DD17 No.1051

Last built of the DD17 suburban tank locos


A family outing to the Redbank Railway Museum in 1979 yielded this postcard of DD17 No.1051, as prepared for preservation by QR.

Similar portrait views were taken by QR of each of the Redbank exhibits, prior to their placement in the Redbank Railway Museum.



Ipswich Railway Workshops



Builder’s Number & Year

210 of 1952



Wheel Arrangement




No. in class



The DD17 class locomotives were the final development of Queensland Railways (QR) steam power for Brisbane suburban workings; this successful design benefitted from the early lessons from the 6D16 class 4-6-2T locos (later converted to 4-6-4T) and experience with the later D17 class 4-6-4T locos. The 4-6-4T configuration was popular for suburban passenger traffic around the world, key features being a symmetrical wheel arrangement that was equally suited to forward or reverse travel at speed, good adhesion from the mass of water tanks over the driving wheels, and good visibility in both directions. The DD17’s were modern locomotives, featuring extensive use of welded components, superheated boilers, electric lighting, mechanical lubricators and roller bearings on all axles. Twelve DD17 class locomotives were built at Ipswich Railway Workshops, the first six (949 - 954) in 1948-49 and the final six (1046 – 1051) between 1950 and 1952. The class featured an attractive blue livery, a stark contrast to the black livery worn by the earlier D17 and 6D16 class locomotives. I believe the class were known as ‘Blue Babies’ by railwaymen and Brisbane residents.

The last-built in the class, DD17 No.1051 entered service in July 1952 and was written off in September 1968. It was selected by QR to represent all suburban passenger locomotives at the former Redbank Railway Museum, where it was plinthed with other statically-displayed exhibits from 1970 until closure of the museum in 1992.

No.1051 was restored to operation at Ipswich Railway Workshops in August 1993 for tours on the QR network, principally around the Brisbane suburbs. As restored, I understand it received the name ‘Blue Baby’. Unfortunately 1051 has since been stopped for overhaul and reboilering and is stored at ‘The Workshops’ railway museum, Ipswich awaiting manufacture of a new welded boiler.

UPDATE: As at June 2012, No.1051 is still stored but components for the new boiler had been recently delivered, with welding expected to start shortly. (I would appreciate a more recent progress update for No.1051.)

This photo is courtesy of Graham Watkins and his former SunSteam website, with the caption:

'DD17 1051 gets ready to leave Mitchelton on another run to Ferny Grove as part of the Mitchelton Heritage Festival on 29 July 2001.’



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

(Queensland Railways 1910 – 1958 and beyond)’,

published by the ARHS Queensland Division, 1994.


‘Locomotives of Australia’ by Leon Oberg,

published by J. W. Books Pty Ltd

Page updated: 11 April 2020

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