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9Nov/210

Trans-Australian Railway Brochure Circa 1965

This item was picked up recently from a vintage shop in Colac. Finally, we're allowed to travel! Nothing like how we used to, though...

TA-1

TA-2

TA-3

TA-4

It's a 4-panel fold-out, with a full map on the back.

map

As usual, here's a better resolution version of the full-width map.

Filed under: AUS No Comments
4Nov/212

Countrylink Paraphernalia

Back in the day, someone had a plan to upgrade the Canberra - Sydney rail fleet to X2000... or somesuch... The X2000 was shipped from the Scandies to Australia and strapped onto an XPT power car.

I happened to be there when the unit came to Canberra. Here's the pamphlet as proof:

X2000-1

X2000-2

X2000-3

X2000-4

Wait, no, I suppose this is the actual proof...

Image

Oh! They also handed out rulers... one of mine seems to have enjoyed a bake in the sun.

Image

And here's a sticker of the actual unit that was powering the set... making the whole process pointless...

xpt stickers

They weren't handed out at the same time... I just happened to have all of this in boxes and feel it's wasted there. More to come.

Filed under: AUS 2 Comments
14Apr/202

Passing Freight in South Yarra – April, 2020

Thanks to having a camera hanging off the balcony, I'm able to capture and record scenes like the following. Also, thanks to FTTP NBN, the steam is live 24/7.

Above you'll find an up Maryvale Paper Service entering first from the left. Shortly after, a down Long Island Steel train will pass through. The up service was relatively on-time, but the steel was allocated a run for the 11:30am service, running well-late even for the 13:30 (9557) timeslot.

Anyway, here's the live cam. (But if below is temporarily unavailable, browse here to find the latest URL: stevenhoefel - youtube - live)

Enjoy!

Filed under: AUS 2 Comments
27Nov/190

Welding Rail In South Yarra

There was a total shutdown of all lines past my apartment on the weekend of the 16th-17th November as Metro we're upgrading the signalling. It's well-needed to allow better head-ways for more services, and also to allow brand new 'high-capacity' trains to run. To do all this, they've had to cut in new isolated track joins. I assumed they'd just cut through the rails in-stu and clamp an insulated joiner over the top... but I assume the tension in the rails prevents them from doing this? Instead they've been busy removing a 20 metre length of track and welded in a new length that includes a bypassed insulated joiner!

DSC02083

It's bypassed as they don't want to break the track-circuit just yet. The rest of the infrastructure isn't in place yet, so a break in the circuit here would actually cause a 'blind' area on one of the sides. Hence the jumper cables. There's also a longer length of cables running down the current work area, to keep the current circuit in operation whilst the work is carried out. I don't really see the reason though, as there's a lot of protection at either end of the entire work area to prevent vehicles from entering.

The weather was reasonable, and I was half brain-dead from a cold, so I spent a good bit of time on the bridge near Cromwell Road, watching the professionals carry out their business. You could tell they'd done the job 100s of times before; their efficiency and precision was great to watch.

Step 1 - Align The Rails

The first step would probably be the most important in the whole process; misaligned rails would cause untold problems in the future and therefore a lot of time was spent getting the elevation and angle spot-on. There's a large brace/jack on the outside of the rails that was aligned first. This unit uses friction to grip all four rails and, when air pressure is applied, pneumatically draws them closer together.

DSC02086

DSC02084 DSC02090 DSC02092

The workman was constantly measuring the gap between the rails until it was within tolerance. I note that they didn't just bring them closer in one hit. The workman operating the compressor only applied pressure for short periods, maybe 3 seconds each time, and then his colleague would measure again. They'd then let the whole contraption rest for 5 seconds before applying further pressure.

I'm actually astonished that the rails even moved. It's a relatively straight section of track and where does the slack come from? I can't imagine they actually stretch the steel? They had removed around 6 rows of clips from the original rails to allow freedom of movement. I'd say the gap was about 40mm to start with, but they brought it right down to less than 20mm!

Once it was as close as required, the rails were further adjusted using (what looked like) rail spikes between the closest sleepers and the base of the rail. These were hammered in to raise or lower the rails. The worksman spent around 5 minutes doing this, making sure everything was totally level. The ruler was around a metre long, allowing him to see how much the rails tapered off on either side. You could tell he did not want to create any kind of gradient on either side of the join.

Step 2 - Build The Mould

From what I could see, the mould was made of some form of terracotta? The colour was the standard red, but it really could be made of any sort of compound. The base was removed from the packaging first and a layer of glue applied down each long edge. This was then smoothed around the edge and along the ridge to make sure that there'd be no gaps once joined. This base was then placed into the metal tray which would soon form the case that holds the mould together.

DSC02094 DSC02095 DSC02098

The whole base was then placed under the gap between the rails. It was held in place with clamps and, once again, adjusted once and again to make sure that it was completely square and level with the join.

DSC02096 DSC02100 DSC02101

DSC02102

The sides of the mould were then taken out of the pack. These were placed in the 'sides' of the metal case and both units were then assembled onto the rail. From here, the mould was complete, with an opening at the top where molten metal would be poured in? You could see that, at the top of the mould there was one short edge that was lower than the others; presumably this was for excess molten metal to flow over.

DSC02105

Once this was done, the final outer frame was dropped on and the 'drip tray' inserted on the side that had the overflow 'spout'.

DSC02106

DSC02107 DSC02108 DSC02111

From here, a large block of malleable clay (or other playdough-esque material) was split up and used to totally fill all gaps around the edges of the case and mould. The goal was to ensure that all heat, once the mould was full, was to stay trapped inside.

DSC02114

The entire block was applied to all facades of the mould, specifically where the case and the mould met.

Step 3 - Add Fire!

A cute little terracotta (or other substance) pot had been sitting on the back of the work truck for a while, but it was now its time for action.

DSC02113

To 'set the mould', a small mount was clamped to the rail and then the oxy-acetylene torch was flamed up and positioned on it, aiming the fire directly into the mould. The flame from the torch burned a strong blue, but eventually yellow flames began rising from the openings on either side of the torch. One of the worksman then grabbed the terracotta pot whilst the other pulled the torch out of the mould. Without being able to see inside the mould, one couldn't really work out what exactly was being heated, but you'd have to assume the rail ends were red-hot by this point!

DSC02117

DSC02122 DSC02123 DSC02124

The pot was placed directly on top of the whole mould and the torch was placed in the small opening on top.

DSC02128

I'll let the following video explain the rest...

A lot of trust placed in a set of serious gloves!

Step 4 - Clean Up

From here, there was a 10 minute break whilst the burning-box-of-death cooled down. The overflow tray on the side was thrown track-side once it could be lifted.

DSC02132 DSC02130 DSC02134

After a while, the outside metal case was unscrewed and whacked a few times until it fell loose. Now the mould was perfectly visible, and perfectly-solidly-formed as a single unit, welded to the rails!

DSC02135

To get this off, another utensil was used. The workmen brought over another flat-frame-style machine and placed it over the mould. With a few clamps, they secured it on all corners to the rail and then one of the guys started pumping a lever handle. I couldn't quite see what the action resulted in from where I was, but I assume there was a flat blade that was slowly, flush with the railhead, cutting into the mould on a horizontal plane.

DSC02140

DSC02143 DSC02144 DSC02147

The other worksmen started beating the mould with a mallet when the cutter wasn't being used. After a lot of intimidation, the mould finally started budging... but instead of a clean splice, it decided to split to pieces... pieces of 1000 degree red-hot danger.

DSC02149

More time was spent letting the bits cool down and then it was all moved to the rubbish pile track-side.

DSC02154

From here, a portable grinder-on-wheels was used to finally trim down the weld. Once complete, it finally resembled rail!

I'd actually watched the 2nd of 4 joins be welded before I had decided to get my camera and record the one above. This part, the removing of the mould, was much smoother on that one; a single knock after a slight clamp saw the whole lot just break free in one hit. There was no grinding required afterwards either! I hadn't really noticed anything done differently between each session, so I wonder how many variables come into play when it comes to doing this and how easy it is to stuff up!?

Gantry Foundations

Whilst all the welding was taking place, another vehicle had been busy drilling a column on the other side of the track. The colour of the earth was quite interesting, being somewhere between clay and red earth? A re-bar metal frame was then built up and inserted, with the square frame of pre-built bolt rigging for the base of a pylon. The alignment of this frame in the hole was actually a big thing and watching the surveyor get it correct was pretty interesting.

DSC02158

Turns out there was a remote surveyors camera sitting half way down the track, fixed on the location of the pylon.

DSC02159

And, with a remote mirror, with a very fine tip, the surveyor measured each corner of the frame. The workers around nailed, cut and hammered the external wooden frame to get the metal frame in the exactly correct position.

DSC02161 DSC02162 DSC02165

The surveyor was holding a handheld computer that was relaying the stats from the surveying equipment.

DSC02160

Good to see technology helping all departments.

Tamping And Cleaning

Whilst everything else was going on, there were also tampers and ballast cleaners working away. Turns out they were tidying up a cut-in insulated joint that had been installed the night before.

DSC02156

DSC02167 DSC02082 DSC02169

The ballast cleaner sounded like it was in pain, chewing rocks up and spitting out a lot of dust.

DSC02171

After all of the above, they managed to clean up and the trains were running again the next morning.

Filed under: AUS No Comments
14Nov/1911

Melbourne Broad Gauge Freight Trains

Below is a listing of trains sighted taking the viaduct between Southern Cross Station and Flinders Street Station. Trains, as they pass through this area, will (where possible) be recorded in the table below. The times indicate when they pass through, not when they arrive. Sometimes the trains sit in this area waiting for a path in either direction!

Service Frequency Description
9343/9348
QUBE Apex Gravel Service
Tue - Fri Runs from Kilmore East Quarry to Westall Cement Plant. Usually around midnight on the down and then a 10am up through South Yarra/Richmond/Flinders St.
Note that if the morning time is around 4am then it's actually the 9350 service... but I've put them both in the same column.
9571/9572
QUBE Cement Service
Mon & Thu/Fri Runs from Tottenham(?) to Dandenong. New Service. Very random runner... sometimes mondays instead of tuesdays and sometimes fridays instead of thursdays.
9475/9476
QUBE Maryvale Paper Train
Daily Runs from Appleton Dock to the Maryvale Paper Plant. Takes paper to be recycled out to plant and returns empty? Heads out at 8pm at night and returns around 2pm the next day.
Every so often you'll find the train heading out at around 4am in the morning. This is actually the 9473 service, but I've put it in the same column as the evening down. Note that it means it actually ran the next morning!
955*
PacNat Long Island Steel Train
Daily (excl Friday) Runs from the northernmost road of South Dynon to the Long Island Steel Plant in Frankston. The midday runner 9553 usually DOES NOT run on Fridays unless there's a weekend shutdown and they need to shift more steel beforehand. 9557 (1pm) and 9559 (7pm) are also only as-required! The actual service pairing is as follows: 9555-9552, 9553-9556, 9557-9558, 9559-9550
708*, 9**2
Possible Metro Train Transfer
Totally Ad-Hoc Currently serviced by SSR, this might be the HCMT Metro Train Transfer path from Newport to Pakenham. It's totally random and the train running this path may not actually be a transfer!
Please note that I've merged services 7080, 7082, 7084, 7086 and 7088, 9502, 9902 into once cell. Spoil trains and driver training runs will also fall into this path.

2022 NOTE: QUBE has taken over the PacNat Steel Services.. the numbers have changed. They've been piped into the PacNat slots and are showing below. Once they've stabilised, I'll explain them further.

Please note that this is an automated service based on sightings from another location. It wont be 100% foolproof but, with careful consideration of the numbers and days, one should be able to get a good idea as to what is visible and when. Also note that services might show up out-of-order. For example, the Apex gravel ran in a much later slot on 30/31st January 2020.

Date955093489552957193439553955794769572955995569475955895557088
May 2024
Mon
20th
1307
G515
2004
VL357
Sun
19th
No trains recorded
Sat
18th
No trains recorded
Fri
17th
2353
G532
0549
VL357
1037
G532
1147
G515
1849
VL357
Thu
16th
2358
G532
1036
G532
1839
VL357
2237
G515
Wed
15th
2253
G532
1050
G532
2112
VL357
0025
G515
Tue
14th
0015
G532
1058
G532
Mon
13th
No trains recorded
Sun
12th
No trains recorded
Sat
11th
No trains recorded
Fri
10th
0600
VL353
1140
VL351
2002
VL353
Thu
9th
0559
VL353
1141
VL351
2022
VL353
2322
VL351
Wed
8th
0549
VL353
1039
G532
1141
VL351
1959
VL353
2324
VL351
Tue
7th
0347
G532
0552
VL357
1120
VL351
2000
VL353
2307
VL351
Mon
6th
0553
VL357
1136
G515
1945
VL357
2323
G515
Sun
5th
0543
VL357
1150
G515
2331
VL357
2331
G515
Sat
4th
0626
VL357
1201
G515
1958
VL357
2319
G515
Fri
3rd
0020
G532
0553
VL357
1443
G532
1423
G515
1349
VL353
Thu
2nd
0020
G532
0551
VL357
1145
G532
1148
G515
1341
VL353
2000
VL357
2045
VL356
2313
G515
Date955093489552957193439553955794769572955995569475955895557088
Wed
1st
1342
G512
2029
VL357
0444
VL356
2334
G515
April 2024
Tue
30th
0549
VL357
1147
VL356
2004
VL357
2329
G515
Mon
29th
1347
G512
2002
VL357
0357
VL351
2311
VL356
Sun
28th
0602
VL357
1149
VL356
1923
VL357
2349
VL356
Sat
27th
0559
VL357
1141
VL356
2026
VL357
2336
VL356
Fri
26th
1313
VL356
1355
G512
2045
VL351
2115
VL357
2345
VL356
Thu
25th
0441
VL357
1200
VL356
2159
VL357
Wed
24th
0423
VL357
1317
VL356
1500
G512
2240
G512
2111
VL357
2341
VL356
Tue
23rd
0554
VL357
1328
VL356
2332
VL357
2332
VL356
Mon
22nd
1150
VL356
1350
G512
2003
VL357
0353
G512
2326
VL356
Date955093489552957193439553955794769572955995569475955895557088
Sun
21st
0512
VL353
1201
VL356
1819
VL353
2320
VL356
Sat
20th
1201
VL356
1924
VL353
2317
VL356
Fri
19th
0020
G515
0600
VL353
1037
G515
1125
VL356
1347
G512
2014
VL353
2028
G512
2329
VL356
Thu
18th
1110
VL356
1313
VL356
1340
G512
2113
VL353
2037
G512
2339
VL356
Wed
17th
1041
G515
Tue
16th
1039
G515
Mon
15th
1351
G512
Sun
14th
0604
VL353
1206
VL356
1926
VL353
Sat
13th
0559
VL353
1216
VL356
1934
VL353
2327
VL356
Fri
12th
0553
VL353
1126
VL356
1415
G512
1959
VL353
2027
G512
2335
VL356
Date955093489552957193439553955794769572955995569475955895557088
Thu
11th
0442
VL353
1041
G515
1126
VL356
2006
VL353
2318
VL356
Wed
10th
2020
G515
0341
VL353
1148
VL356
1351
G512
2000
VL353
2025
G512
2310
VL356
Tue
9th
0552
VL353
1153
VL356
2325
VL353
2325
VL356
Mon
8th
1334
VL356
1401
G512
2025
G512
2112
VL353
0029
VL356
Sun
7th
1224
VL356
1929
VL353
Sat
6th
1141
VL356
1921
VL353
Fri
5th
0554
VL353
1142
VL356
1349
G512
2006
VL353
2035
G512
Thu
4th
0431
VL353
1131
VL356
1353
G512
2011
VL353
2040
G512
2330
VL356
Wed
3rd
0559
VL353
1329
VL356
2001
VL353
2308
VL356
Tue
2nd
1045
G532
1349
G512
2004
VL353
2056
G512
2325
VL356
Date955093489552957193439553955794769572955995569475955895557088
Mon
1st
0514
VL353
1124
G532
1920
VL353
March 2024
Sun
31st
0531
VL353
1204
G532
1930
VL353
2330
G532
Sat
30th
0619
VL353
1208
G532
2008
VL353
0002
G532
Fri
29th
1205
VL356
2122
VL351
0015
G532
Thu
28th
2025
G515
1325
VL356
1401
G512
2022
G512
Wed
27th
1037
G515
1340
VL356
1402
G512
0407
G512
2123
VL351
Tue
26th
1030
G515
1107
VL356
1328
VL356
1403
G512
0327
G512
2114
VL351
Mon
25th
0553
G515
1335
VL356
1409
G512
0337
G512
2126
VL353
Sun
24th
1217
VL353
1953
G515
1924
G512
2324
VL353
Sat
23rd
0540
G515
1205
VL353
1949
G515
Date955093489552957193439553955794769572955995569475955895557088
Fri
22nd
0620
G515
1127
G515
2005
G515
2312
VL353
Thu
21st
1316
VL353
1402
VL357
2244
VL356
2113
G515
2329
VL353
Wed
20th
1329
G532
1921
G532
Tue
19th
1501
VL357
0347
G512
Mon
18th
0552
G532
1330
G532
2115
G532
Sun
17th
0634
G532
0314
G512
2306
VL360
Sat
16th
0621
VL357
1214
G532
1952
VL351
0006
VL360
Fri
15th
1328
G532
1351
VL357
2111
VL351
2350
VL360
Thu
14th
0552
G532
1134
VL351
1412
VL357
2003
G532
2018
VL360
Wed
13th
0549
G532
1120
VL351
1448
VL357
2002
G532
2016
VL360
2341
VL351
Date955093489552957193439553955794769572955995569475955895557088
Tue
12th
0550
G532
1207
VL351
1348
VL356
2355
G532
2156
VL356
2355
VL351
Mon
11th
2350
VL351
G532
1130
VL351
1923
G532
Sun
10th
0455
G532
1201
VL351
1925
G532
2249
VL351
Sat
9th
1148
VL351
1927
G532
2235
VL351
Fri
8th
0021
G515
1339
G515
2118
G515
Thu
7th
0022
G515
1030
G515
1331
G512
1357
VL356
2049
VL357
2126
VL353
Wed
6th
0513
G515
1047
G515
1406
G512
1344
VL356
2032
VL357
2114
VL353
Tue
5th
0458
G512
1036
G512
1333
G515
2112
VL353
Mon
4th
1359
G515
1350
VL360
2111
VL353
2249
VL357
Sun
3rd
No trains recorded
Sat
2nd
0023
G512
0948
G512
Fri
1st
1354
G515
1444
VL360
2005
VL356
2110
VL353
February 2024
Thu
29th
0551
VL353
1057
G532
1126
VL357
1959
VL353
Wed
28th
1024
G532
0550
VL353
1153
G515
2003
G512
2335
VL357
Tue
27th
0032
G532
0553
VL353
1504
G532
1139
VL357
2009
VL353
0345
VL356
2310
VL357
Mon
26th
0554
VL353
1328
VL357
2116
VL353
0007
VL357
Sun
25th
0546
VL353
1202
VL357
1924
VL353
2332
VL357
Sat
24th
0539
VL353
1200
VL357
1925
VL353
0001
VL357
Fri
23rd
2359
G532
0554
VL353
1040
G532
1139
VL357
1359
VL360
2002
VL353
2017
VL356
2320
VL357
Thu
22nd
2318
G512
0553
VL353
1038
G532
1157
VL357
2001
VL353
2258
VL357
Date955093489552957193439553955794769572955995569475955895557088
Wed
21st
0033
G512
0610
VL353
1047
G532
1140
VL357
1349
VL360
2005
VL353
2115
VL356
2354
VL357
Tue
20th
0552
VL353
1140
VL357
2001
VL353
2047
VL356
2340
VL357
Mon
19th
1337
VL357
1420
VL360
2114
VL353
2340
VL357
Sun
18th
No trains recorded
Sat
17th
0022
G512
1348
G512
Fri
16th
0026
G512
1047
G512
1307
VL357
1358
VL360
2025
VL356
2115
VL353
Thu
15th
No trains recorded
Wed
14th
0600
VL353
1135
VL357
1408
VL360
2019
VL353
2046
VL356
Tue
13th
1307
G512
Mon
12th
0552
VL353
1359
VL360
2029
VL356
Date955093489552957193439553955794769572955995569475955895557088
Sun
11th
0554
VL353
1215
VL351
1921
VL353
2320
VL351
Sat
10th
0544
VL353
1151
VL351
1930
VL353
2315
VL351
Fri
9th
1340
VL351
1954
VL353
2307
VL351
Thu
8th
0018
G532
0553
VL353
1036
G532
1128
VL351
2004
VL353
Wed
7th
0015
G532
0551
VL353
1047
G532
1131
VL351
1350
VL360
2030
VL353
2043
VL356
2338
VL351
Tue
6th
0029
G532
0601
G512
1037
G532
1129
VL351
2004
VL353
2326
VL351
Mon
5th
1402
VL360
2056
VL356
2349
VL353
Sun
4th
0417
G515
1204
G512
1938
G515
2322
G512
Sat
3rd
1203
G512
1859
G515
2232
G512
Fri
2nd
2320
G532
1141
G532
1120
VL353
1343
G512
1400
VL360
2008
G515
2025
VL356
Date955093489552957193439553955794769572955995569475955895557088
Thu
1st
1108
G512
1331
G515
2110
G515
January 2024
Wed
31st
1347
G512
2103
VL357
Tue
30th
1040
G532
1522
G532
1341
G512
2030
VL357
Mon
29th
0553
VL357
1153
G512
2004
VL357
0349
VL356
Sun
28th
0544
VL357
1201
VL351
1934
VL357
2335
G512
Sat
27th
0539
VL357
1200
VL351
1921
VL357
2308
VL351
Fri
26th
0644
VL357
1150
VL351
1936
VL357
2327
VL351
Thu
25th
0018
G532
1037
G532
1142
VL351
1348
VL360
2008
VL357
2030
VL353
2347
VL351
Wed
24th
1140
VL357
VL351
1347
VL360
2005
VL357
2029
VL353
Tue
23rd
0512
G532
0554
VL357
1039
G532
1154
VL351
1350
VL360
2024
VL357
2149
VL353
2333
VL351
Date955093489552957193439553955794769572955995569475955895557088
Mon
22nd
1421
VL351
1352
VL353
2008
VL353
2134
VL357
2340
VL351
Sun
21st
No trains recorded
Sat
20th
No trains recorded
Fri
19th
0020
G532
0551
VL357
1100
G532
1134
G515
2003
G515
Thu
18th
0552
VL357
1129
VL351
1403
VL353
2006
VL357
2020
VL356
2326
VL351
Wed
17th
0559
VL357
1136
VL351
1351
VL353
2023
VL357
1937
VL356
2330
VL351
Tue
16th
0559
VL357
1209
VL351
1412
VL353
1959
VL357
2058
G532
2306
VL351
Mon
15th
0549
VL357
1151
VL360
2014
VL357
2332
VL360
Sun
14th
0505
VL357
1230
VL360
1924
VL357
2325
VL360
Sat
13th
0521
VL357
1201
VL360
1951
VL357
2337
VL360
Date955093489552957193439553955794769572955995569475955895557088
Fri
12th
0552
VL357
1152
VL360
1342
VL356
2003
VL357
2015
VL356
2319
VL360
Thu
11th
0559
VL357
1127
VL360
2002
VL357
2326
VL360
Wed
10th
0551
VL357
1152
VL360
1346
VL356
2003
VL357
2019
VL353
2327
VL360
Tue
9th
2322
VL357
2322
VL360
Mon
8th
0601
VL357
1202
VL360
1349
VL356
2104
VL357
2120
VL353
2344
VL360
Sun
7th
0438
VL357
1209
VL360
1840
G515
1924
VL357
2321
VL360
Sat
6th
0543
VL357
1204
G532
1927
VL357
2259
VL360
Fri
5th
0552
VL357
1149
VL360
1338
VL356
2003
VL357
2020
G515
2311
VL360
Thu
4th
0444
VL357
1120
VL360
1429
G515
2000
VL357
2132
G515
2324
VL360
Wed
3rd
2232
VL360
Date955093489552957193439553955794769572955995569475955895557088
Tue
2nd
0522
VL360
1156
VL360
1346
VL356
2115
VL357
0009
VL360
Mon
1st
2355
VL353
Filed under: AUS 11 Comments
30Jan/190

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.

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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.

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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!

Filed under: AUS No Comments
30Nov/180

High-Capacity Metro Trains (HCMT)

The first HCMT has been 'constructed' at Newport and recently passed through Hawksburn late at night. It was done after-hours to permit slow-running... as I'm sure they've measured the platform clearances... but weren't game to trash their new toy!

Whilst getting ready for the main event... I happened to see a few other consists on the radar. First up we have two SSR T-Class locomotives hauling the inspection vehicle IEV102. Running slowly, you can see it has the light shining onto the overhead, making sure it's within tolerance.

Next was the midnight down steel... but I missed it... too busy playing Pikmin 1 via the Dolphin Gamecube Emulator!

But then the down Apex Gravel train showed up... and came through. This had a full load and was working pretty hard up the grade. Looked and sounded great!

Finally, the main event (at 0130 in the morning)! The consist was pretty random: S302 up front, 20 grain cars, S317 + T + T, a brake van and then the actual HCMT! The extra loading was required as the HCMT wasn't 'braked'. Or that's the only reason I can think of... they couldve just had the 2 S or T on either end, but they may not be able to pull the train to a stop as they'd not be able to brake hard enough. Instead they used the bogies of 20 grain cars to make sure the weight on the end had no impact on the running train.

What a night! And what amazing lack-of-sleep!

Filed under: AUS No Comments
10Sep/180

6029 Returns to Canberra (for a weekend)

The irony... or, at least I think it's irony? I don't know anymore. But, whatever, I didn't need an excuse... what a great reason to return to Canberra for the weekend! 6029 came back to the place where it had been stored for decades and then rebuilt (to then assist in causing the failure of the railway museum) to run tours to Queanbeyan and Bungendore.

Here's the event link, but I can't see that link lasting long at all. It's not overly unique? Anyway, the basic idea was 4 shuttles to Queanbeyan on Saturday morning, followed by a single afternoon return trip to Bungendore. Then sunday was three full return trips to Bungendore.

The Line

It turns out that Canberra was an afterthought. To get to Canberra, railway vehicles first traverse the logging line to Bombala, but only until Queanbeyan where the Canberra branch actually starts. Railways were always about freight... and Canberra hadn't been invented yet... so the line that exists between Goulburn and Bombala was actually due to the need for wood, with an extension to Canberra built later.

It's a very short trip between Canberra and Queanbeyan, hence why they managed to schedule in four shuttles on the Saturday morning. There's not much along the line as it's quite flat between both stations.

Getting to Canberra from Thirlmere

It turns out that this was part of a larger rail cruise. Cruise Express ran their Southern Rail Spectactular event from Sydney to Melbourne and return. It included branchlines, steam engines and multiple consist changes. SRHC even got their standard-gauge consist set up for this specific event! It was also fun watching the consists hold up traffic in either direction...

procession

And again Northbound...

procession-2

Saturday, 1st September 2018

GL112 was attached on the rear and the train made it into Canberra Railway Station (Kingston) for it's first trip at 0900. All went well and I was waiting on the northern side of Jerrabomberra Creek. Beautiful sunlight and only 2 other onlookers.

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From there, I attempted to get the return from the back of Bunnings in Fyshwick, but there were no good vantage points. The carpark at DFO would've been on the wrong side, with the sun directly in ones face. A quick shop at Jaycar for a DB9 socket for a mouse rebuild and then off to the back of Nick Scali furniture to catch the 10am outbound.

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Another two onlookers... one being naughty on the wrong side of the fence... and then it was off to Queanbeyan to watch the return shuttle.

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From there, it was family time for lunch. I managed to watch the 12pm shuttle depart before this... not before seeing a whole range of stupidity though... people just seem to think that crossing a yard is appropriate? They were quickly told to move on!

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4201 then rolled in with a NSWRTM water gin!? I love unexpected surprises! 6029 then departed.

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Later in the afternoon, I found enough time in the afternoon to watch the Bungendore return trip at the bridge just past Queanbeyan station. Lots of interest here this time and great sunlight. It's an awesome spot for inbound movements.

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Sunday, 2nd September 2018

First-things-first on a Sunday morning in Canberra: Jamison Trash'n'Treasure, Mitchell Tip Shop, Woden Trash'n'Treasure and then Mugga Tip Shop. Found a few tid-bits, but nothing to call home about. Actually, Mitchell Tip shop was a bit out of control: they wanted AUD$25 for a monitor and set of computer speakers... what kind of 'gourmet' do they think they're selling? It's literally rubbish!

Made it back home to switch cars and then to Kingston railway to catch up with friends to grab some aerial video of the Bungendore shuttles. In the yard, 42103 and 4201 were hanging around, keeing the crowd entertained.

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First stop was to be the bridge at Burbong, NSW. It's a great location, amazingly scenic, but the sun isn't always in the best location!

Fortunately, for a drone, the sun is absolutely no issue. Line-of-sight with too many trees can be... but we managed to find a great location. Nathan even had the 'VR' headset so I was watching the drone's viewpoint as he was flying it... pretty damn amazing!

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The train came in due course and ... it was beautiful. The locomotive was at full-tilt (the exhaust may well exclaim that) and the sights and sounds were awesome. It passed quite quickly but we caught further footage whilst everyone else was packing up.

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And now, the best part... the drone footage! (Make sure to turn the quality right up!)

The next spot was in the Molonglo Gorge. I'd actually never been here... even though I'd lived in Canberra for ~28 years. Seriously disappointing actually, as it's an amazing location! The railway line snakes along the gorge hill-side through two tunnels and there's a few spaces along the access roads to get some great shots.

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Another pilot had a drone out (exactly the same model) and our flight paths were negotiated to not get in eachother's way. Not exactly an easy thing to do as your viewpoint from the drone can be based on the film you're trying to take rather than the drones around you... and they can also have the same idea... so we had our wits about us. There's also a no-fly-zone towards Queanbeyan, but we were far enough away from it.

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After that, it was back to family time before jetting back off to Melbourne. Usually my weekends are pretty quiet in Canberra, but this one was fantastic. Can only thank the NSW Rail Museum for the entertainment!

Filed under: AUS No Comments
27Aug/180

Melbourne, Australia – August, 2018

There's been a bit of heritage activity around Melbourne recently and I thought I'd post a few pictures up-front, rather than letting them rot away in the albums.

Steamrail's Snow Train

This consist runs twice a year from Southern Cross to Traralgon. From there you can venture off on other tours of the countryside. It's usually run by two R class steam locomotives, as it was this year. I happened to ride on it last year, so instead chose to take photos of it this year.

The train ran on Sunday, 5th August. This perfectly aligns with the usual Sunday trash and treasure market adventures, and so I waited near the Oakleigh market. This also happens to be where the Skyrail comes back to earth, so I attempted a shot of the train coming off the viaduct.

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As you can see, R711 was up front and they powered through beautifully.

Excuse the long wind-up, you could hear the train coming well before you saw it!

707 Operations with R707 and A66

Another Sunday (26th August), another set of flea markets and another consist of vintage goodness. It even went the same way... and so did I. But this time I had enough time to get home and deliver the randomness I picked up before it came past the apartment. Therefore... the usual spot first, with the new location. It's a little harder to get the right shot as the train was on the furthest track!

XTrap through South Yarra A66 approaches Hawksburn A66 approaches Hawksburn

A66 approaches Hawksburn

And the poor steamer was getting lugged along behind. Perfect logic though, no running around when it wanted to return in the other direction!

R707 in tow through Hawksburn

It then came back through and I caught it around the bend at South Yarra. There were a few random trains in between though... like the steelie!

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G536 on Steel approaching South Yarra Bridge

A multitude of sparks...

ComEng departs South Yarra Siemens approaching South Yarra Station XTrap approaches South Yarra Double ComEng at South Yarra R707 through South Yarra Station

And yes.. then the main event...

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R707 through South Yarra Station

And so that was the first trip... To Berwick and return. The second leg was to Stony Point and back, with a 20min stop at Patterson on the way there.

A66 approaching Patterson A66 approaching Patterson A66 approaching Patterson

A66 approaching Patterson

The stop wasn't overly practical... as it was really for the passengers and there wasn't much platform to stretch out on.

A66 at Patterson for tour photo-stop

I snuck down to the fence and, regardless of the lighting, I snapped away as the train departed.

A66 and R707 depart Patterson A66 and R707 depart Patterson A66 and R707 depart Patterson

A66 and R707 depart Patterson

A66 and R707 depart Patterson

Always perfect to see these tours sell out and history preserved!

Filed under: AUS No Comments
20Aug/180

Melbourne – The view from Tarneit Station

I've just recently posted photos of B74 leading through Tarneit and it occurred to me that I've now got a historical record of the changes to the landscape in the area.

The amount of building that's been going on behind the trains in the scenes below says it all. The first shot is from July 2016, we then have October 2016 and finally July 2018.

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Sure, 2 years is a huge gap... things happen... nappy-valleys get built... but... it's just cool to see the change when I never even intended on recording it! Melbourne's urban (or rural?) sprawl is actually pretty hideous... these poor people will spend a quarter of their lives in their cars parked in traffic jams on highways.

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