LDP Class at Yanderra

NR6 passing through Yanderra with 2XW4 SteelLink service to Wollongong (Port Kembla)
NR6 passing through Yanderra with 2XW4 SteelLink service to Wollongong (Port Kembla)

Although no trace of the original station remains, Yanderra (located 109km south of the buffers at Sydney Terminal) is a very popular destination for photographers chasing trains along the main south line.

When I heard about the new lease units for Locomotive Demand Power (a division of Downer EDI Rail) making their first trip to Melbourne at the head of QRNationals 3BM7 service, I began thinking about locations to get the shot from, and settled on Yanderra, despite it being a 4km walk from Bargo Station. In the rain.

With QRNational recently running up to three hours or more ahead of their normal path on the Main South, I made the decision to arrive early, and (after getting lost from misreading a map) arrived at 10:25. As I was walking up to the station (along my impromptu and undesirable detour via the back roads of Yanderra – the town only has five roads or so!), I heard a late running 3MB7 roar through behind triple bulldogs. Despite having seen this before, who knows how much time such movements have left, with these new units coming online very quickly.

The first (seen, rather than just heard) movement would be a northbound 2XW4 SteelLink service, through at 11:25, behind solo NR6. With ARTC workers on the line between Yanderra and Bargo, NR6 announced it’s arrival with a blast from the horn, before running over detonators on the line south of Yanderra (close to Yerrinbool). It would not prove to be an issue to hear trains coming from the south.

LDP001/LDP002 leading QRNationals 3BM7 freighter south through Yanderra. The CLP and G Class locomotives are offline
LDP001/LDP002 leading QRNationals 3BM7 freighter south through Yanderra.

Shortly after the sound of NR6 and it’s train was lost beneath the noise from the nearby Hume Highway, another horn was heard, followed by the familiar “crump, crump” of detonators. It would prove to be 8132 hauling 2134 cement north, rolling past at 11:37.

It would be another hour before another pair of detonators were set off to the south, and this heralded the arrival of NR115/NR62/NR23 with a late running 1PS6 intermodal at 12:34. Unlike the short (and empty) steel train earlier, this mammoth train (Perth – Sydney freights can be up to 1.8km long) was fully loaded with containers (as well as other intermodal loading, such as steel, timber and paper), as well as three Sadliers louvre vans, bound for the Sadliers depot at Cooks River.

As time marched closer to the expected arrival time of 3BM7 (approx 13:30 to 14:00), the familiar bark of GM locomotives could be heard to the north, certainly not the noise expected from brand new EMD units! Imagine my surprise to see HL203/T385/T373/GM36 racing south with EL Zorros 1391 container service from Botany to Junee at 13:26!

Finally, at 13:38, LDP001 and 002 eased around the bend to the north of the bridge, and continued their journey south, with CLP10, G534 and G516 dead attached. The two LDP Class would arrive into Melbourne late that night, their entire journey between Broadmeadow and Dynon tracked by enthusiasts from all over the east coast.

LDP001 and LDP002 are scheduled to return to Sydney on Friday 13/2 at the head of 5MB7, normally into Sydney just after morning curfew ends.


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