More Stations Coming On Line

More stations are going to be built on the Savannahlander line.

Well, not really built as such, but certainly ‘designated’.

To explain this let’s get a little technical. To most people, when they think of station as it applies to a railway line, they think of platforms, associated buildings to house the waiting room, ticket office etc. Which is not actually incorrect. However up this way, a station is more likely a yard or a siding that splits up a ‘section’ so that trains can pass or cross, or so that a number of trains can be working between two major destinations.  As things stand at the moment, once we get out beyond Mutchilba,  there are some very long sections on the Savannahlander line that make it difficult to obtain a satisfactory level of operational efficiency. The sections that currently exist between Mutchilba and Forsayth are:

  • Mutchilba – Almaden at 89 kms long
  • Almaden – Mt Surprise at 108 km long
  • Mt Surprise to Forsayth at 122 km long

Safeworking rules mean that you can only have one train on each of these sections at a time.  So if we want to sent a charter unit out to Forsayth from Mt Suprise on a  Friday, it cannot depart Mt Surprise until after the scheduled Savannahlander arrives at 2.15 PM.  It also restricts things like track machines working on a section if the train is on it, and some of these sections can take five hours to run over.

Many of these problems will be resolved by splitting each of the above sections by re-instating old stations as ‘ordinary staff’ stations. A staff is not an employee in this case, but a token that gives the train authority to be on the section between two stations. Once a train has crossed a section and arrive at the ‘station’, they replace the staff for the previous section with a new staff for the section ahead.

The new stations will be at:

  • Lappa – Between Mutchilba and Almaden. There is an actual station building here, and this was previously a staff station back in the early 90’s. Up until the early 60’s, this was also a junction station for the branchline to Mt Garnet. A loop line still exists here, and will be available to cross (or pass) track machines or other railmotors.
  • Bullock Creek – Between Almaden and Mt Surprise.  This was once the site of a fettlers (track maintainers) camp and was also a staff station. Remnants of the loop exist to this day as a dead end siding. The siding will be available to cross track machines etc. Bullock Creek is also where we stop for morning tea on Thursday and Saturday.
  • Einasleigh – Between Mt Surprise and Forsayth. Once a significant station on the line, the station building still exists and is maintained by a contractor on our behalf. A siding, loop line and angle still exist. The train stops here for half an hour each visit. The Angle will be available for turning railmotors and crossings

We look forward to the final implementation of the new stations, as do the track repair gangs out on the line. These improvements will provide a greater level of safety for them, and allow us some flexibility in the charter services. This work, which involves erecting signs and communicating the changes, should be complete later this year.

Einasleigh Station

Einasleigh Station

Bullock Creek

Bullock Creek

Another view of Bullock Creek

Another view of Bullock Creek

A few passengers milling around at Lappa

A few passengers milling around at Lappa