Camp Mountain rail tragedy

A monthly update from the Enoggera & Districts Historical Society Inc.

The wreckage of the Camp Mountain rail tragedy

On Labour Day 1947 – Monday, 5 May – a seven carriage train with service number E91 left Brisbane’s Roma Street Station at approximately 8.50am carrying over 200 people. 

It was chartered by the social club for staff at the Department of Trade and Customs. They were travelling to a picnic at Closeburn to celebrate the public holiday. At that time, the rail line extended from Ferny Grove out to Dayboro, with stations at Camp Mountain and Samford.

After leaving Ferny Grove station, the train climbed the Samford Range then came down Camp Mountain at around 9.50am. It started to pick up speed dramatically, with carriages starting to rock and some passengers screaming out in concern. It suddenly left the rails on a left hand turn and tipped onto its right side, ploughing into an embankment.

The crash tragically caused the deaths of 16 people, including the driver and fireman, with 38 others injured. It remains the largest loss of life in an incident on the Queensland rail network.

After World War II, and with Samford Road completed over the range, the rail line beyond Ferny Grove was closed in 1955. The line near the accident site was converted to McLean Road South. The accident site was later commemorated with a stone cairn and plaque by the then Pine Rivers shire council in 1988.

For many years afterwards, local legend had it that late on some nights you could hear the haunting sounds of a train travelling over the Samford Range along with muffled cries. In the 1990’s, local Ferny Hills rock band, The Belladonnas, recorded the song ‘Ghost Train’ inspired by this legend.

Does anyone out there remember the Camp Mountain rail tragedy from May 1947? Share your memories with us at the Society by visiting our Facebook page or emailing enoggerahistory@gmail.com 

Even feel free to drop in to our premises at the Enoggera Memorial Hall any Thursday morning from 9.30am to pass on your recollections to our volunteers.

Take care, everyone.

Andrew McMicking

President

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