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The Annual Christmas Pilgrimage – December, 2018

As per usual, it was another trip to Canberra via Cootamundra over the Christmas break. This time was a little different though... no holiday pay! I'm now a contractor! Regardless, both trains and family needed to be visited! The trip started at the usual sparrow-fart-o'clock and I caught the up Albury somewhere along the parallel stretches of highway and railway.


Awful lighting and a bad angle... I then totally missed the southbound XPT. I heard it growling through as I was filling the tank at a service station. From there, there was nothing on the rails. I grabbed a pie or two at Culcairn, but wasn't impressed at all... maybe the baker had been in a hurry. The first sign of movement was the southbound Harefield shuttle prepped at Junee. Of course... just as I approached it started to head south!

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I then whipped the MR-2 around and got to the favourite position... The train had crawled out of Junee, but nearly beat me up the hill? Nice effort!


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Crap lighting... the clouds really didn't want to play ball. From there it was more quiet rails. After checking in at the usual motel I was told the pool had a leak and had been emptied. The MR-2 hadn't had aircon for a few years, but it was ~35 outside and I was looking forward to a swim. Instead it was aircon in the motel room whilst I got a bit of work done.

The rest of the afternoon was spent with good friends from Cootamundra. Thanks Laurie for driving and knowing all the good spots to get the SSR grain rake! The proof is as follows...



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I hear they're now calling the Qube QBX locomotives 'Chiko Rolls'... pretty hilarious actually. Two separate consists came through in quick succession! We then retired for the afternoon before a great meal at the local.

The next morning was spent getting in front of a northbound SCT service. It'd beaten me out of Cootamundra, but I got it before Yass. I hereby dedicate the next block of photos to my favourite location: Yass Junction Station.

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I expected to then just dawdle back into Canberra... but instead found the SCT pulling to a halt in the station area. The drivers then inspected all axles... they must've triggered a sensor somewhere and been told to check if anything was actually wrong? They held there for 10 minutes and then pushed off again.


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That was it for the trip towards Canberra. Whilst there I swapped the AW11 MR2 for a 2015 ZRE182R Corolla and, well, it's not the pocket rocket that the MR2 was, but it's got enough of it's character and so much more comfort! The return trip was therefore a quick one, going through to Melbourne in one day.



There's the 'rolla at Jindalee. Collecting rock-chips on the bonnet that I wouldn't realised until I washed it in Melbourne. Damnit. Anyhoo... on the way back, QBXs were seen bolting into Junee...

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And then the XPT passed a CK grain at Gerogery?

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And that was another wrap. Home just in time to catch the Air Asia X flight to KL the next morning!

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