'The Valley Rattler' remains on track with lease of historical train
A lease agreement has been signed between Queensland Rail (QR), and Gympie's The Valley Rattler for the short-term loan of a fully restored World War II steam-train.
The $4.2million AC16 221A, known as 'The Yank', will steam her way north from Brisbane to arrive at Old Gympie Station on Tozer Street tomorrow (Thursday, October 27) at 1051am.
QR Historical Advisor, Greg Hallam said the Yank had played a pivotal role in the story of QR.
"The Yank was one of 20 steam locomotives imported from the United States as part of a land-lease program during World War II," Greg Hallam said.
"The locomotives were designed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and known by Queensland railway workers as 'Yanks' in reference to their country of origin," Mr Hallam said.
"The 221A entered QR traffic on 9 July 1943 and spent most of her working life at the North Ipswich locomotive depot," he said.
"In May 1968, she was officially retired from service and placed in the Redbank Museum in 1969."
"As part of a special project, the 221A was restored by the QR Heritage Rolling stock Maintenance team at Ipswich Workshops between 1999 and 2003 and returned to operation on 21 May 2003".
The Valley Rattler Acting General Manager, Ted Mitchell said the Yank's arrival has been much anticipated by staff and volunteers.
"I worked for QR for 30 years and during the 1960s fired the 221A along the Brisbane Valley line, so her arrival here to The Valley Rattler is particularly nostalgic for me," Ted Mitchell said.
The Valley Rattler Volunteer Driver, Neville Caldwell also remembers operating the Yanks during the late 40s and early 50s while working for QR in a career that spanned 48 years.
"They were a good engine to fire, easy on water and handled the loads well," Neville Caldwell said.
"They were pretty comfortable and had a fair bit of room…I'm pretty lucky to get a go at her again," Mr Caldwell said.
The 221A will remain at The Valley Rattler for approximately 10 weeks while the organizations own 1920s fully restored steam train, the C17 'Roma,' undergoes annual maintenance work.
The Yank is set to depart from Ipswich at 0530am on Thursday, October 27 and will travel through Redbank, Corinda, Roma Street, Mayne, Eagle Junction, Northgate, Petrie, Caboolture, Elimbah, Beerburrum, Glass House, Beerwah, Landsborough, Mooloolaba, Nambour, Yandina, Eumundi, Sunrise, Cooroy, Pomona, Cooran, Traveston, Woondum, Glanmire, and Gympie North before arriving at Old Gympie Station at 1051am.
Anyone interested in welcoming the Yank should meet at Old Gympie Station on Tozer Street at 1030am on Thursday, October 27.
Bookings to ride carriages hauled by the Yank are essential and should be made by phoning (07) 5482 2750 or online at www.thevalleyrattler.com
Interesting Facts about The Yank
• The Yank weighs 91.75 tonnes; is 19.18 metres in length; carries 8.13 tonnes of coal and 18,866 litres of water.
• Each Yank was bought at a cost of 30,000 pounds in 1943 (approximately $60,000 each), and the total cost of all 20 AC16s ordered from the US was 345,000 pounds (approximately $690,000).
• In the 1940s a train driver's annual wage was approximately 520 pounds…so it would have taken a train driver more than 57-years to save to pay for an AC16.
• The Yank (AC16 221A) is the only AC16 still operating in Australia. There is one other in the ZigZag Museum in New South Wales.
• The Yank is also one of very few Baldwin Locomotives still operating in Australia.
Old Gympie Station, Not Assigned
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