The railway line runs from Stirling North, where it crosses territory managed by the Australian Rail Track Corporation, to Leigh Creek, about 250km or 160 miles, north, in the Flinders Ranges.
One train each way each day runs on this corridor, carrying coal from Leigh Creek to a power station at Port Augusta. These trains, loaded carry 12,500 tonnes.
The run was managed by Train Control in Adelaide, and communication was via satellite mobile phone.
The railway was originally a narrow gauge line, part of which is still in use as a tourist railway by Pichi Richi Railway. The standard gauge track was built in the mid 1950's by the then Commonwealth Railways. The standard and narrow gauge routes follow each other from around Brachina, although the narrow gauge track went years ago. This line fed into the old narrow gauge Central Australia Railway, the Old 'Ghan route.
This was a huge learning exercise for ASSCO. and helped it to refine its expertise in managing its operations.
Don Smith makes the most of the run. Don was once a Roadmaster, and ran these confounded things daily. He's retired now, and if he had the chance, he'd still run them daily. He sat on the ASSCO committee for a number of years, and made a significant contribution to the developement of its systems, its understanding of the railway environment, and issues associated with worker competency.
Nics' M19 and Denis' TIC at Wilcatana
Supervisor, John Charlesworth, rings into Train Control on a Sat Phone. We worked under TC16's as we had "heavy" track machines. That is they could not be lifted off the line quickly and easily. Photo taken at Wilcatana on the way up, ready for a two hour wait for the Coal Train!.
All lined up safely in Wilcatana Yard. L-R Comeng Gang Car, Fairmont A5, NSWGR TIC, and an ex CR M19
Nic accepts from Chuck Lee, representing the Board of Directors, a plaque from NARCOA commemorating our first run, and our position as First International Affiliate of NARCOA. "Speedering" is now a truely International Hobby
Chuck is our first Member from outside Australia, and had also the privilege of being the first to ride with us.
In Memory of Chuck, who passed away September 2010
Beltana Yard. The sun is setting and the train is coming. John rang in and found out we were being put into the hole. Took the time for dinner, a chat and a snooze.
0640, Both Frank and Nic have high blood pressure, but John calmly collects the TC16 to get us under way. This photo was slightly out of focus, but seems to have come up OK with the scanner.
Having just collected the TC16, everyone reorganises to get going from Beltana.
New South Welshman, Steve Overmyer, who flew from Sydney for the run, stands by Nics' M19 just south of Beltana Yard
Parachilna South Bound
All lined up for pics Willochra Creek Bridge
The cross on the final day. The photo was taken at Neuroodla with an empty Coalie baring down, I was glad to be in the siding
As the sun sets,.we roll back into Stirling North.
All Photos © Nic and Lynda Doncaster 2001
Uploaded November 25, 2008 Updated February 1, 2014
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