Queensland BB18¼ class locomotive

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Queensland Railways BB18¼ class
Queensland BB18¼ class locomotive.jpg
1079 passing through Enoggera station in April 2009
Type and origin
Power type Steam
Build date 1950-1958
Total produced 55
 • Whyte 4-6-2
Gauge 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Driver dia. 4 ft 3 in (1,295 mm)
Length 60 ft 2 in (18.34 m)
Height 12 ft 6 in (3.81 m)
Axle load 12.1 long tons (13.6 short tons; 12.3 t)
Loco weight 58.0 long tons (65.0 short tons; 58.9 t)
Tender weight 43.2 long tons (48.4 short tons; 43.9 t)
Total weight 101.2 long tons (113.3 short tons; 102.8 t)
Fuel type Coal
Fuel capacity 10.3 long tons (11.5 short tons; 10.5 t)
Water cap 3,500 imp gal (16,000 l; 4,200 US gal)
 • Firegrate area
25 sq ft (2.3 m2)
Boiler pressure 170 lbf/in2 (1,172 kPa)
Heating surface 1,858 sq ft (172.6 m2)
Cylinder size 18.25 in × 24 in (464 mm × 610 mm)
Valve gear Walschaerts
Performance figures
Tractive effort 22,648 lbf (100.7 kN)
Factor of adh. 3.59
Operators Queensland Railways
Numbers 1011-1045, 1070-1089
Preserved 1037, 1072, 1077, 1079, 1086, 1089
Disposition 6 preserved, 49 scrapped

The Queensland Railways BB18¼ class locomotive was a class of 4-6-2 steam locomotives operated by the Queensland Railways.


The first 35 BB18¼ class locomotives were built by the Vulcan Foundry in Newton-le-Willows, England in 1950/51.[1] Per Queensland Railway's classification system they were designated the BB18¼ class, BB representing they had three driving axles, and the 18¼ the cylinder diameter in inches.

A further 20 built by Walkers Limited, Maryborough between 1955 and 1958. No. 1089 was the last steam engine placed into service on a mainline Australian railway.

Their route availability was always the same as for the B18 1/4 and C19. The extremities of that availability when they were introduced were (from Brisbane) Roma, Wallan-garra, Merinda (near Bowen), plus branches Bundmaba to 3 miles 8 chains (on loop to Redbank), Gowrie to Wyreema loop, Warwick to Thane (South-Western Line), Ipswich to Workshops Gate, South Brisbane to Lota, Kuraby and Corinda, Shorncliffe, Dayboro', Pinkenba, Kilcoy, Brooloo, Byellee (near Gladstone) to Monto and Selene, Bajool to Pt Alma, Rockhampton to Emerald, Dawson and Callide Valley Branches, Townsville to Charters Towers and Babinda, and Merinda to Collinsville. The route availability was extended by track and bridge strengthening- Merinda to Stuart (near Townsville, and Babinda to Cairns (1952), Emerald to Capella and Mackay to Outer Harbour (1956), Emerald to Bogantungan and Charters Towers to Torrens Creek (1957), and Torrens Creek to Hughenden (1958). They were attached to Mayne (Brisbane), Ipswich, Toowoomba, Maryborough, Rockhampton, Mackay and Townsville depots over the years (see J W Knowles, Queensland Railways Steam Locomotives 1900 - 1960, self published, 2002, Appendix 6, p315, Line Standards).

They did the same work throughout their lives as the earlier B18 1/4, even at the beginning being seen on goods, mixed, suburban and long distance passenger trains. The only difference was that at the beginning, when they were brand new, and in best condition, they were preferred for the long distance passenger work.


The BB18¼ class locomotive is a type of 4-6-2 steam locomotive operated by the Queensland Railways. They were an improved version of the B18¼ class.

Some modifications to the original design were suggested by Vulcan Foundry and subsequently adopted. A number of features, including the mounting of Westinghouse pump on the fireman’s side, stainless steel rather than brass boiler bands, SCOA-P coupled wheels (rather than having traditional solid spokes the SCOA-P spoke is hollow, with a 'U' shaped cross section and are considerably lighter than a conventional spoked wheel) pressed steel sand box and a larger tender giving an increased coal and water capacity.

Engines constructed by Walkers Limited used electricity for the light on the rear of the tender, for side lamps and to illuminate the motion. All were fitted with roller bearings and chime whistles. The Vulcan built engines were painted hawthorn green when introduced, the Walkers built examples in a brighter green.[2]


Six have been preserved:[3]


  1. ^ 4-6-2 Locomotives for Queensland Railway Gazette 16 March 1951 page 299
  2. ^ Turner, Jim (1997). Australian Steam Locomotives 1896-1958. Kenthurst: Kangaroo Press. p. 176. ISBN 086417778X. 
  3. ^ Oberg, Leon (2010). Locomotives of Australia 1850s-2010. Dural: Rosenberg Publishing. pp. 243, 244. ISBN 9781921719011. 
  4. ^ BB18¼ 1037 Australian Steam
  5. ^ Dedicated band to restore steam train Daily Mercury 15 June 2009
  6. ^ Queensland BB18¼ Zig Zag Railway
  7. ^ BB18¼ 1072 Australian Steam
  8. ^ BB18¼ 1077 Australian Steam
  9. ^ a b Information Sheet: BB18¼ Class: No. 1079 and No. 1089 Workshops Rail Museum
  10. ^ BB18¼ 1079 Australian Steam
  11. ^ BB18¼ 1086 Australian Steam
  12. ^ BB18¼ 1089 Australian Steam

External links[edit]

Media related to Queensland BB18¼ class locomotives at Wikimedia Commons