AUSTRALIA....the smaller bits....QUEENSLAND


A small selection of railway photographs mostly taken on the lines to the north and west of Cairns during 2004 and 2006. All lines depicted are 3' 6" (1067mm) gauge unless otherwise stated.



Savannahlander at Redlynch, at the bottom of the Cairns Range
Queensland Railways run tourist trains from Cairns to Kuranda every day. The only other regular passenger service is the remarkable weekly four-day round trip into the outback provided by the privately-operated Savannahlander, leaving Cairns on Wednesday morning and returning on Saturday evening. On 3rd May 2006, the 2000 Class railmotor units making up the train stand at Redlynch awaiting clearance to commence the steep and spectacular climb up the Cairns Range.

Lappa, high in the Featherbed Range, was the original terminus of the line west of Mareeba, and was once the junction for the branch to Mt. Magnet
Once a busy junction, Lappa is now virtually derelict, though on a damp and misty day in May 2006 the yard rails are all still in situ. The building on the left is the grandly-named Español Hotel, opened in 1901. Sadly, it has no liquor licence these days, you must take your own beer!


Almaden, July 2004, with the Savannahlander taking  the Etheridge line to Forsayth
The town of Almaden was another important junction on the routes west of Cairns. The line in the foreground leads to Chillagoe and Mungana, though services are currently 'suspended'. After an overnight stop, the railmotor takes the southern curve of the triangle onto the Etheridge line, en route for the terminus at Forsayth. The date is July, 2004 - compare this view with the next photo....


Almaden, May 2006. The now disused former main line to Mungana and Chillagoe is in the foreground. The weekly Savannahlander is commencing the 142-mile journey to Mt. Surprise, Einasleigh and Forsayth
Almaden in May 2006, after a good wet. Originally constructed and worked by The Chillagoe Railway and Mines Company, the main line from Mareeba to Mungana was just over 100 miles long. The branch line from Almaden to Forsayth, commonly known as the Etheridge line, is 142 miles long. The entire operation was taken over by Queensland Government Railways in 1919.


Savannahlander and a QR spoil train at Kuranda
On the evening of Saturday 6th May 2006, 1752 and 1773 stand shut down in Kuranda yard at the head of a spoil train. The Savannahlander railmotor on the right is about to run down the range to Cairns on the last leg of the return journey.

QR 1720 class, Kuranda
1773 again, showing more clearly the current Queensland Railways livery. This replaced an attractive blue and white scheme that had graced QR locos for four decades.

Bundaberg Fowler and Baguley at Crispins, on the Balley Hooley  line, Port Douglas
The Douglas Shire Tramway once ran between Port Douglas and Mossman. Though the line has long since been incorporated into the extensive 2-foot gauge tramway which conveys sugarcane to the crushing mill at Mossman, a section of the system is now used by the Bally Hooley Steam Railway, which operates a tourist service at Port Douglas. In May 2006, Bundaberg Fowler 0-6-2T Speedy (No.6 of 1952) and Baguley 0-6-0DM Mowbray (3378 of 1954) prepare to leave the southern terminus at Crispins. The doubleheading was a precaution as Speedy was being steamed for the first time after repairs.

South African steam at Kuranda
Cairns Kuranda Steam operated a steam-hauled service between Freshwater (Cairns) and Kuranda for a while, using ex-South African Railways 24 class 2-8-4 No. 3620. Built by North British in 1949, whilst in Queensland this engine was required to carry class No. 0401 in order that Control did not confuse it with a QR electric locomotive! Sadly, the service was not a financial success and was discontinued shortly after this photo was taken. Here, 3620 stands at the eastern end of Kuranda yard prior to hauling the afternoon return working down the range. 1st August 2004.

Two of the QR 1720 class Cairns - Kuranda regulars show off their special liveries
One of the two daily QR tour trains, running Cairns-Kuranda and return, is seen standing in the loop at Kuranda on 1st August 2004. The colourful paint scheme is worn by four of the Comeng-built Clyde Engineering 1720 class regularly diagrammed to work this service - 1734 and 1771 are seen here, the other two being 1751 and 1774.

Walkers 11 class, ex-Emu Bay 1105, at Beaudesert
Over the years, Walkers of Maryborough built large numbers of locomotives based on their basic four-axle diesel hydraulic design. In 1970, seven went to the privately-owned Emu Bay Railway in Tasmania, where they were hugely successful as that railway's 11 class. Following withdrawal in 2002, No.1105 was sold to the Beaudesert Railway in South Queensland, where it is seen shunting on 16th July 2004. This line is now closed and 1105 is the property of the Cairns Kuranda Steam/Savannahlander organisation, who also own sister locomotive 1101.

C17 967, Beaudesert
The first of the QR C17 class appeared in 1920. The design proved so satisfactory that construction continued until 1953. No.967 was built by Walkers in 1950, and is pictured at Beaudesert on 16th July 2004. Earlier locomotives of the class had a straight-sided cab, later engines being equipped with the stepped-out 'sedan' style seen here.
The original design was also adopted by the Commonwealth Railways as their NM class, becoming the mainstay of services on the Central Australia Railway to Alice Springs.
Following the cessation of Beaudesert operations, 967 was sold to the Mary Valley Heritage Railway at Gympie.
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