History steams to present

FROM the youngest Thomas the Tank Engine fan to the more seasoned train enthusiast, thousands have taken part in a festival celebrating 145 years of railway in Queensland.

The Grandchester Community Steamfest 2010 celebrated Ipswich's prime place in the glorious history of Queensland's steam railway, with the first train running on July 31, 1865, between Ipswich and Bigges Camp (now Grandchester).

Grandchester Steamfest Committee secretary Bruce Wallace said about 5000 people had flocked to the event.

Mr Wallace said the once-every-five-years extravaganza represented an opportunity to reflect on the past.

“The area was originally named Bigges Camp, after Frederick Bigges who was a pioneer pastoralist and camped by the lagoon in 1842, on his way to Mt Brisbane Station,” he said.

Mr Wallace said as part of the celebrations a steam train ran from Roma Street Station to Grandchester and return.

“There was a big crowd watching when the train came into the station,” he said.

“The crowds were huge.

“It was like Central Station in peak hour.”

Among those appreciating the heritage steam engine was Silkstone train enthusiast Paul Groves.

Mr Groves said he loved trains so much, he and wife Alayne were married at the Swanbank train station three years ago.

Story courtesy of Queensland Times

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