During the sugar industry "slack season" (I'm told the term "maintenance season" is preferred) track repairs and upgrades are undertaken, locomotives and rolling stock are maintained, and new construction of cane lines and rolling stock occurs.
A quick visit to Cairns allowed an inspection of most of the mills in the far north. There are only four left along the coastal strip north of the Cardwell Range but the two middle ones now include the rail systems of four other mills that have closed in the last 20 years.
Multi-pair Com-Engs at Tully Mill receiving attention in readiness for the 2012 crush.
The South Johnstone Mill out-depot at Silkwood houses locomotives the the crushing season. This slack it is being used to store most of the mill's underutilised brake wagons.
A roster eager and ready for the new crushing season at South Johnstone.
These "canetainers" once used for road transport cane at South Johnstone Mill are now stored out of use at the old Goondi Mill site.
South Johnstone's Clyde 15 (ex Mourilyan Mill) with a ballast train for relaying work at Miriwinni, south of Babinda.
Close by was South Johnstone's Model STM-XLC Tamper. Note the concrete sleepers.
The well-appointed workshop at the closed Babinda Mill is expected to close in a few weeks time when the 2012 crush commences.
In 2012, cane from Babinda will be crushed at Mulgrave Mill and this stretch of line at "Bundy Loop" where the line from Babinda connects with the Mulgrave Mill network is being relaid.
All is quiet at the moment but what a contrast it will be when the maintenance work is finished and the lines buzzing in just a few weeks.
- ▼ 2012 (43)