|nnn||I have to confess I have had an interest
in the fruit industry up on the Granite belt for many year - quite possibly
as a result of spending my first twenty five years in Tasmania. Whatever,
the fruit trains were an interesting working. For many years they really
were a six-day-a-week institution. There were many worse ways to spend a
Sunday than chasing the train on its leisurely journey from Wallangarra working
many of the fruit sidings, as it collected the fruit for tomorrow's fruit
market in Rocklea. Then things changed. The table fruit was lost to road
leaving only low quality fruit to be taken for juicing at the Golden Circle
cannery at Northgate. Indeed, the fruit was such low quality it could be
moved in bulk using a rake of converted coal hoppers. Frequency dropped too,
with it running just weekly as required.
Unforgivably, I had allowed many of the changes to go unrecorded. News of the impending demise of the train altogether, plus some long service leave in 2006, at least allowed me to see one of the trains, with an expectation that would be it for me. The train however lingered a few months until it was clear that there would be no more past March 2007. Committed to doing the train some justice I ended up watching the last three services run and I am very glad I did.
This gallery starts with a couple of the "old" train, then moves on to show some images of the train in its last days up on the Granite Belt. I do have to share one loss - and that is that I have no images of the train through Brisbane - mainly because train chasing in the suburbs has little appeal.