Queensland Pioneer Steam Railway (QPSR) Co-operative Ltd was registered as a non-profit community advancement society in 1978 by a small group of railway enthusiasts from Ipswich and Brisbane.
QPSR was formed to manage the restoration and operation of a vintage steam train in the Ipswich area.
The group had rallied together earlier in 1977 and purchased ex-Queensland Railways Steam locomotive PB15 No 448 from the defunct Pioneer Valley Heritage Park at Kuraby.
At the time Queensland's rail heritage was fast disappearing, either interstate to other successful tourist railways such as Lithgow Zig Zag in NSW or to scrap metal merchants.
After steam locomotives ceased operating regular services in Queensland in 1969, about 15 locomotives were retained in operating condition for hauling heritage trains, including a "Blue Baby" tank locomotive and a Beyer-Garratt.
PB15 No 448 was one of the lucky surivors being sold to Pioneer Valley Park at Kuraby.
The demise of QR's fleet of heritage locomotives was halted by the intervention of Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen when only four locomotives remained at the Ipswich workshops.
The 'purge' on Queensland's rail heritage during the 1970's and the lack of interest of existing rail heritage societies to do anything about the situation, resulted in the small group of concerned ethusiasts banding together 'with the common determination' that PB15 No 448 would stay in Queensland following the failure of the Kuraby Heritage Park.
At the time, engine No 448 was the oldest operating steam locomotive in Queensland, being built at Walkers Ltd, Maryborough, in 1908.
The group was lucky in obtaining the permission of Redbank Malt Factory to store the locomotive on their privately owned rail siding.
After investigating many proposals for a permanent home, the Queensland Electricity Generating Board generously agreed to allow QPSR access to their branch railway from Box Flat to Swanbank.
The Board was extremely helpful to the QPSR and was quick to realise the benefits to the Ipswich area of such an historic attraction.
QPSR ran it's first steam train rides at Swanbank during the 1978 Ipswich Colour City Carnival, using carriages hired from QR, with most trains running packed to capacity.
Steam trains ran again for the 1979 Colour City Carnival and in 1980 a full season of operation weekends was planned.
A low level platform was constructed at Swanbank and a locomotive water supply tank and stand pipe were installed.
In October 1980, Westfalen Collieries allowed QPSR to use part of it's property at Box Flat to establish a depot.
Track laying started into the depot site, a compound was erected and in 1981 a shed was started.
QPSR then set about obtaining it's own coaches from QR, a process it described as a 'drawn out battle'.
After contacting every politician remotely connected with Ipswich, success was finally achieved.
Swanbank vintage steam trains were now well established and have remained popular.
Since 1981 a station building has been built at Swanbank, shed extensions erected at Box Flat and a second steam locomotive and additional rolling stock obtained.
An older style diesel locomotive was purchased for use in emergencies, but breakdowns have been almost non existent.
QPSR operates entirely by voluntary labour and by the much appreciated assistance provided by many companies and other ogranisations over the past 27 years.
Donations or provision at discounted rate of goods and services have kept QPSR viable.
QPSR's greatest asset has been the public who have supported the steam train rides, many from Ipswich and many who have travelled to Ipswich to ride the steam trains.