Racecourse Mill No.5

Now No.4 ‘Baldwin’ on the Dreamworld theme park railway


Mark Gough kindly contributed this view of No.4 ‘Baldwin’ at Dreamworld's main station.


Baldwin Locomotive Works,

Pennsylvania, USA

Builder’s Number & Year

45215 of 1917

Wheel Arrangement


(Originally 4-6-0T)


Of the 600 preserved steam locomotives in Australia, Baldwin B/N 45215 has led perhaps the most varied and contrasting career. It was built for the trench railways of World War 1’s western front, later becoming war surplus material and sold into the sugar cane fields in tropical Queensland. Finally, it was rebuilt into ‘Wild West’ format for use on the Dreamworld theme park railway; a remarkable transformation and change of fate from a tool of war to amusement park ride.

One feature of the First World War was the network of narrow-gauge trench railways used to supply the front lines, a testament to the industrialization of warfare and the scale of the conflict. The American Army’s trench railway systems in France included 495 examples of Baldwin 4-6-0Ts of class 10-12-D supplied to the US Army Transportation Corps (USATC). According to Wikipedia, 60 of these locomotives (Baldwin B/N 45163 – 45222, including preserved loco B/N 45215) were dispatched to Egypt by the British War Office to be used by the British Army in Sinai and Palestine during 1917.

At the end of the conflict, Baldwin B/N 45215 joined hundreds of steam locomotives and rolling stock stored as war surplus materiel in stowage dumps around the UK, many later being sold to various users around the world. For Baldwin B/N 45215, its second career was provided by the sugar industry in Australia’s tropical north, finding employment in cane haulage for the Racecourse Mill, Mackay where it was No.5 in the mill loco fleet.

I can’t find much information regarding this locomotive’s date of retirement or early preservation history, but it was stored at the Goulburn Steam Museum from June 1972 to early 1974. A significant change of fortunes came when a new theme park ‘Dreamworld’ was being established in the late 1970’s at Coomera on the Gold Coast. It is traditional for theme parks to feature a loop railway with ‘Wild West’ steam locomotives linking the various theme lands, following the model established by Disneyland, Anaheim at its opening in 1955. Accordingly, a similar railway was envisaged for Dreamworld and Baldwin B/N 45215 was purchased and extensively rebuilt in time for Dreamworld’s 1981 opening, being launched as No.4 ‘Baldwin’ on their Cannonball Express tourist train. Rebuilding included conversion from 4-6-0T to 4-6-0 tender configuration, with a large wooden cab, ornamental steam and sand domes, and a balloon chimney stack (originally designed to catch sparks from wood-burning locos) to resemble a 1880’s US design. The locomotive was also converted to oil-firing.

At Dreamworld, No.4 ‘Baldwin’ loco shared duties on the Cannonball Express with ‘Perry’ (ex-Bingera Mill No.5) while displayed along the line could also be found the Rocky Point Fowler. After several decades of successful steam operation, Dreamworld management scaled down the railway operation to weekends and public holiday operation, purchasing a steam-outline diseasal locomotive in 2013 as lead motive power for their railway. (The Perry locomotive was graciously donated to ANGRMS while the Baldwin was retained as second engine.) As at 2018, steam power can still be enjoyed at Dreamworld as the Baldwin locomotive usually operates on the first Saturday of every month (excepting periods of overhaul).

Theme park railways have an interesting place in the history and development of railway preservation. The most famous theme park worldwide is Disneyland in Anaheim, California, which has featured since is 19955 opening a circular railway linking the entry pavilion with various theme villages. This line was apparently inspired by one of Walt Disney’s top cartoon animators, Ward Kimball and his private Grizzly Flats Railroad, their friendship including a shared passion for steam railways. Motive power for the Disneyland Railroad at Anaheim includes some rebuilt Forney 0-4-4T locomotives, together with reproduction 4-4-0 locos.  When a second Disney theme park ‘Walt Disney World’ was under construction at Orlando, Florida a fleet of four Baldwin 4-6-0s were rescued from a defunct Mexican railroad for the Walt Disney World Railroad and again heavily modified to 1880’s ‘Wild West’ configuration aka Anaheim. The ‘Wild West’ railroad linking themes pattern has been broadly followed by later Disney and other theme park operators worldwide, usually with reproduction steam locomotives on narrow-gauge rails.

I would appreciate the contribution of additional photos for this locomotive, from any of the various stages of its career.



Light Railway Research Society of Australia Inc. Web site
(as at 11 June 2018):

'Preserved Australian Sugar Cane Locomotives' list
by John Browning (www.lrrsa.org.au/LRR_SGRc.htm)


Wikipedia page for Baldwin 4-6-0Ts of class 10-12-D,
retrieved 11 June 2018.


Wikipedia page for the Dreamworld Express,
retrieved 11 June 2018.


Wikipedia pages for Ward Kimball and his Grizzly Flats Railroad,
retrieved 11 June 2018.


Wikipedia pages for the Disneyland Railroad (Anaheim, CA)
and Walt Disney World Railroad (Orlando, Florida),
retrieved 11 June 2018.

Page updated: 30 June 2018

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