Roma was a small township before the railway arrived.

The extension from Blythdale on the Western Line to Bungil creek opened on 21 June 1880.

Temporary timber girders were used at Bungil, allowing the railway to Roma to open on 16 September 1880. Floods in 1880 required an additional 1260 metres of bridging to be built at Bungil and Blyth Creeks.

Roma remained the terminus until 8 October 1883. It was provided with an engine shed in 1880, and a coal stage and repair workshop in 1881. At the time of the completion of the line, Toowoomba was the nearest workshops, and a decision was made to construct the Roma repair workshop as locomotives would work west from Toowoomba as far as Chinchilla, and Roma engines east to Toowoomba.

Roma operated as its own autonomous railway district, similar to Maryborough. A district engineer was appointed around 1897, eventually coming under the control of a District Superintendent. Responsibility for the Roma district centred on the lines west to Charleville, Cunnamulla and Quilpie. Steam operations to the west of Roma came to an end in 1964.

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The busy atmosphere of Roma is captured very nicely in this photograph taken around the early 1900's. A very American looking A12 steam locomotive is off to the left hand side with a passenger train. To the right what looks like a B13 class steam locomotive with a goods train. 

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Steam locomotive B12 No. 30 is a very nicely staged photograph on the Bungil Creek bridge near Roma. Date is thought to be around the early 1880s.   

1881 was a particularly busy year with three railway lines opening in Queensland.

• 3 May 1881: Southern Railway to Stanthorpe
• 19 July 1881: First section of the Bundaberg Mount Perry railway to Moolboolaman
• 6 August 1881: Maryborough to Gympie.

All of these lines had been approved by Parliament in the late 1870s, and all had a 'mining centre' as its ultimate destination: Stanthorpe with its tin workings, Mount Perry to the west of Bundaberg, as a copper mining centre, and Gympie with its rich goldfields.

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Stanthorpe railway station in the early part of the 20th century, probably not long before the outbreak of the Great War.

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The original Gympie railway station photographed around 1882, the end of the line for the railway from Maryborough. A small original A Class (later A10 class) steam locomotive sits inside the engine shed.

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Station staff at Gympie, possibly photographed around the 1890s.

1882 was an exceptionally busy year with four significant new sections of railway being officially opened:

• May 11 1882: railway line to Sandgate.
• July 10 1882: Ipswich Harrisville (first agricultural branch line).
• September 3 1882: Eagle Junction to Racecourse (now Ascot).
• December 4 1882: Townsville to Charters Towers.

These lines were built for different reasons, and had their own unique historical background:

• The railway line to Sandgate opened from Brisbane's first terminal station at Roma Street.
• The Racecourse branch left the Sandgate railway at what became Eagle (Farm) Junction, and its destination was exactly what it said, the Brisbane Racecourse, (later Ascot).
• Ipswich-Harrisville became known as the Fassifern Valley line, which was eventually being extended through to Boonah and Dugandan. This was the first branch line built to encourage farming, and closer settlement.
• The railway line to Charters Towers become part of the Great Northern Railway which was built to provide easier access to the golden town inland from Townsville.

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Charters Towers railway station photographed probably in the late 1890s, or early 1900s.

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Steam locomotive C17 No.752 arrives at Harrisville railway station, in 1962, with a short goods train. The line closed beyond Churchill near Ipswich, in 1964. 

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Steam locomotive A12 No. 246 photographed at what was then known as Sandgate, but later known as Shorncliffe. The extension from Sandgate Central to what is today Shorncliffe opened in 1897. Photograph taken probably in the period 1905-1910.

The railway from Croydon Junction (now Baddow) to Howard officially opened on 30 March 1883.

The Premier performed the opening but the temporary bridge over the Burrum River was not completed until 11 April and trains did not run to Howard until June. From Howard to Bundaberg, most of the anticipated traffic was expected to be coal shipments from the Burrum river coalfields situated near Howard.

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The Burrum River railway bridge under construction in 1882-3.

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The Burrum River railway bridge nearing completion.

1884 was an exceptionally busy year with four new sections of railway lines being officially opened:

• March 26 1884: Emerald to Clermont
• May 20 1884: Bundaberg to Mount Perry
• June 2 1884: South Brisbane to Stanley Street (Dry Dock)
• December 1 1884: Mingela to Ravenswood

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Photographer S Garth Fraser captured a familiar South Brisbane scene around the 'Gabba fiveways, in the early 1950s, with a PB15 class steam locomotive making its way past the Brisbane Cricket Ground.

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In 1889, the railway line opened through to Southport. A pre official opening special train was organised by the Contractor's to travel between Stanley Street, (South Brisbane), to the seaside resort of Southport.

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Ravenswood goldfield was discovered before Charters Towers but soon eclipsed by it. The Northern Railway was built to Charters Towers (first) but the branch line was built to Ravenswood immediately after, opening on 1 December 1884. After mining ended, Ravenswood shrank to a small community and there was little traffic. The branch line closed on 7 November 1930.The Railway Hotel still survives today.

1885 introduced the vacuum braking on rollingstock (major safety innovation), and the opening of new branch lines.

• July 23 1885: First buildings of new Ipswich Workshops occupied.
• April 9 1885: Opening of First Section of South Coast Line to Loganlea.
• August 10 1885: Opening of Isolated Mackay Railway to Eton and Mirani.
• August 22 1885: Completion of branch railway to Killarney.
• September 1885: Continuous vacuum brake adopted for passenger trains.
• November 30 1885: Opening first section of Cooktown Railway to Palmer Road.

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A B13 class steam locomotive is photographed at the Cooktown railway station, probably around the 1890s, several years after the opening to Palmer Road.

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Cooktown harbour with the Cooktown to Laura railway line running along the foreshore, photographed around 1898-1902.

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The first section of the railway line to Killarney, opened to Emu Vale, in 1885. Emu Vale is photographed around 1887-8.

There were some significant railway line openings which opened in 1886:

• August 9 1886: Opening of the Second Section from Brisbane Valley to Esk.
• November 8 1886: Opening of Central Railway to Barcaldine.
• December 6 1886: Railway line to Crow's Nest.
• December 6 1886: Theebine to Kilkivan.

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Not long after completion of the Central Railway through to Barcaldine, Oak Street was photographed by an enterprising photographer. The well laden horse drawn wagon would have probably been taking supplies further west.

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Esk railway station probably photographed in the 1960s. The Railway Refreshment Rooms stand closest to the photographer.

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Photographer Eric Marggraf  captured Railmotor No. 92, (RM 92) passing a goods train hauled by steam locomotive C17 No.308 at Kilkivan station, in 1968. RM 92 sister railmotor, RM 93, today forms part of the Gulflander service on the Normanton - Croydon railway. 

1887 saw the expansion and opening of additional railway lines:

• February 14 1887: Southern Railway to Border (Wallangarra)
• August 15 1887: Emerald to Springsure
• September 12 1887: Ipswich to Dugandan (Boonah)
• September 19 1887: Beauaraba to Pittsworth
• October 8 1887: First section of the Cairns Railway Cairns Redlynch
• October 19 1887: Northern Railway to Hughenden
• October 31 1888: First section of Isis branch to Childers

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Childers railway station with what looks like most of the local community turned out on the station platform. From a postcard in the early part of the 20th century.  

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The station staff turned out at Wallan-Garra for a group portrait in the early part of the 20th century, around 1910-17. The hypen between 'Wallan (and) Garra' was added after 1909, by the decision of the Commissioner for Railways. (Similarly adopted for places such as Alma-Den).

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Steam locomotive C17 No.776, and its train photographed at Hughenden railway station in the 1930s.

On 16 January 1888, the first passenger trains commenced between Brisbane and Sydney. Other major developments included:

• February 20 1888: Maryborough to Bundaberg railway was completed
• March 1 1888: First section of the North Coast Line to Petrie
• March 1 1888: Western Railway to Charleville opened
• May 16 1888: Logan Branch Railway to Beaudesert opened
• October 8 1888: Cooktown Railway to Laura opened
• December 22 1888: North Rockhampton to Emu Park opened

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In the early years of the 20th century a double headed Sydney Mail train crosses Quart Pot Creek bridge, just outside of Stanthorpe. The lead steam locomotive is an A12, and would have been based at Allora, being used for banking duties on the 'Mail' train. Train locomotive is a PB15 and carriage behind, a Travelling Post Office carriage.  

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Even the dog is enjoying itself! Train at Emu Park, around 1912. Steam Locomotive is a B12.

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Laura was the terminus of the Cooktown railway until its closure in 1961. Although a bridge over the Laura River beyond Laura was completed on 13 October 1891 by a combination of contract and day labour and rails laid over it, the line never opened beyond Laura. The last steam locomotive ran in 1927 and from then until the closure at the end of 1961, the line was operated solely by rail motor. Rail motor operations had begun in 1917 when the first rail motor built in Queensland by converting a Napier motor car at Ipswich Workshops. It was named Captain Cook.

The following railway lines opened in 1889:

• 25 January 1889: South Coast Line to Southport
• 7 May 1889: First section of Normanton Railway to Haydon
• 18 August 1889: Brisbane Central (from Roma Street direction)
• 1 October 1889: Cleveland branch

The first section of the Normanton to Croydon railway also opened on 7 May 1889. In 1885, a survey was undertaken for a railway between Cloncurry and Normanton, after Cloncurry Copper Mining and Smelting Company decided to develop the Cloncurry mining field. The nearest port was Normanton. Approval was given in November 1886 for a 160 kilometre line from Cloncurry to Normanton.

Howeve,r the discovery of gold at Croydon in November 1885 saw a change in direction of the railway with Normanton quickly becoming the port for the new bonanza. Parliament agreed to alter the already approved plans to go to the goldfields. The gold field was rich. Travel was difficult in the hot dry conditions. The first 21 kilometres of the Normanton-Cloncurry railway was then deviated in the direction of Croydon. The rest of the railway was approved by Parliament on 28 May 1889.

The first rail on the Normanton-Croydon railway was laid in 1888. To defeat the termites of the Gulf, specially patented steel sleepers designed by QR Inspecting Surveyor, George Phillips, were used.

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In the early years of the 20th century a B12 class steam locomotive was photographed at the head of a 'mixed train', (carrying both passengers and goods), at Southport station.

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Cleveland railway station taken from a postcard in the period of 1905-1915.

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The original Central railway station photographed not long after the opening of the line in from Roma Street, around 1889-90. The connection from Brunswick Street, (via the Brunswick Street tunnel), would open in 1890.