All aboard for a famous ride
IT WAS a historic day for Dalby. Not only was it one hundred years since the first train arrived in the town, never before has a greater number of passengers arrived by train. It was pulled by a vintage class C17 superheated steam engine pulling 18 carriages. They were carrying 102 passengers and many of these were members of the Railway Historical Society in Brisbane.
Dalby stationmaster Kev Rowlands had the station brightly decorated with bunting, flags and greenery. More passengers were picked up at various places along the line to enjoy a nostalgic journey across the Darling Downs.
They eventually reached Dalby and as they spilled out on to the crowded railway station they were welcomed by the Mayor of Dalby, Alderman Stan Williams. The bunting and flag bedecked engine was controlled by veteran driver Jo Scott with fireman John Fletcher and guard Gordon Ryan.
Alderman Williams said the occasion was one of pride and gratitude-pride in the foresight of our forefathers whose wisdom in establishing the railway had proved of great benefit, not only to the district but also to Queensland in general.
Present day administrators of the Railway Department were to be commended for their willingness to recognise the need for keeping pace with the needs of the area, gratitude had been earned from the fine service provided over the years to an area proved one of the richest primary producing districts in Australia. He went on to add, the day not only marked a page in history, but also saw the beginning of a new and exciting era.
Alderman Stan Williams unveiled a centenary plaque on the station.
It was Saturday April 20, 1968, the last day of the Dalby Show and the steam train continued on to the showgrounds with its eighteen carriages carrying from 1500 to 2000 thousand passengers. The numbers increased by the inclusion of school children who were given free admission to the show after the train terminated there. The Historical Society members were again welcomed by the mayor and he was supported by the Show Society president, Mr Arthur Johns. The Society members were then invited to a luncheon hosted by the Town Council and the Show Society.
The historic occasion would not be repeated.