Innisfail Tramway No.11

In storage at ANGRMS Woodford


B9 1/2 No.11 & tender in storage at ANGRMS Woodford on 12 April 2003.

The boiler cladding has been removed to slow corrosion around the boiler shell.

Remnants of the garish sky blue, red & silver ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ livery are evident.


John Fowler & Co, Leeds

Builder’s Number & Year

17110 of 1927

Wheel Arrangement



The Innisfail Tramway was an interesting 2’ gauge common-carrier railway with 30 miles of track linking cane fields to the South Johnstone and Mourilyan Mills, and the mills to Mourilyan Harbour. The line was built as the Geraldton Tramway by the Johnstone Shire Council, Geraldton being the original name of Innisfail (80km south of Cairns) until renamed in 1910. The Innisfail Tramway, together with Mourilyan Mill’s harbour line, was purchased by the Queensland Railways in 1914.

Preserved loco No. 11 is one of three 0-6-2 tender locomotives supplied new by John Fowler & Co to the Queensland Railways for use on the Innisfail Tramway. They were classified as ‘B9˝’ class following the QR nomenclature of ‘B’ for 6 coupled driving wheels and 9˝ representing the cylinder diameter (in inches). The Innisfail Tramway’s fleet comprised an interesting mix of 13 steam locomotives which toiled to bring cut cane to the mills for processing, and raw sugar to Mourilyan Harbour:


Wheel Arrangement

No. in Class





John Fowler & Co

Innisfail Tramway No’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 8




War Office Hunslet locos, sisters to WD303 ‘Invicta’

Innisfail Tramway No’s 6, 1 (second) & 2 (second)




Krauss B/No.5261 of 1905

Ex- Irvinebank Mining Company ‘Betty’
(Atherton Tableland, west of Cairns)

Innisfail Tramway No.7




John Fowler & Co,

Innisfail Tramway No’s 9, 10 & 11

The Innisfail Tramway was dieselised in 1962, with No.11 withdrawn in 1963. While the balance of the Innisfail Tramway fleet was quickly scrapped, fortunately No.11 was saved following the advocacy of a local railway worker and the old loco was plinthed in Fitzgerald Park, Innisfail. Photos show it originally wore a handsome deep green livery, possibly authentic, but later a succumbed to a garish livery of sky blue with silver chimney and red details (presumably inspired by Thomas the Tank Engine).

The tropical environment of northern Queensland does not suit the placement of old steam locomotives in open parkland, and no doubt No.11 required considerable ongoing maintenance to keep the elements at bay. Innisfail is noted as one of the rainiest towns in Australia, presumably accelerating the deterioration of No. 11. Fortunately the locomotive was donated by the Johnstone Shire Council to the Australian Narrow Gauge Railway Museum Society (ANGRMS) and in 1979 it arrived at their Durundur Railway, Woodford, to the north of Brisbane. Here it has remained in open storage with other steam locomotives similarly rescued from static plinths, awaiting the day when time, labour and resources might be found for their restoration. (In the webmaster’s humble opinion, a suitable future home for this locomotive would be the Workshops Museum at the former QR Ipswich Railway Workshops, where – once properly restored - it could represent QR involvement in local light railways and the sugar industry.)

The Innisfail Tramway was sold by Queensland Railways to local sugar mills in 1977. The webmaster had a memorable visit to the Innisfail area during 1996, including following a bulk sugar haul on a fine rake of old Innisfail Tramway bogie flatcars from Mourilyan Mill to Mourilyan Harbour. Alas this scene is now relegated to history as Mourilyan Mill was damaged by Cyclone Yasi in 2006 and subsequently demolished, while the harbour line has now been abandoned in favour of road transport.

Further history and technical details for Innisfail Tramway No.11 can be found on the ANGRMS web page for No.11.

The Innisfail Tramway as the webmaster experienced it: No.5 brings a rake of bulk sugar containers on Innisfail Tramway flatcars into Mourilyan Harbour
on 15 July 1996; I followed this train from mill to port. Alas the Mourilyan Harbour branch has since been closed and lifted in favour of road transport.
Mourilyan Mill was closed and demolished following damage from Cyclone Yasi in 2006 but Mourilyan Harbour continues to export sugar from other mills.



Light Railway Research Society of Australia Inc. Web site:

'Preserved Australian Sugar Cane Locomotives' by John Browning

(, retrieved 8 June 2019.


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

(Queensland Railways 1910 – 1958 and beyond)’,

published by the ARHS Queensland Division, 1994.


'Light Railways - Australia's Magazine of Industrial & Narrow Gauge Railways',

Number 153, June 2000.

Published by Light Railway Research Society of Australia Inc. pp.15

Page updated: 29 June 2019

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