Thursday, January 20, 2011

Premiere Post-diurnal Coal Train

9E 00

One week after the flood hit, and about three months before the line to Toowoomba can be reopened, the railway decided to resume the West Moreton coal trains by servicing a small coal mine near Rosewood.

As Rosewood is the westernmost station in Brisbane's suburban rail system -- and the track damage was further west, in the Lockyer Valley -- the resumption of coal trains to this mine was not unexpected.

Although there is a low-level and flood-prone rail bridge about half-way along the branch line, crossing the Bremer River, which makes taking trains to this mine an "interesting" task in the rainy season.

And, a week after the floods, there were a line of heavy thunderstorms upstream of this bridge.

Would we make it?


Sign-on time (which meant our train was due out at 10:45).

We were detained in the station for as long as possible whilst the powers above determined if the bridge was still above water.

It was, so we went out to Train 9E 00 to find it was facing the wrong way.

So we had to take it through the Fisherman Islands Railway Yard and back before we could leave -- 20 minutes after schedule.

The line at Moolabin (behind the Rocklea Markets) was submerged during the floods, and the railways weren't too sure if it was recommissioned yet.

If it wasn't, then we would have to go into the city, wind on 41 sets of handbrakes in the rain, put our locos on the other end of the train, release 41 sets of handbrakes in the rain, and head out to the mine.

Not something that we were all that keen on doing, so it was with relief when we saw that the signal controlling the triangle between Buranda, Dutton Park and Park Road stations was taking us left.

No hassles going through the suburbs, and as we didn't lose any more time we got to the mine 20 minutes behind schedule.

The water in the Bremer River was about a metre below the bridge.

No great hassles loading, and we left the mine at around 3:40am.

The water in the Bremer river was now at the level of the bridge.

The next train to the mine -- 9E 02 -- was stopped at Goodna waiting for trackworkers to finish their trackwork ahead of the train.

9E 02 never got to the mine.

They spent six hours parked on the branchline waiting for another couple of locomotives to come out and haul them back to Fisherman Islands.

The river had risen above the bridge and covered about 500 metres of track in the 90 minutes between our crossing the river and 9E 02 getting there.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Aftermath: First Day

The water is going down today, and the flood was not quite as bad as expected in Brisbane.

It still was bad. Over 10,000 homes flooded. The city centre was evacuated. The port was closed.

And Brisbane's lazy, muddy namesake river turned into a roaring mountain stream for a couple of days.