|Total Number of Engines Built||227|
|First Engine Built||1920|
|Last Engine Built||1953|
|First Engine Written Off||1954|
|Last Engine Written Off||1970*|
* All steam locomotives were written off the books in 1970, however a few C17s contrinued to be used around Ipswich for shunting and departmental purposes until March 1972
These versatile engines were a superheated version of C16 Class. This class contained more engines and was constructed over a longer period than any other type on QR. In fact, some earlier members of the class had been withdrawn before the final ones entered service. Commonwealth Railways NM Class was based on this design.
They were used to haul Mail Trains on lines could not accommodate heavier (B18¼) classes, also suburban passenger, mixed, goods and branch line trains. Until 1948 they were the heaviest engines that could work north of Mackay. Prior to the introduction of 60ton DEL, they were responsible for hauling the air conditioned Inlander, Midlander and Westlander trains for parts of their respective journeys.
First engines had large steam domes, open cabs and C16 style tenders. Those built from 1938 onwards, commencing with N°858, had small steam domes, sedan cabs with welded tenders, larger diameter (9½”) piston valves and Laird crossheads in place of the previuosly used Alligator type. The two types of boilers were occasionally interchanged at overhauls and by later years most of the old style ones had been replaced. The last 40 engines, N°961 to N°1000, were fitted with roller bearings and painted brown. They acquired the nick name of “Brown Bombers”. Those overhauled in the last years of steam operations were repainted black. A number of modifications were carried out over their life including the fitting of large mushroom air snifting valves. Several had additional sandboxes and/or rear headlights fitted at various times for working lines where no turning facilities were available.
An “improved C17”, with a 2-8-2 wheel arrangement, was designed after World War 2 incorporating features of both the existing C17 and AC16 engines. Approval was granted for eighteen of these new CC17 engines to be built at Ipswich. Construction began in 1950 but at a retarded rate because of post war material shortages and the heavy repair programme. With increasing interest now centred on diesel traction the venture gradually lost its priority. Some components were built but no major assembly work was completed and by 1953 the project was abandoned.
After the commencement of Moura coal traffic and before the rearrangement of Gladstone yard, C17 engines were used to haul coal trains from the yard to the unloading facilities at the wharf. This involved moving loads in excess of 1000 tons. Engines used for this work were the only QR steam locomotives to be fitted with two way radios.
Nineteen were still in service in November 1969; ten at Ipswich, eight at Mackay and one at Maryborough.
* Capacity increased by fitting of coal boards
** Engines built since March 1945 (N°917 onwards)
AWC – Sir W G Armstrong Whitworth & Co, Newcastle-on-Tyne, UK
Clyde – Clyde Engineering Co, Granville, NSW
EAP – Evans, Anderson, Phelan & Co, Brisbane
Ipswich – Ipswich Railway Workshops
Walkers – Walkers Limited, Engineers, Maryborough, Qld
MVHR – Mary Valley Heritage Railway Gympie
SDSR – Southern Downs Steam Railway Warwick
ZZR – Zig Zag Railway Lithgow NSW