Rail travel in Queensland is 150-years-old.

To celebrate the milestone, a new book tells tales of how rail helped develop a state, beginning in the city of Ipswich.

Rachel Liang reports.


The book, titled The Main Line, details a brief history of Queensland’s first railway in 1865.

It was built between Ipswich and Bigge’s Camp, now known as Grandchester, a distance of about 33 kilometres.

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale says trains helped build the city.

Paul Pisasale, Ipswich Mayor: “The backbone of this city was rail and it’s just great to have a book that’s telling people what our history was and it’s a shame we don’t see some of these magnificent creatures on our railway lines.”

And he hopes the information in the book, and the triumphs of those who built the rail inspire future generations.

Paul Pisasale, Ipswich Mayor: “I think what’s been produced here is so important for the next generation. They’re so busy worrying about the future, their importance is the past. Old cities make great new cities. Our history is so important and it’s a great place to let off steam.”

Train enthusiasts dug into the memories and memorabilia to help put the book together.

Eric Margraff, Australian Railway Historical Society: “It’s just out of my collection of I suppose about six or 7,000 photos of Queensland trains.”

Some parts of the old line are still intact, but much of the infrastructure has now disappeared.

Whilst long gone, the first rail bridge in Queensland once stood here, linking Ipswich to Grandchester, and laying the foundation for what is now Queensland Rail.

Today, the main line, following the old route, runs from Roma Street in Brisbane to Toowoomba, 160 kilometres away.

Rachel Liang, QUT News.