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


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Mackay Sugar 11 February 2016

Just a quick visit to Mackay enabled me to find a few sugar industry off season maintenance tasks going on.

One task is putting all the bins from the three mills through routine greasing and checking at Pleystowe. Farleigh Mill's turn to participate in this process began today with Walkers B-B DH DULVERTON making the initial run from Pleystowe with 160 bins that had already been serviced. It would later return with a rake of bins from Farleigh. Up to 200 bins can be serviced in a day at Pleystowe, so it is quite a job to keep up the supply.

DULVERTON eases its load across Mandurana Road
The large radio-controlled bogie brake wagon makes up the rear off the rake.
The line from Pleystowe to Farleigh includes the steep Church Hill (1 in 25). This photo shows the gradient with the locomotive out of sight over the crest and the brake wagon yet to commence its ascent.
Meanwhile, Clyde 0-6-0DH DEVEREUX was out on Marian Mill's Mia Mia line with the track welding train. Just as on main line railways, many mills are eliminating fishplate joints to help reduce maintenance costs.

On the intensively-used main line south of Racecourse Mill, two Plasser track machines were in use.
Plasser Model KMX-12T TTAMP5 (built 1990) 
Plasser ballast regulator BREG1, built 1982
Eric Gibson's ex Farleigh Mill Avonside 0-4-0T is still stored under cover on Gibson's Road, behind Racecourse Mill.

Avonside 1909 of 1922. This type came to Queensland after two earlier ones ordered by South African sugar mills were commandeered by the British Government during World War I, ending up at Farleigh Mill after the war.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

New Zealand January 2016 - 7. Blenheim Riverside Railway

The Blenheim Riverside Railway is a superb new 2ft gauge line that has been developed over the last 30 years. It runs 5.5km from Brayshaw Heritage Park to the heart of Blenheim alongside the Taylor River. An 800m branch to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre and Omaka Classic Cars was recently opened in 2015.

The railway makes Blenheim unique as a 2ft gauge railway centre worldwide. There is nothing quite like this anywhere else.

At Brayshaw Park Station, the main loco working currently is GEORGE, 4wDH A&G Price 166 of 1951, built in Thames, New Zealand for the Ohai State Coal Mine.

B-B DH ONAHAU - 1145 DH3443 - was donated to the railway. It was built in a Picton shipyard in the 1990s for service on a now defunct private railway in the Marlborough Sounds. Too slow for passenger work, it is the preferred locomotive for maintenance trains.

Maintenance vehicles coupled to ONAHAU in the spacious shed.

This rotary grass cutter built by the railway is reminiscent of larger versions once used on Queensland sugar cane railways.

WW 7443, a converted ex-NZR jigger

This is a Ruston & Hornsby 20DL 4wDM, believed to be 202969 of 1940. It had a varied history in the UK, receiving its steam outline for use at the Cotswold Wildlife Park. It came to New Zealand in 1984 and was purchased for the railway in 2011. It is currently being equipped for passenger use.

'Donald' was built as a 0-4-0T in 1901, almost certainly by the Glasgow Railway Engineering Co Ltd. It worked at the Puponga coal mines until 1930 and was then dumped. Rescued in 1989, it has been a long-term rebuilding project. Converted to an oil-burning 0-4-2T to make it suitable for passenger use, it should return to steam during 2016.

MURRAY is Ruston & Hornsby 170204 of 1934, converted from 2ft 6in gauge. It worked at Milburn Lime & Cement and is currently the backup passenger train loco.

RM1 is a B-B DH railcar built by the railway in 1992 and available to handle light services or operate shuttles on the Omaka branch on busy days.

The railway runs alongside the Taylor River through parkland. This is just past Eckford's Engineering Corner as the line approaches central Blenheim

The train passes below High Street at the Alfred Bridge and joins the River Board Walk at Leeds Quay

Beaver Station terminus alongside the river quay in central Blenheim

On returning to Brayshaw Park, GEORGE runs around its train in readiness for its run up the Omaka branch, opened in 2015

The Omaka branch crosses a bridge over the Taylor River constructed by the Marlborough District Council

Train at Omaka Station ready to return to Brayshaw Park

Climbing up from the river bridge on the return journey to Brayshaw Park

Friday, February 19, 2016

New Zealand January 2016. 6 - 2ft gauge lines: Ferrymead, Charleston, Denniston

2ft-gauge railways were never numerous in New Zealand, but there is plenty of interest in those that exist today.

There is a 2ft gauge railway at Ferrymead Heritage Park near Christchurch, with its track currently under reconstruction. It has two 'Planet' diesels (locked in the shed) and other rolling stock from Dominion Salt, Grasmere.

Galvanised salt wagons from Dominion Salt on display at the Ferrymead 2ft gauge railway.

The remains of a CSR steel cane truck from Fiji.
Parts of the Clyde Engineering first class carriage from the Fiji Free Train.
Other sections and the bogies from this car are stored nearby.

An interesting crane

At Charleston, on the west coast, Norwest Adventures run a cave rafting attraction on the Nile River. An adjunct to this is the Nile River Rainforest Train which runs along an attractive limestone gorge, a location for the BBC's 2001 "Lost World" TV movie.
The main locomotive is a steam outline diesel-hydraulic rebuilt from a Greenwood & Batley 4wBE loco (2280 of 1950).
Travelling through the Nile River Gorge

The second locomotive is CECIL, this time with a petrol engine.
It was also rebuilt from a battery loco, Wingrove & Rogers 795 of 1931.

Denniston is situated at the top of a high plateau near Westport. It was the home of a number of coal mines linked by rope-powered 2ft gauge wagonways to the top of the famous Denniston incline. This was actually two inclines, up which NZR coal wagons were hauled to be loaded with coal.

The 'Denniston Experience' is a tourist attraction featuring a 2ft gauge railway running along the side of a gorge on the trackbed of one of the old waggonways and into the Banbury Mine which first produced coal in 1880.

Old coal tubs half buried near the incline head.

The locomotive in use is heavily rebuilt Greenwood & Batley 2281 of 1950.

The train awaiting to depart from the station.

600 metres up, the Denniston Plateau was wreathed in mist.
The line snakes around the escarpment above a deep gorge.
The mine entrance. The train travels a short distance inside.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

New Zealand January 2016. 5 - Ex New Zealand Railways locomotives

Many former New Zealand Railways locomotives have been preserved because they had passed into industrial use. Many NZR locomotives were suitable for industrial operators because of their small size and NZR purchased numbers of locomotives of industrial design. Again, a significant degree of variety is to be seen.

One of the the first 3ft 6in gauge locomotives to be put into service in New Zealand was this double Fairlie built by Vulcan Foundry (637 of 1872), on the Dunedin and Port Chalmers railway.
It was sold to the Public Works Department in 1900 and has been preserved since 1926.
It takes pride of place at the entrance of the Toitū Otago Settlers Museum in Dunedin.

This small Dübs 0-4-0T A67, (647 of 1873) was sold into industrial service in 1897, serving a succession of enterprises until presented to the Ocean Beach Railway in Dunedin by Milburn Cement in 1967.
 It is currently under overhaul. 
NZR L508 was a 2-4-0T built by Avonside in 1877 (builder's number 1206) and it passed to the Public Works Department in 1901 and then to Wilson's (NZ) Portland Cement in 1931.
It is operational at Shantytown.

This small 0-4-0T was built by EW Mills in Wellington (3 of 1875) and only worked on the government railway for a short period, passing to the Public Works Department and a variety of industrial users.
It is on static display at Shantytown.

This delightful Neilson 2-4-0T (2306 of 1878) was numbered D16 in NZR service.
In 1917, it passed to the NZ Refrigerating Company and is now preserved in working order at the Pleasant Point Railway near Timaru..

This 1878 Single Fairle, R28 (Avonside 1217 of 1878) was used by the Timaru Harbour Board and a coal mine near Reefton. It has been on display at Reefton since 1959.

A classic British diesel of the inter-war years, TR18 was built for Drewry by English Electric at the Dick Kerr works in Preston (913 of 1936) and remained in NZR service until going to the Pleasant Point Railway in 1983.

A most undignified fate. NZR and industrial users had numbers of these Drewry designed diesels from Vulcan Foundry and Robert Stephenson and Hawthorn  
Ex-NZR Ds214 (Vulcan Foundry (D161 of 1952) is displayed at 'Steampunk HQ' at Oamaru. Put a coin in the slot and it 'spits fire and billows smoke'. 

This superbly presented Hunslet 0-6-0DM, Dsa262 (4699 of 1957) operates trains at Founders Historical Park, Nelson. 
It came here ex NZR in 1985.

Local builder A & G Price produced small shunting units for NZR. Tr107 (176 of 1957) came to Shantytown from NZR in 2005.

Bagnall 0-4-0DM Tr156 (3105 of 1957) came to the Ferrymead Railway in 1998 from NZR.

The following are two of the three locomotives in industrial service on the South Island.

Bo-Bo DE DSC2067 works at the Alliance Group's Pukeuri meatworks near Oamaru, and is British Thompson Houston 1071 of 1959. 
It was sold out of NZR service in 1991.

Westland Dairy products at Hokitika operates 0-4-0DM Tr169 (A & G Price 193 of 1960), purchased from NZR in 2006. 

New Zealand January 2016. 4 - Industrial internal combustion

New Zealand had an interesting variety of 3ft 6in gauge industrial internal combustion locomotives, and a sample is shown here.

A&T Burt of Dunedin built bush locomotives but also produced this Fordson shunter for Milburn Lime & Cement in 1926. It is now at the Ocean Beach Railway, Dunedin.

Hudswell Clarke built a dozen of these diesels for the New Zealand Public Works Department in 1936. Some later went to the Army, including this one, builder's number D592, now in a park at Leeston south of Christchurch.

A&G Price of Thames built this very basic 0-4-0DM, 150 of 1944, for the New Zealand Air Force. It is now preserved at Steam Scene near Christchurch.

Also at Steam Scene is this FC Hibberd "Planet" 4wDM (3602 of 1954), supplied to the New Zealand Ministry of Works.

Ruston & Hornsby Model LBT 387808 of 1955 was also supplied to the New Zealand Ministry of Works and is now at the Pleasant Point Railway near Timaru.

A narrow gauge Ruston & Hornsby 48DS, 458956 of 1961.
This was supplied to the Canterbury Frozen Meat Co and is seen here in a playground at Woodend, north of Christchurch.