Q5 was one of the first order of six Q class locomotives delivered by Perry Engineering of Adelaide in 1923. Further deliveries over the next 23 years resulted in the Q class reaching a total of 19 similar locomotives from three different builders. Until 1950, the class handled the majority of mainline goods trains around the state.
During the 1950s, following the introduction to service of the X class diesels and the H and M class steam engines, the TGR significantly rationalised its locomotive fleet. By 1963 the only members of the Q class remaining in service were Q4 and Q12. With most of the Q class being scrapped in 1965, the fledgling Tasmanian Transport Museum Society purchased it first steam locomotive, Q5, for £350.
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