The C17 Class
The C17 class of locomotive was an improved superheated version of the C16 class goods locomotive, which first appeared in 1903. The first locomotives of the C17 class appeared in 1920. The locomotives were built by various makers both in Australia and overseas, with design changes made until 1953.
The locomotive design was also used as the Commonwealth Railways NM class which operated on the central Australian narrow gauge railway, (“The Old Ghan”).
The C17 locomotives were overall the most numerous class of Queensland engine, and was also possibly its most versatile. The C17 class of locomotive was a lightweight Queensland design that was suited to the lightweight track and sharp curves of the Queensland Railways.
Weighing in at just over 80 tonnes and with eight driving wheels, the C17 class became the mainstay of the Queensland Railways steam fleet.
Undergoing restoration in our workshop is our own locomotive Number 967 and 802. They would have worked mainly in the former Maryborough District during its working life. 802 would have worked the Murgon, Gayndah and Monto branches. In its 42nd year career with Queensland Railways, the locomotive travelled many miles and was involved in a few incidents.
In the late 1960’s the end of steam locomotives was announced by Queensland Railways and in June of 1969 number 802 was condemned. It was donated to the Roma and District Tourist Association where it would remain for 31 years.
Number 802 was to remain in Roma until 2000, when it was removed by the Mary Valley Heritage Railway to Gympie. The intention was to restore 802 to working order. In 2003 this was achieved by the MVHR and since then it has run continuously and is the steam motive power of the MVHR fleet.
Since then number 802 has continued to be the mainstay and the main attraction for the Mary Valley Heritage Railway. It is amazing to think that a piece of machinery is still performing the work it was designed for over eighty years ago.