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Sugar Cane Locomotives

Locomotive news on the ground level track

Locomotive ‘Coolum’ and sister 'Eudlo' are regulars on the ground level track. These do not fit into the usual British locomotive profile for the good reason that the prototypes were built as narrow gauge Locomotives and supplied to the sugar cane industry in Queensland, Australia.

The original locomotives were a British design – built by John Fowler & Co of Leeds. ‘Coolum’ and sister ‘Eudlo’ were built in 1924 and 1925, builder’s numbers 16036 and 16207 respectively. They were shipped out to Australia for use on the 2ft. gauge railway at Moreton Sugar Mill, Nambour, Queensland, Australia.

The locomotives were named after local villages. One locomotive was named ‘Coolum’ - after a town in Queensland, 119km from Brisbane. The name Coolum is derived from Aborigine and refers to the shape of the adjacent Mount Coolum, which has no peak.

The sister loco was named ‘Eudlo’ – after a Queensland rural village on the North Coast Railway, 10km south of Nambour. Eudlo is thought to be named after an Aboriginal expression for ‘eels’.

Originally the locomotives did not have tenders but after a period in use they were provided to carry bagasse (crushed residues of the cane) as fuel for the boiler.
Both locomotives are preserved, ‘Coolum’ in Eudlo, Queensland. Parts from ‘Coolum’ were used to keep ‘Eudlo’ running in the last days of steam at the Mill in Nambour. ‘Coolum’ is currently the recipient of a private restoration programme. ‘Eudlo’ is housed in the Nambour & District Historical Museum in Nambour. It has been cosmetically restored but is not in working order.
The Royden Park model locomotives were designed and built by their owners using photographs of ‘Eudlo’ and ‘Coolum’ in static preservation. No drawings were available but model engineers in Australia provided additional information and photographs to assist with the design. Part way into the project a small drawing of the locomotives was unearthed. However, the drawing contains some inaccuracies with regard to the connecting rods but did help to confirm the main outline dimensions and general arrangements.
The tender was built first and provides driver comfort as a priority. The locomotives were then started and a past construction series in the Australian Model Engineer Magazine describing a locomotive type known as ‘Bunyip’ was located and borrowed. However, the ‘Bunyip’ design is a later development of the Fowler locomotives and the series, whilst interesting, was not that useful.