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Special trains and carriages

Almost everybody – rich or poor, workers or bosses, royalty or servants used train travel in the past. Some unique rail engines and carriages were made to suit the variety of places and people.


Panhard Railmotor

The Panhard on display at The Workshops Rail Museum The Panhard on display at The Workshops Rail Museum (Source: David Mewes)

The Panhard was the only railmotor built from a Panhard road vehicle.

The Panhard railmotor was constructed in 1918 at the Ipswich railway Workshops. The name Panhard was adopted from the engine which made from the Panhard and Levassor Company of France.

It was built to carry ten passengers. Canvas blinds were rolled down in wet weather. In fine weather, passengers enjoyed good views of the country.

In 1924 the Panhard was sent to the isolated Normanton to Croydon railway line. It carried passengers and goods on a small truck.
The Panhard was officially withdrawn from service in 1941. It is now on display at The Workshops Rail Museum. 

VIP Carriages

Special carriages were used to carry royalty, the Premier and other government dignitaries. They were also used by senior railway staff. 

Only a few of these special carriages survive and these wooden carriages are now used only on rare occasions

One such example is the Vice Regal carriage on display at The Workshops Rail Museum.


Vice-Regal Car (Special Car 445)

Vice Regal (Special Car) 445 at Ipswich Railway Workshops Vice Regal (Special Car) 445 at Ipswich Railway Workshops (Source: David Mewes) The observation lounge of Special Car 445 The observation lounge of Special Car 445 (Source: David Mewes)

The Vice-regal car was built at the Ipswich Railway Workshops in 1903. It was used by the Governor and visiting royalty.

The car originally included two state rooms with a bathroom. It also includes an observation room with lounge chairs, a dining room for six and a pantry.

Queensland timbers feature throughout the richly decorated interior along with original artworks. It was a fine example of the craft and skill of the workshops employees.

The car has been modified several times. In 1922 it was modified for the visit of the Prince of Wales and also in 1934 for a visit by the Duke of Gloucester. It was last modified in 1959 for a visit by Princess Alexandra who used it to travel the short distance between Gympie and Nambour during her royal tour.


Queensland Museum's Find out about... is proudly supported by the Thyne Reid Foundation and the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.