Built: 1887
Original location: Killarney Branch
Capacity: 28,390 litres
Dimensions: 5 m x 5 m
Height: 9 m

Built in 1887, the water tank is believed to be the original from Warwick’s first railway station (now known as Millhill). It was transferred to the new Warwick station in 1888.

In 1912 the tank was dismantled and replaced with two 24.4m tall round tanks that were built at the new locomotive depot at Warwick.

The original tank was then sent to Tannymorel on the Killarney Branch where it remained for the next 83 years. In 1964 the line to Tannymorel closed.

When the Warwick Railway Precinct was opened in 1995, the tank was ‘brought home’ to Warwick.

Drone inspection of tank November 2019. It has several bad cracks, but considering it’s age is in good condition.

Built: 1912
Closed: 1970’s
Capacity: Currently 4 restored (Originally 7 bays)

The Loco Shed November 2019

The original seven bay part-roundhouse was built in 1912 and included seven inspection/ash pits, all with drainage.

One of the roads had a wheel exchange pit and to the western side was a machine shop (allowing wheel repairs, and general machining of loco parts). At the back of this shed was an engine room, and next to the machine shop was the railmotor shed with an ash pit as well. The loco office and store was also a part of all this.

Locomotive roundhouse in the 1960’s.

All of this infrastructure was completely demolished and removed in the 1970s and the inspection pits filled in.

Apart from the turntable, nothing remained of the original roundhouse when SDSR arrived in 1995.

The rebuilding of the roundhouse, on it’s original footing began in 1996.

Currently, only four of the original seven bays have been restored. This has necessitated the excavation of the ash and inspection pits which are approx 4ft (1m) deep, and then the excavation of the wheel exchange pit, which is another 8 feet deep (12ft in total). It was here SDSR found the original air-over-water hoist used for exchanging the wheels, and it has been found to be in working order.

From here SDSR has recreated the locomotive shed over the four pits as we see it today.








Loco shed under construction late 1990s.      Loco shed finished, alongside the restored turntable and new hexagon office building. [c. 2002]

Built: 1912
Capacity: Approx 110 t.
Width: 17.8m
Gauge: 1065mm gauge (3ft 6in)

Built in 1912, the turntable is 17.8m long and can be operated by hand or with air.

To operate by hand, there is a handle at one end of the turntable which in cranked.
To operate by air, there is a hose that is connected to the brake pipe of a locomotive.
This mechanism was installed in 1957. How the turntable was operated before this time is uncertain.

As of 2019 the turntable has been up-graded and is now powered by a small diesel/hydraulic system, which is described further on in this article.

1970s photo of the demolished Warwick Locomotive Depot.

The sandstone featured in the turntable retaining walls came from Yangan Quarry which was ownered by the Brewer family. It is the only known turntable with sandstone construction.

Apart from the inspection pits and ash-pit, the turntable is also all that remains of the original Warwick locomotive depot which was demolished in the 1970s.

When SDSR moved to the Warwick Railway Precinct in 1995, the turntable was in a very bad state of repair and lot of work needed to be done to it to bring it back to it’s former glory.

In December 2018, during the Christmas shut-down period, extensive works were undertaken to strengthen both approaches to the turntable. With the recent establishment of a working partnership with freight company Watco, it was decided to upgrade the facility for safety reasons. At the same time a roadway crossing was laid in concrete.

SDSR would like to thank Watco for their financial assistance with the up-grade.

We even had a pair of flashing railway crossing lights that were restored by volunteers and these were also installed.

Thank you to all the volunteers who gave up some of the 2018 Christmas break to complete this task.


Turntable modifications 2019

The use of the locomotive that was on the turntable as the source of power, was a very neat solution in its day. The alternative being the crew cranking it by hand.

However, the use of the air supply from the engine could sometimes have its limitations.

We had restored the pneumatic motor inside the control box, but owing to its age and the imminent arrival of 95 ton Watco diesel locos, it was decided to upgrade the unit.

A very clever bit of adaptation by Dave Laker, Brad, Trevor and others saw the installation of a small diesel engine, hidden under the decking, which powers a hydraulic motor inside the original control box.  The controls for this new equipment were also integrated into the box in a way that keeps all the heritage value of this vital piece of machinery.

Opened: 1917
Closed: 1996
Original Location: Southern Line (Amiens Branch junction)

Cottonvale Station – March 2006


Cottonvale railway station was built in 1917 and was located 28 miles (45km) south of Warwick on the railway between Warwick and Stanthorpe.

The station was named after Edward Cotton, a local orchardist who had also been employed at one time as a railway fettler and a lengthsman. It is notable that his name is recorded on both the Warwick and Stanthorpe War Memorials but his final resting place is unkown.


Cottonvale Station – June 1925

Cottonvale became a junction to the Amiens Branch line in 1920. The branch was officially opened by HRH the Prince (Duke) of Wales on 26 July 1920. The photo above shows a building to the far right which was especially erected for the Duke in case he required a toilet stop. However it was never used and thereafter it was nicknamed the ‘Duke’s Dyke’.

The Amiens Branch line closed in 1974 and in 1996 Cottonvale station itself closed. The station building and goods shed was transported to the Warwick Railway Precinct in February 1999 and is now used as a library and museum.

A striking collection of railway memorabilia is housed in the former Cottonvale Station building to be found at the SDSR Precinct.

Available to all visitors on our volunteer working days Wednesday & Thursday each week 8:00am to 2:00pm, email enquiries museum@downsexplorer.org.au

The Inception – The SDSR obtained a quantity of artefacts following the end of passenger services and the demolition of the railway yards by Queensland Rail in the 1970’s.

When the present heritage railway was established, several people began donating artefacts from personal collections of railway memorabilia. All donations were gratefully received by SDSR and the items collected were stored for several years. A large part of the collection from Queensland Rail was in the Warwick Goods shed.

The idea of creating a museum came initially from the then President, Mr. Peter Brixey.

A lot of effort was put into sorting and storing the collection. When he retired from SDSR, work stopped on the museum for several years.

Renewed Interest – In 2018 Lindsay Mills, and Michelle Morgan took over the task of sorting all the documentation inherited from QR. Work progressed slowly as it proved a gigantic task.

In February 2019 Kevin Patterson took over the task of sorting and recording the numerous donated items. The Cottonvale Station building was renovated in 2018 by SDIEA trainees. In March stored items not used for display were removed.

The display items were sorted into categories and work started on putting the display items up for viewing. Work continued until November on the internal displays.

An outdoor display was also planned. A short section of track being laid in front of Cottonvale Station and three items of rolling stock were brought from the goods shed and placed on the track

In December the displays were almost complete. Track laying tools still needed to be displayed so these were mounted on the outside of the museum building for viewing.

Future Development – In 2021 the whole museum was lifted by cranes and relocated to the main entrance of our site, along with the original Cottonvale goods shed.

In 2022 the area has been landscaped and an old carriage placed nearby which is currently being renovated and converted into a tea room where our visitors will find refreshments.

Updated 9th June 2022, current curator is Kevin Patterson

email: museum@downsexplorer.org.au

John, Julie, Kevin, Neil & Darryl