I happened to be in Sydney on Saturday the 25th of June briefly and managed to catch up with the Metropolitan Goods Railway Line between Canterbury and Sydenham.
I'd known about this line from the forums at Railpage and wanted to see some of the privately operated locomotives.
NOHABs at Canterbury
NOHAB (Nydqvist & Holm AB) was a manufacturing company in Sweden that has since gone bust. Independent Rail of Australia (Originally known as Lachlan Valley Rail Freight) based in Minto, Sydney, imported 16 of their MZ locomotives and continues to refurbish them.
It turns out that they decided to pass me at Canterbury Station not long after I'd gotten there.
They also own 4717, looking quite dirty. I jumped on the next spark back to Marrickville; 4717 paused long enough at the signal for me.
RLs at Marrickville
It turns out there was to be enough action here to keep me entertained. Port botany is a dead-end with no facilities to turn an engine, so all locomotives have to reverse else where. It seems that, for the movements I saw, containers are taken down and then the engines return to their bases.
First up, after 4717 cleared, a set of RLs came through. RL302 was leading and paused just on the other side of the junction to Sydenham. The pair then trotted off downhill.
After the port line was clear, the NOHABs returned. It would've been a good shot if another locomotive was attempting to head east... I've seen it before where someone has caught another train waiting on the line up from Sydenham.
The RLs, with RL301 now closest to me, returned to Marrickville and then bounced back to the port.
81s at Marrickville
A lonesome 81 Class then climbed the grade from Sydenham and wound past Marrickville. I hadn't seen these under steam for quite a long time (Melbourne only really sees them shunting.)
Note that the final container on the train had a piece of cardboard wedged in the handle saying "Don't seal this container."
Central and Surrounds
I then ventured into the city via Central and caught the locals.
That night I also tried a few shots of the trams near Paddy's Markets.
Taking the XPT home
The final part of my journey included a trip home on the XPT; although everyone seemed to think I was crazy for doing it. It was actually a really nice ride and there were little slowdowns. The train arrived 2 minutes early to Southern Cross; but the timetable definitely incorporates the trackwork being undertaken.
Quite a few freight trains were passed, for a Sunday, including a random lash-up on a ballast train south of Cootamundra.
In the end, I'd do the trip again... the trackwork will be completed one day? I think they can knock an hour or two off the running-time when it's done.