A Little Bit of History
John Peel, Special Project Officer with the Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce Inc and local train buff was aware of steam loco 106, which was built by the Toowoomba Foundry and housed at the Ipswich railway workshop, was awaiting restoration. In July 2000 the Chamber held a meeting with Queensland Rail CEO Mr Vince O'Rourke about the development of Federation Park at the Toowoomba Railway Station, to enhance Toowoomba's Heritage Precinct after a multi-million dollar restoration of the Railway station. During these talks Mr O'Rourke also agreed to a request to return loco 106 to Toowoomba for restoration. Further investigations located four carriages, property of the Australian Railways Historical Society, in a decrepit state that could be restored. Subsequently discussions with Mayor Di Thorley and Councillors Ramia and Shelton led to a commitment from the Toowoomba City Council to assist. The Australian Historical Rail Society also committed their support to this project. After a public meeting to gather support from the known dedicated band of steam train lovers, a committee was formed to undertake this huge project. This committee has now been formalised as a Company Limited by Guarantee.
- Acquisition of C16 class steam locomotive 106 – the last steam locomotive to be built at the Toowoomba Foundry.
- Acquisition of rail motor from Tasmania currently being refurbished and to be known as the Gatsby Flyer.
- Recruitment and training of enthusiastic volunteer workforce.
- Acquisition of a lease of land from Queensland Rail in Cambooya Street Drayton with access to and immediately adjacent to the main line from Toowoomba to Wallangarra.
- Contract to lease additional land from QR adjacent to the existing site.
- Installation of vital infrastructure: power, sewerage, water.
- Installation of the former QR railway station from Yuleba.
- Construction of a fully covered platform.
- Establishment of the “Memory coach” with archival documents, exhibits, photographs and books.
- Acquisition and installation of a 60 foot railway turntable.
- Acquisition and establishment of ‘The Drayton Diner’ in a converted Melbourne tram.
- On site display of fully operational Robey three horse power portable steam engine.
- Establishment of award winning gardens.
- Purchase of seven Stainless Steel SX suburban coaches. Most of which are now host themed photo exhibits on the ceilings..
- Conversion of a standard railway carriage to a dining car to showcase The Downs Finest & adaption of one coach to a commercial kitchen car.
- Commissioning of the Dreamtime Journey Coach.
- Erection of two large sheds: ‘The Shed’ functions as the workshop and is equipped with an inspection pit and industrial lighting.
- Establishment of a retail shop.
- Installation of large underground water storage tanks.