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Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
See also John Raby's blogs at www.rabylee.uk/linesidingindex.html


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Friday 28 May Paton’s Country Railway

We travelled from Creighton on our bus to nearby Ixopo, home of Paton’s Country Railway as featured in Alan Paton’s famous South African novel, ‘Cry My Beloved Country’. This is a remnant of a South African Railways 2ft gauge branch line through very hilly country, not unlike Puffing Billy in Victoria. An interesting locomotive at Ixopo station was a Hunslet 0-4-4-0DM from Doornkop Sugar Estate.

The locomotive hauling our train was one of the first type of Beyer-Garrett articulated locomotives on the South African 2ft gauge, Class NGG11, introduced in 1919. The weather was not the best as it was cool and overcast.
En route we made a water stop at Stainton and paused to pick up free fuel in the form of timber left behind after a recent logging operation.

Following a vigorous storming of the summit of the line, we travelled by bus beyond the halt at Carisbrooke to see the railway’s working sugar cane locomotive, Umtwalume Valley Estates No.2, an Avonside built in 1933.
Returning to our passenger train, the conditions were worsening and a lack of both sand and water hampered the return efforts that were nevertheless spectacular as the mist descended and the engine continually slipped on the damp rail. The journey ended in ignominy with the fire being dropped and the passengers having to walk up a steep dirt road to wait for our bus to retrieve us.

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