Right, it has been too long between postings already... over the last two weekends I've been chasing the Steamrail Shuttles around Melbourne. The weather has been dismal, but it has proved a great lesson in shutter speed vs. exposure and dealing with fast adjustments.
Steamrail from Williamstown to Flinders St
Steamrail, after a quiet Christmas, have been running their K Class Steam Locomotives around the suburbs of Melbourne over the last two weekends. The first of these trips was a shuttle for the Williamstown Festival from Williamstown to Flinders Street with no intermediate stops. Although the weather was pitiful in the morning, I still ventured out to see what was around the traps at Newport.
Fortunately SSR had a rail-train at Anzac Sidings which meant there was something to mix into the background. This train, with GM22+S317 on it, had its headlight on the the majority of the morning and I was hoping it would depart. Unfortunately it turns out it had just returned to the sidings.
There was also a good mix of random Metro and V/Line meetings.
I was also lucky enough to see a freighter heading West.
I then returned to the City and got another few shots of the steam engines at Flinders Street Station.
QR/ARG Grain Train transfer from Western Australia to NSW
As luck has it, I had decided to go to Gheringhap Loop on Saturday the 2nd of April to simply check the place out. I had never been before and wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Once there, I met a few other onlookers who noted that a special transfer from the West was coming through with some interesting locos on it. I was also informed that I'd just missed a Metro transfer from Ballarat and another BG freight train.
Either way, We first saw a loaded Pacific National grain train pull into the loop and then the WA transfer came through.
So, the photo of the transfer sucks.. right? I fumbled the shutter speed as the train bolted through and decided that I had to therefore get a proper shot. I knew it was on its way into Melbourne, so I jumped back in the car and headed to Spotswood. On the way I caught up with the consist just after Werribee. I was on the highway doing 100km/h and I wasn't exactly losing the train. It would've been doing 95km/h at the best of times.
I made it to Spotswood with around 15minutes to spare.
I then proceeded to Bunbury Street Tunnel. All signals were red and there was not a movement to be seen. I then returned to West Footscray where I met some of the other onlookers again. They were all waiting for the consist but weren't sure where it was. At this point it occurred to me that it was probably going to bypass Melbourne and could be at McIntyre Loop. I was in luck...
At this point, LDP001 had detached and was running around the consist. There was quite a turnout there of fans to see the train and one noted that they were doing a loco swap. This meant there would be another QR loco coming from Dynon to then take the train further north. I got my photos from this location and then headed to the other side of the bridge to get further shots.
LDP002 came storming through with a northbound freighter and an A380 swooped over before the grain train departed.
Finally LDP006 showed up.
The consist approached me and my battery died as I was about to take the final shot in great sunlight. Such is life.
Steamrail from Berwick to Pakenham
Sunday, 3rd of April saw another Steamrail shuttle service all day between Berwick and Pakenham. I had decided to take Metro and started walking to North Melbourne Station at 8am. I grabbed a coffee on the way and heard the steam whistles at around 8:25am passing the city... too bad, I wouldn't've minded being in front of them. I arrived at Flinders St only to realise that the next Pakenham server wasn't until 9:11am... Off-peak isn't fun.
Fortunately I did get to see something interesting. A ComEng was in the opposite platform and another was right up against the light behind it. I thought the one in the platform was dead, but instead I saw something I didn't realise Melboune/Metro did.
Metro kept announcing that the train wasn't taking passengers... so I don't actually know if they then used that 6-car set, but it was nice to see. It reminded me of Japan where a lot of the services split and join at certain points (fully loaded) with no issues and very little time required.
I jumped on the Frankston train and got off at Caufield... switching to the Pakenham train which got me to Berwick at around 10:30am. I bought my Steamrail ticket and found out the next shuttle wasn't until 11:18am. The station was actually in quite a nice area. The steamer was a little late.
Once on-board... I attempted to photograph some of the features of the carriage I was in... I didn't even take down the carriage number.
We then arrived at Pakenham after a few rough red lights and I checked out K153 in more detail.
And that was that...I then jumped on the Metro back to Melbourne. The V/Line was meant to come first, but it didn't turn up. Supposedly you are allowed to ride V/Line from Pakenham (the only 'suburban' station where you can join an 'up' V/Line service) on your Myki/Metcard. We got to Hawksburn when it passed us... then we caught it at Richmond. No time lost...
Finally I watched a few trains again in the dwindling light through South Kensington waiting for the steamer to return home. I still don't know if my position was on-side with the rulebook... but I was behind the fence.
At that point the lighting was terrible and the noise in the shot is disturbing... but... all in good fun.