We left Cairns station @ 6.30am & headed up the Kuranda Range. After a quick stop at Barron Falls we arrived at Kuranda Station for a pit stop.
Mutchabilla for morning tea & a short stop at Dimbulah Station before proceeding to Almaden & the Railway Hotel for a beer & a very ordinary lunch.
We arrived at Chillagoe & had a look around. Who’d have thought that there are over 18 marble quarries in the region. Had a look at the old smelting works site dating back to 1902 (lead, copper, zinc). It closed in 1948 not making a profit in any year of its production.
Off to Chillagoe caves for the tour & then a great meal at Chillagoe Cabins which also was our accommodation for the night.
Also got to meet Dave the Plesiosaur whose bones were found in the area. He doesnt look too bad for being 110 Milliion years old
A little about the railine & the train. The line was built in stages by the Chillagoe Railway & Mining Company beginning in 1898 & finally finishing at Forsayth in 1911. It was origanally planned to be extended to Croydon to join up with the line to Normanton (Gulflander). WW1 & cost blow outs stopped this. The QLD Govt took over the line in 1919. Six B15 class locos were origanally used on the line. After the mines finished the line was used mainly for cattle trains & sugar up until 1980. Because of the small rails used (22kg) & the condition of the track a small diesel engine (DL Class) was developed for the line on the 1930’s. These were some of the first diesel locos in Australia. The line is now only used for the Savannahlander.
108138: Rockhampton Shunter B15con 290
The Savannahlander uses a number of Railmotors. The one we were on was 2028. It was built in 1963 at Ipswich Railway Workshops & were predominatly used in the Brisbane suburbs up until the early 1990’s. Externally it is still the same but has had new engines installed & has been changed internally.
Back on the train the next day for morning tea at Bullock Creek. As you can see there is very little to see 🙂
Arrive at Einasleigh for a beer at the pub which has owners who had only been there for a day.
Straight accross the road is the Copperfield Gorge.
Then onto the end of the line at Forsayth. The next day back to Einasleigh & then Mt Surprise for a visit to Undara National Park & the Lava Tubes which were spectacular.
Stayed @ Bedrock Village in Mt Surprise for the night & then the last day back to Cairns.
Lots of things to see along the track
Overall a good trip helping some struggling businesses because of COVID. We acknowledge that these businesses are struggling with the current COVID restrictions and loss of staff, however a couple of places could have been a little friendlier.
Met a couple of nice people. Hope to see you again Chooky & Elke.