Ipswich Libraries

Ipswich to Bigge’s Camp Railroad

Men lowering the tracks at a cutting between Ipswich and Grandchester – Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

The first section from Ipswich to Bigge’s Camp of the Southern and Western Railway although not opened until the 31 July, was given a test run on Saturday 1 July, 1865 by some Ipswich locals.  The following report appeared in Local and General News in the Queensland Times dated 4 July 1865.

“We left Ipswich on Saturday at twenty-seven minutes to twelve o’clock, and at twenty-two minutes to one were opposite Cook’s Hotel at Bigge’s Camp.It is perhaps unnecessary to say that we did not travel by bullock-dray, or on Shank’s pony, or even in an American buggy with a fast trotting horse.  We went in fact by train, and, although the stoppages on the line, including that at Walloon station, occupied seven or eight minutes, the journey was accomplished in the time stated.  On our return we did still better, for though the stoppages altogether were as long, we reached North Ipswich in one hour and two minutes from the time of starting, going occasionally at the rate of more than thirty miles an hour, or from one half mile post to another in less than a minute.  With the exception of the fencing and the two stations at Walloon and Bigge’s Camp, there seems to be nothing wanting to enable the line to be opened.  It is true that the ballasting is not quite completed, nor the dressings of the sides of some of the embankments, but these things are by no means indispensable at first.  The train ran very smoothly, and when sometimes, through the fencing being incomplete, a cow or a horse were overtaken, the engine, even when going at top speed, was stopped in an exceedingly short space of time.  The country through which the line runs is tame and uninteresting after passing the first four bridges until the Rosewood is reached, here it opens out, and becomes picturesque and park-like.”

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