More Diesel Recordings
Mackay Soujourns

My work gives me numerous "opportunities" to travel, and on this occasion I found myself in Mackay for the weekend in late September 2007.  After I had finished doing a bit of work on the Saturday (aren't motel rooms just so much fun...), I managed to get out and do a bit of chasing of diesels on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.  First encounter was an unrebuilt 2470 class GM product, 2497D, coming off the branch line to the Harbour and back onto the main with a rake of empty bulk sugar wagons

                  (Click on the icon to listen128kbs stereo 1.2MB 1 min 18 secs)
A bit further north, at The Leap, is one of the last bits of up hill before dropping down to the flood plains around Mackay.  Right on dusk, a PNQ train is heard racing over the hill and down into the Pioneer River valley.  You can hear both the town and country horns used on these locos and notice that even in run 8, the engine is very quiet.  Not the most ideal subject for sound recordings...

                 (Click on the icon to listen 128kbs stereo 1.3MB 1 min 24 secs)
After a couple of months, I was back in Mackay to present at a conference at Airlie Beach, about 130km north of Mackay.  Well I packed the sound recorder, as the trip back to Mackay paralleled the North Coast line most of the way.  I managed to catch up with a freight headed south, powered by both 2182D and 2479.  The first place I caught them was Calen, but the recording wasn't all that great, so managed to get in front of the train again by the time I arrived at Kolijo (thanks to a speed restriction).  Here you can listen to the two GMs notching up after passing the temporary reduction on 23 November 2007 

                 (Click on the icon to listen 128kbs stereo 1.4MB 1 min 31 secs).
At The Leap crossing loop, the train pulled up to be crossed by GE product 2840 heading northbound.  Once 2840 had cleared, the two GMs were off again heading up over the hill (the same hill that PN005 headed over in the recording above) and into Mackay 

                 (Click on the icon to listen 128kbs stereo 1.7MB 1 min 49 secs).
I had expected 2840 to keep going straight through the loop, but a points failure meant that it was held there.  Not that I was dissappointed, as it meant that I could get down the other end of the loop and hopefully catch it departing.  The points failure looked like it was going to cause further delays, but someone in Control must have been thinking outside the box and after 2182 and 2479 had cleared the section at the other end of the loop, 2840 reversed the whole train back towards Mackay then came through the side that the other two had recently vacated.  This allowed 2840 and her train to go through the failed points on the northern end that were still set for that road.  Clever thinking 99!  Have a listen to 2840 reversing her train back up the bank towards The Leap. 

                    (Click on the icon to listen 128kbs stereo 1.4MB 1 min 34 secs)
I was supposed to depart early on election day (24 November 2007), not because I needed to do some last minute campaigning, but because QANTAS decided to cancel my flight home (thanks guys!).  With a few hours to kill before my next flight, and having a hire car, I decided to go hunt for some rail orientated internal combustion.  This time, I wanted to catch some sugar cane tramway (oh, sorry, railway now) action and managed to come across Lacy, heading back to her home at Pleystowe Mill with over 100 bins of freshly cut cane.  Listen to her crossing over the road about 1km south of the mill. 

                   (Click on the icon to listen 128kbs stereo 1.1MB 1 min 15 secs)
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Coalie at Victoria Tunnel

While heading to the recording spot for the Carnival of Flowers Tour on 20 September 2008, we caught 2330 (ex 2400) and 2311 (ex 1551) heading up hill just near the tunnel with 9D58, an empty Macalister coal train (thanks for the extra info Chris). 
Photo by my lad Connor (age 7)

                   (Click on the icon to listen 128kbs stereo 1.5MB 1 min 40 secs) 

A Trip to New Zealand

Back in December 2007, I was fortunate to head to New Zealand for work and ended up with a day to chase trains.  So, given that I was in Christchurch, and remembering that when I was over there on holidays in 2003 there were a few coal trains that ran over Arthurs Pass, I decided to try my luck on the Midland Line (which runs from Christchurch via Arthurs Pass to Greymouth).  As I was heading down the highway towards the turnoff to Springfield and Greymouth, I spotted a short passenger train.  Now I knew this one wasn't the TransAlpine, as I hadn't woken up early enough to catch that one, so it looked like a charter.  After just catching up to it at Rolleston, where the Midland line branches of from the line south, I noticed another headlight in the distance, so waited near the level crossing to see a double headed DX powered empty coalie taking the junction towards Greymouth.

                   (Click on the icon to listen 128kbps stereo 1.1MB 1 min 11 secs)
After a bit of a bash along a dirt road, I caught the two GEs again near Sheffield, headed by DX 5327 and 5264

                   (Click on the icon to listen 128kbps stereo 1.0 MB 1 min 3 secs)

A bit further down the road is Springfield station, and I had managed to get ahead of the special passenger train.  It was headed by one of the passenger versions of the DC class General Motors products.  The train stopped for a few minutes at Springfield, then headed off to tackle the climb up to Cass and Arthurs Pass.  Here is how it sounded leaving Springfield.

                   (Click on the icon to listen 128kbps stereo 1.3 MB 1 min 40 secs)
Sitting right behind the passenger train waiting for access to the loop was the coal train I recorded earlier.  After it had arrived and sat idling for a few minutes at Springfield, the section ahead cleared and the two big GE's roared their train out of town.

                   (Click on the icon to listen 128kbps stereo 1.4 MB 1 min 53 secs)
I headed up the highway then thinking that I should be able to beat the passenger train to Cass, which is where the highway again comes close to the railway line, after both are separated for around 40 km.  Well, that was not to be, as the coal train had even beaten me there.  That was actually a bonus, as it crossed a loaded coal train heading down to Christchurch, so here is the sound of another pair of DX's, led by DX 5402.  What a roar!

                   (Click on the icon to listen 128kbps stereo 2.1 MB 2 min 15 secs)
On arriving at Arthurs Pass, the special passenger train had detrained its passengers and had turned ready to return home empty cars.  After a while, it departed back down towards Springfield and Christchurch, so I chased it for a while, getting some nice pictures of it against the backdrop of the huge mountains of the pass.  Just past Cass, I found a level crossing on the uphill out of the station, so here is the GM really flying home.

                   (Click on the icon to listen 128kbps stereo 1.4 MB 1 min 53 secs)