HERITAGE BACKON TRACK

BEING RESTORED: The iconic AC16 No.221 in its heyday and Today Transport Minister Mark Bailey at the Bremer River Bridge with MPs Lance McCallum, Jennier Howard and Jim Madden

The Queensland Government is investing $2.75 million to bolster the historic rail bridge linking the heritage-listed Ipswich Rail Workshops and the broader Queensland Rail network, and to restore one of the state’s most iconic steam locomotives.

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Member for Ipswich Jennifer Howard said Ipswich had a special place in the state’s rail history, with the first rail line in Queensland constructed from Ipswich to Bigges Camp (Grandchester) and the first Queensland Rail workshops built at North Ipswich.

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“Essential works can now be undertaken on the Bremer River rail bridge, which has connected the workshops with the Queensland Rail network since its inception,” Ms Howard said.

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“Queensland Rail will invest $1.3 million to replace the transoms on the Bremer River Bridge to keep the Ipswich Workshops connected to the main rail network, to protect the movement of heritage trains in and out of the facility long term.”

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Member for Ipswich West Jim Madden said an investment of $1.2 million would be injected into the rail yard for essential maintenance.

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“This will mean the heritage rail fleet can maintain its connection to the Queensland Rail network, which is great news for the well patronised heritage services for Toowoomba’s Carnival of Flowers and the Brisbane Ekka,” he said.

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Member for Bundamba Lance McCallum was delighted the investment would see a much-loved locomotive restored to its former glory, with $250,000 to see the iconic AC16 No. 221A locomotive restored to operation.

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“AC16 locomotives were commissioned by Queensland Railways in the 1940s and transported troops and equipment in support of the war effort,” he said.

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“They were later allocated to communities throughout the state including Ipswich. They also hauled services for the Midlander and Westlander through until the late 1960s.

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“I can’t wait to see the iconic AC16 loco in operation again, and ride on a service with it.”

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Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey acknowledged the century and a half history of rail in Ipswich, which extended back to 1865.

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“Queensland Rail leases part of the site to the Ipswich Workshop Rail Museum, which has become a landmark tourist attraction, attracting close to 100,000 visitors to Ipswich in the last full operating year pre-COVID,” he said.

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“We want to continue to protect that rail heritage so that it can be enjoyed for many generations to come.”

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