In 1984 the Apex Club of Gympie and District Historical Society proposed that a local steam locomotive be preserved, Locomotive No. 45 until that time had long since been withdrawn from service with Queensland Railways and was situated in Andrew Fisher Park in Gympie.
Exposed to the elements and with the prospect of posing a future potential health risk to park visitors, the possibility of the locomotive being cut up and sold for scrap was a real and pressing danger. On 4 Jan 1984 Locomotive No 45 was moved to the Gympie Museum after Queensland Railways determined that it should be preserved.
Later on in 1985, Queensland Railways was approached to discuss whether No 45 could be returned to working order. The Railways outlined what would be required and the length of time needed for such a project.
This daunting task was then begun and in 1992, some seven years after the original discussions, No 45 was finally restored to working order at the Gympie Museum. The locomotive initially ran on a short length of track within the Gympie Museum grounds.
The pending closure of the Mary Valley branch line due to occur in 1994/1995 prompted the Apex Club to further propose that a tourist train be based in Gympie to run along that line which would allow both the line and Locomotive No 45 to remain in use.
Negotiations with Queensland Transport, Queensland Railways and the Gympie and District Historical Society were entered into, and operations of the MVHR commenced in 1998. Steam locomotive No 45 was the first train to run along the line on the 23rd May 1998. The Mary Valley Heritage Railway has been its own entity since that time.