Turkeys on the flat

This post comes to us from one of our drivers who had more that a little reason to be annoyed this week:

This week was the first week of the Delaney Gorge closure, and is the first of many where the Savannahlander will be terminating short of Forsayth. We rang train control from Almaden on Thursday morning and were told that the track gang had a stop board at the 213.500 km mark on the Wirra Wirra – Forsayth section. We were given authority to the 213.450 km which is a good spot for us. It allows us to unload passengers at the nice flat clearing at the top of Turkey Flat and they then have a short bus ride down the sealed road to Forsayth. It also allows us to stow the railmotors so they are not visible from the road. The bus was organised, we had authority to Turkey flat – we were on track (pun intended) for a smooth bustitution at Turkey Flat…

Stop board at Turkey Flat

We got to the top of the Newcastle range and came across a 15km/hr speed restriction at the same place as last week. Last week it was long, excruitatingly long. The project gang have replaced the sleepers but not secured them to the rail so the track is only being held together by every second sleeper. Now we don’t mind a speed restriction for safety reasons but going at 15 km/hr for a long time can really become tedious. It turns out the speed restriction is now 18 km long! That’s well over an hour going at 15km/hr! We finally came to the end of the speed restriction and arrived at Turkey Flat.

We came across a stop board at 213km. To our dismay (and anger) some one had decided to extend their work site by 500 metres without telling us or (more importantly) train control. This meant that instead of unloading our passengers at a nice flat area with easy access to the bus and little in the way of obstructions on the ground for our walking stick toting customers, we had this:

A big drop

A less than ideal platform

We got our passengers away and then set back a couple of kilometres to stow the railmotors. After a number of conversations with various levels of officialdom, it became apparent that no-one was willing to accept responsibility. All we know for sure is that it was embarrassing for us and certainly not our customers fault! Stay tuned for further updates.