Beaudesert Shire Tramway

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Beaudesert Shire Tramway
Beaudesert Shire Tramway mixed train at Rathdowney station in 1912
Beaudesert Shire Tramway mixed train at Rathdowney station in 1912.
Type Industrial tramway
Status Closed
Locale Beaudesert Shire
Opening 10 October 1903 (1903-10-10)
Closed 30 September 1944 (1944-09-30)
Owner Beaudesert Shire
Operator(s) Beaudesert Shire
Track length 39.36 mi (63.34 km)
Track gauge 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Route map
Beaudesert line
0 mi 
0 km 
5 mi 
8 km 
10 mi 
16 km 
12 mi 
19 km 
Tabooba Junction
17 mi 
27 km 
Christmas Creek
20 mi 
32 km 
22 mi 
35 km 
Logan River
17 mi 
27 km 
21 mi 
34 km 
Interstate line
Logan River
22 mi 
35 km 

The Beaudesert Shire Tramway was a narrow gauge tramway which operated from Beaudesert to Lamington and Rathdowney in Queensland. It was one of 15 light railways built and operated by Divisional Boards and Shire Councils in Queensland.[1]


The Tabragalba Divisional Board, predecessor of the Beaudesert Shire, proposed the construction of the Tramway in 1899.[2] Approval was granted on 23 October 1901 and the Beaudesert Tramway Committee was formed on 3 March 1902.

The Tramway opened from Beaudesert to Innisplain and Lilybank on 10 October 1903 with Sir Herbert Chermside, Governor of Queensland, officiating at the opening ceremony at Tabooba Junction.[3]

The line was extended to Lamington in October 1910. A branch line from Tabooba to Rathdowney was opened in March 1911.[1] The total cost of construction was £92,770.[4]

The main traffic was timber, dairy produce and livestock[4] which were transshipped to the Queensland Railways Beaudesert line. Early traffic was promising. For example in the 1905-1906 financial year the Tramway carried 6,712 passengers, 75,375 imperial gallons (90,522 US gal; 342,660 L) of cream, 2,854 pigs, 743 long tons (755 t; 832 short tons) of general merchandise, 260 long tons (264 t; 291 short tons) of other agricultural produce and 9,669 long tons (9,824 t; 10,829 short tons) of timber.[5]

Rathdowney and nearby towns were served by the 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge interstate line from 1930. Following the "encroachment" of the standard gauge line and increasing competition from road transport, the Shire approached the Government of Queensland to take over the Tramway but the Minister for Railways declined.[6]

With declining traffic, the Tramway ceased operations on 30 Sep 1944. The rails and rolling stock were sold,[7] and the Beaudesert Tramway Committee was abolished on 31 December 1945.[8]


Image Class Number/Name Wheel arrangement Builder Builders number Built Notes
StateLibQld 1 111364 Train on the Beaudesert tramway halted at Rathdowney Station, 1912.jpg B12 35 2-6-0 Ipswich Railway Workshops 3 1878 Purchased from Queensland Railways in 1902.
Used for construction of the line.
Beaudesert Shire Tramway Foden 1944.jpg Foden 4-2-0 Rail tractor based on a Foden steam lorry
B13 52 4-6-0 Dubs 1907 1884 Purchased from Queensland Railways in 1921.
Beaudesert Shire Tramway 185.jpg B13 185 4-6-0 Dubs 1751 1883 Purchased from Queensland Railways in 1939.

Rolling stock[edit]

The Tramway owned locomotives, passenger carriages capable of carrying 70 people and goods vans, with timber wagons and other rolling stock hired from Queensland Railways.[4]


Much of the Tramway reservation is now on private property, although substantial portions are visible from public roads such as the Mount Lindesay Highway. The Tramway station at Rathdowney still exists. Tramway Road at Christmas Creek is built on the former tramway reservation.


Beaudesert Tramway Station in 1927 
B13 class 185 at Beaudesert in 1944 
Foden rail tractor at Tabooba in 1944 
Upper Logan Terminal Station on the Beaudesert Tramway, 1903 
Workmen on a ballast train, 1903 


  1. ^ a b Keith McDonald and Ray Ellis (1980). Beaudesert Shire Tramway. Light Railway Research Society of Australia. ISBN 0909340110. 
  2. ^ Tabragalba Divisional Board Minutes, 7 Nov 1899; QSA:SRS4983/1/5
  3. ^ "Beaudesert-Lara Tramway: Official Opening". The Brisbane Courier. 12 October 1903. p. 4. 
  4. ^ a b c "The Beaudesert Tramway". The Brisbane Courier. 14 January 1924. p. 15. 
  5. ^ "Beaudesert Tramway: Report for 1906". The Brisbane Courier. 12 September 1906. p. 5. 
  6. ^ "Beaudesert Tramway Hit Hard By Kyogle Line: Deputation to Minister". The Brisbane Courier. 31 July 1931. p. 4. 
  7. ^ "Beaudesert Sells Its Tramway". The Courier-Mail. 1 November 1944. p. 4. 
  8. ^ Queensland State Archives Agency ID10855, Beaudesert Tramway Committee