The first ever Comeng diesel locomotive built for the Queensland cane industry is among a group of retired locomotives that have been donated to a rail museum on the Atherton Tablelands.
The three locomotives have been sitting in storage at the Mulgrave Mill since being decommissioned several years ago.
They are the 16-tonne Loco No 2, a locomotive built by Commonwealth Engineering Queensland – an Australian engineering company that designed and built railway locomotives until its demise in 1990 – and delivered to the mill in 1955.
Two six tonne locomotives – Loco No 10 that was built by EMB Baldwin in NSW and delivered to Mulgrave Mill in 1964 and a Simplex Loco, built by Motor Rail in England in 1954 and used initially at Hambledon Mill before being transferred to Mulgrave in 1991 – have also found themselves a new home.
The locos have been rehomed to the Herberton Rail Museum, operated by the Atherton-Herberton Historic Railway (AHHR), on the Atherton Tablelands where they will form part of a permanent rail display.
AHHR president Bob Slater said the volunteer organisation appreciated the donation.
“We would rather re-home the retired locos here than see them end up the scrap heap,” Bob said. “Over time and as funds permit, we hope to restore the three locos and have them part of a static display to highlight the role that the sugar industry has played on the Tablelands.”
MSF Sugar Mulgrave Mill Reliability Engineer Morty Owens said the Comeng locomotive was of particular historical significance, given it was the first ever loco built by the company for use in the cane industry.
“It’s nice to know that these machines which have played such an important part in the development of the cane industry in the Mulgrave region will be restored and put on display, rather than moved to the scrap heap,” Morty said.