Bety takes commuters to town the old-fashioned way

THERE'S nothing like a dose of steam to warm up a cold concrete platform on a foggy winter morning.

Commuters were given a pleasant surprise yesterday as Queensland Rail sent their steam train "Bety" - along with seven vintage carriages - into Ipswich station to celebrate 150 years of rail travel in the state.

Members of the public were invited to hop aboard the train for a trip down memory lane.

The old girl was allowed to build up a fair speed as she travelled to Brisbane, only having to stop at Redbank, Darra, Corinda and Indooroopilly on its way to Brisbane Central station.

QR chief operating officer Martin Ryan said Bety was greeted at Brisbane for a special birthday party from 6-10am.

"Bety was built in Maryborough and has been a great workhorse over the years," Mr Ryan said.

Guard Mick Saffioti greets passengers in period costume to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Queensland Rail.
Guard Mick Saffioti greets passengers in period costume to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Queensland Rail. Rob Williams


"When they work they are beautiful - but they can be temperamental and you can't buy parts down at Bunnings.

"That's why the guys at the Ipswich Workshops who look after them are so important.

"Millions of people have contributed to the rail industry or travelled with Queensland Rail throughout the past 150 years, and we are excited to celebrate and share this significant milestone with them."

Among those to hitch a ride on Bety yesterday was Brian Johnston, an Ipswich resident who has been catching the train to work at Zillmere for almost 50 years.

"It takes an hour and 24 minutes," Mr Johnston said of his daily journey.

"Most of the time I go to sleep until I get to Roma St, then I wake up for the rest of the trip.

"When you spend that many hours on a train every day you get used to it. You see different things every day; a lot of different people.

"I get up at 3.30am every day and get home at 5pm, so that's 13-and-a-half hours."

Mr Johnston said the steam train journey was a great way to get people interested in the history of Queensland Rail.

"Steam trains are really good. You can put your head out the window and get all the steam coming back at you."

Bety also made a return trip back to Ipswich from Brisbane yesterday afternoon.

Topics:  queensland rail

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