Railway in 1991. Perhaps there had been a plan to preserve the loco in Brisbane; certainly it is too heavy for the lightly-laid trackage on the Rosewood Railway’s former Marburg branch line. Rather than display, No.855 was placed in storage at Rosewood and unfortunately has since become somewhat derelict.

Alas the Rosewood Railway has recently suspended operating days. Perhaps a suitable future home for this historic loco might be static preservation within a suitable Brisbane museum, or display at a major city station, matched with wooden slam-door suburban carriages to represent the predecessors of today’s modern electric suburban railway trains.

This scanned print view shows D17 No.855 in the storage sidings at the Rosewood Railway in December 2002.

(I remember Rosewood Railway volunteers warning me to watch out for snakes as I ventured into these grassy sidings to take photos!)



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

(Queensland Railways 1910 – 1958 and beyond)’,

published by the ARHS Queensland Division, 1994.


‘Rosewood Railway Museum – The Remaking of a Railway’

by Greg Cash, published by the

Australian Railway Historical Society,

Queensland Division, 1992.


Page updated: 7 January 2020

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