Viewed in a Different Light

Its busy on the Savannahlander route at this time of year, with well patronised trains mixing with a few charter services, the old Etheridge Branch can be a lively place. A charter unit is normally stored at Mt Surprise this time of year, as most of the charter trip centre around that town. However, last week, the boys on the train needed to borrow the charter unit to help the scheduled train home, due to one of rail cars suffering mechanical issues with its final drive. So all three cars returned to Cairns on the Saturday run from Mt Surprise, but there was still a charter to run from Forsayth on the following Tuesday. Normally, the crew would drive out to Mt Surprise by road, and take the charter unit over to Forsayth on the day before the trip. But with the unit back in Cairns, we had to change our plans pretty quickly. Due to the time and distance equations, a trip cannot be done out to Forsayth in a single hit, so this meant on Sunday, the charter unit had to be sent back to Mt Surprise, so that it could pick up it’s scheduled run on to Forsayth on Monday.

Normally, when escaping from Cairns, we head out through Kuranda before the tourist trains, but on this Sunday, there was an added complication of some boys from ASSCO (Australian Association of Section Car Operators)who  were running between Dimbulah and Mt Surpise. To save getting stuck behind them (they are long sections out there) we decided to depart after the second tourist train. This meant an evening arrival into Mt Surprise.

When travelling on a familiar route, at an unfamiliar time, you see things differently because of the different light. You also have a bit of time have a look around while travelling without passengers. This post is a bit of a photo essay about some of the sites that were seen on that trip, and also on the run over to Forsayth on Monday.

First thing we noticed was that it was actually green in the normally bone dry and arid Almaden. Unseason rain had been through a week previously, giving the place a lush green appearance.

Later that Afternoon, we passed through the Devils playground, with the low sun lighting up the eastern escarpments in rich light. Further down the track, the sun had set, and the colours of the dusk, with the rising moon, simply had to be captured.

We met up with the ASSCO boys in Mt Surprise, and next morning, grabbed a couple of photos of them as they departed on their return journey to Dimbulah. Later that day, we cam across a new level crossing and took a moment to admire the engineering standards that were achieved when the passive protection was installed.

On close to the end of the trip, Rob nearly put me thought the windscreen, such was the force of his brake application. Glad he did, because a big Sand Goanna had lumbered into the track and decided to have a bit of a rest.

Images in the Gallery….