WAR RELIC REVIVED AT WORKSHOPS
SPECIAL FEATURE INSIDE TODAY
A HISTORIC locomotive that was used to transport essential supplies during the period of trench warfare on the western front has been been fully restored and is now on display at The Workshops Rail Museum.
At a media only event, The Workshops’ new curators were chuffed to show off their latest display, the Hunslet No. 327, which will be a permanent display at the popular tourist attraction.
Built in 1916 by the Hunslet Locomotive Works of Leeds, England, the engine was one of 665 steam locomotives ordered by the British War Office during the World War I and dispatched to France to move supplies to the front lines.
“This locomotives job was to transport food, ammunition and all equipment needed to service the front during the war,” explained collection manager Rob Sheils at the unveiling.
“It was used between standard gauge trains and the front.
“They run on a narrow track, they run on a 60cm gauge, and the idea of that is it’s lightweight, it’s moveable and as the war changed and the front changed, you could quickly move your rail line to where you needed it.”
Following the end of the war the locomotive was rebuilt by Hunslet Engine Co and in June 1920 it was one of 15 War Office Hunslet locomotives purchased by the Queensland Government and shipped to Mackay to begin work as a cane train at the North Eaton Sugar Mill.
The locomotive was retired in 1964 and moved to Etons Langford Park where it was put on static display for the community.
Due to deterioration, it was removed in 2005 and generously donated by the Mackay Sugar Co-Operative Association to The Workshops Rail Museum in Ipswich.
For more than five years, a group of dedicated train enthusiasts worked tirelessly to restore the Hunslet No. 327 back to its original First World War configuration.
To start, the engine was carefully disassembled, rusted out panels were replaced and other damage repaired.
As much of the original fabric as possible was preserved.
Each step of the process was carefully recorded and photographs were taken.
While the Hunslet is the new jewel in The Workshops Rail Museum crown, curators are keen to remind the Ipswich community they are always working to install new exhibits and attractions which will appeal to people of all ages.
ALL ABOARD: The Workshops Rail Museum has great line up of interactive displays, hands on activities, exhibits and beautifully restored trains and locomotives.