|nnn||I had the extreme good fortune to be
able to take the best part of four month's long service leave in the first
half of 2006. Most of the time was very much domestic routine, but I did
manage to get a few escapes for some photography. While I'd been able to
use the odd day here and there up to about 2005 for rail photography, most
of those trips had been south (see
Uniform Gauge Line 2). Meanwhile,
I had almost completely ignored the QR west of Ipswich. My extended leave
was a good way to redress the balance.
Last time I was out that way, the Western line was pretty sleepy, with mostly grain and just one coal train a day. You could go a long way before seeing a train. I'd heard though that it was much busier in recent years on account of increased coal, so it was time to have a look for myself. I was also keen to see one of the apple trains from the Granite Belt while I was on leave if I got the chance - I knew they were only every couple of weeks or so in the season, but given they were on borrowed time they were a definite target. Another possibility was the molasses trains that run from north Queensland to feedlots on the Darling Downs. To add to the mix, the old staple of grain may be present, although I was not expecting to see much on account of the seemingly never-ending drought.
This gallery shows a couple of early forays, then looks at a tuition train to Brookstead, shows an apple train and provides a hint of what will follow in further galleries.