Train driver on track for station's 25th anniversary

Queensland Rail train driver Ryan McConnell drove a train into Cleveland station on Wednesday, the 25th anniversary of the train line's re-opening.Photo by Chris McCormack
Queensland Rail train driver Ryan McConnell drove a train into Cleveland station on Wednesday, the 25th anniversary of the train line's re-opening.Photo by Chris McCormack
LOOKING BACK: The first train pulls into Cleveland station after the line reopened on October 24, 1987.

LOOKING BACK: The first train pulls into Cleveland station after the line reopened on October 24, 1987.

REDLAND Bay train driver Ryan McConnell was chuffed when he learnt he was going to be at the controls of a QR train when it rolled into Cleveland station on Wednesday, the 25th anniversary of the track's opening.

The 25-year-old train enthusiast, who gained his train driver's licence two weeks ago, said he could not believe his luck when he realised he would be driving the Cleveland train into the station at 3.20pm on the anniversary.

"I was looking through an old photo album and realised I was there at the station, 25 years ago, when the train line re-opened on October 24, 1987," Mr McConnell said.

"Admittedly, I was only a baby sitting on my mum's lap at the time when my dad took photos of the first train on that track.

"When I saw the date on the front of the train in dad's photo, I checked my roster and my first job on Wednesday was to Cleveland I couldn't believe my luck."

Ryan said driving the train into Cleveland was something he had wanted to do since he was at kindergarten.

Dad Bevan McConnell said his son had won a prize at kindy when he was four for being able to recite all the train stations between Thorneside and Central.

The Cleveland line was originally built to serve the agricultural area of Redland Bay and to provide Brisbane residents with seaside access at Wynnum, Manly and Cleveland.

The line from Albert, near Park Road, to Cleveland Central opened on October 1, 1889.

It was extended a short distance, further east closer to Cleveland Point, on December 20, 1897.

The line was closed between Lota and Cleveland on November 1, 1960.

More than 20 years later, the Cleveland railway line was rebuilt in stages.

The line opened to Thorneside on September 25 1982. It was extended to Wellington Point as an electric line on July 26, 1986, and to Cleveland, just short of the old Raby Bay station, on October 24 1987.

Ryan McConnell with his mum, Glenda, as a baby, when the railway to Cleveland was reopened in 1987.

Ryan McConnell with his mum, Glenda, as a baby, when the railway to Cleveland was reopened in 1987.