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Emu Bay

The Emu Bay Railway had a number of things to endear it to me. There's the name itself for one thing: in a nation where railways were once dominated by Such and Such Government Railways, to the bland corporate names of today which seem too ashamed to proclaim their rail business, the mellifluous Emu Bay Railway has a rare association with its immediate geography. Then there were family trips on the mixed trains the railway used to operate from the mines to the coast. More recently, at least until the guards vans were dropped, it maintained a willingness to welcome travellers on the daily ore trains, even if the accommodation was rather sparse and the timetable less than passenger friendly. It had a brace of snappy looking diesel hydraulics as its motive power, and it projected an air of well-maintained efficiency, especially compared to parts of the Tasrail of the era! It evolved an operating pattern where but one daily train sufficed, all sixty odd wagons wrapped around the mountains, led by up to nine locos! And of course the scenery provided many opportunities for finding spectacular settings.

All the while, it quietly went about its business of bringing the ores of the west coast to the port of Burnie on the Emu Bay, usually unremarked but for the citizens of the handful of towns it ran through.

The photos shown here were all taken in the mid 1980s, before the opening of the extension to the new mine at Hellyer. Today the railway continues to function in much the same way, although the vans are gone, the mine at Hellyer has closed, and the name itself has been overtaken by the railway's absorption into Tasrail. Its attraction remains powerful!