“AC16 No. 221A ‘The Yank'”

The locomotive

This is locomotive AC16 No. 221A (builder’s number 69456). A a 2-8-2 freight locomotive which is now part of the The Railway Workshops Museum collection. The 2-8-2 is the wheel arrangement.

On this trip, 221A was used as part of the 150 year celebration of rail in Queensland. This engine was taking passengers from Brisbane to Cairns (check this). The photo was taken just north of Oakey, Queensland.

Some history

The AC16 class locomotives were built in 1943 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works, Philadelphia, USA to a standard US wartime design and made available under ‘lend-lease’ finance. 20 of this class were  unloaded in Sydney in 1943 and railed to Brisbane for assembly.

Per Queensland Railway’s classification system they were designated the AC16 class, C representing they had four driving axles, and the 16 the cylinder diameter in inches. Because the classification was already being used by an existing class they were designated American C16, i.e. AC16.

The ‘A’ in the number (221A) also stands for ‘American’.  ‘AC16 class’ thus differentiated these locomotives from the earlier Queensland Government Railways C16 class and since the engines retained their original US Army numbers, ‘221A’ differentiated the engine from another Queensland Railways locomotive already carrying the number 221.

No.221A was originally preserved as the class representative among the static locomotive exhibits at the Redbank Railway Museum, where it was displayed on a plinth from 1970 to 1992.  It was transferred to the Ipswich Railway Workshops at the closure of the Redbank Railway Museum and has since been fully overhauled and restored to operation, including the manufacture of a new welded boiler at Ipswich workshops.  221A now hauls occasional tour trains over the QR network.

The original US Army tenders supplied with the AC16 locomotives were considered rough-riding and somewhat top-heavy and were progressively replaced with spare tenders by the QGR.  No.221A  was preserved at Redbank with an original rivetted US Army tender, however for tour train duties a new welded tender has been constructed. This tender resembles the US Army tender but is based on a modified C-17 tender design.  The original US Army tender is stored at the Workshops, Ipswich.

My thoughts

I love a good steam train photo. This subject looks great as a black and white. I’m glad I only captured a hint of the carriages. Any more and the sense of presence I get would have been diminished.

I hope you like it.

Framing suggestion

I normally like an off-white or black mat with my black and white photographs.

In these examples, I’ve used a plain black frame with an off-white mat for something a little more conservative. This style suits many home and office decors.

The other example, I’ve included a larger, plain black mat with a white accent to break up the black a little. The timber frame gives a more elegant style to the photograph.