|Total Number of Engines Built||152|
|First Engine Built||1903|
|Last Engine Built||1918|
|First Engine Written Off||1934|
|Last Engine Written Off||1970|
The prototype, N°395, was the first engine to be built by the then new Ipswich Railway Workshops. It was the only QR engine with the exception of the Garratt classes to be fitted with a screw reverser. After successful trials, an order for a further 20 was placed in 1906 and construction began in earnest. The first engines had an unusual combined number and builder’s plate mounted on the sides of the cab. In early years, the class was often referred to as “Ipswich C16” to distinguish them from the Baldwin built C16 engines of the previous century.
Three engines were specially turned out for a time to haul the heavy Sydney Mail train until larger locomotives took over this duty. Engines constructed during World War 1 were given indiscriminate numbers by reusing brass number plates off scrapped locomotives. This commenced a trend that was used on many engines of other classes constructed during the 1920s and early 1930s. In 1920s, superheating was trialled on ten engines. Operation of these superheated engines proved costly despite tests proving savings in coal and water consumption. The principal problem was lubrication of slide valves with the higher temperatures. This caused wear and cutting of the valve and port faces with resultant steam leaks. The original cast iron valves were replaced with bronze ones but produced little improvement. In 1929, it was decided to not to superheat any more slide valve engines and those so fitted reverted to saturated steam as boiler renewals became necessary. Eleven engines were loaned to Commonwealth Railways in 1942. All were later returned when the traffic situation worsened in Queensland.
As saturated engines they were soon replaced on more important duties by their successor, the C17 Class. The engines that survived until the last decade of steam were mainly used for heavy shunting in yards such as Rockhampton where the loads were beyond the capacity of the PB15 class
The class received a number of modifications during their lives. The early engines had sandboxes on the running boards rather than mounted on the boiler. All, except the class leader, had these replaced by a “standard” Baldwin style sandbox on their boilers. A. A. R. Master Mechanics smokeboxes commenced being fitted to members of the class in 1945. This greatly improved their performance. All engines remaining in service, except N°106, were similarly altered. These modified engines could be distinguished by their tapered stove pipe chimney.
The last engine in service was N°38 at Rockhampton.
EAP – Evans, Anderson, Phelan & Co, Brisbane, Qld
Ipswich – Ipswich Workshops, Qld
Toowoomba – Toowoomba Foundry Ltd, (Southern Cross Works) Toowoomba Qld
Walkers – Walkers Limited, Engineers, Maryborough Qld
CR – Commonwealth Railways
DDHRS – Darling Downs Historical Rail Society (Downs Steam), Toowoomba