The Sydney Great Train Weekend

The Sydney Great Train Weekend is held on the Queens Birthday long weekend. The New South Wales Rail Transport Museum (NSWRTM) bring a number of heritage exhibits from Thirlmere to Sydney’s Central Station, where they are put on display for the general public to enjoy. The Powerhouse Museum provides steam locomotive 3265 for the display, which spends the weekend in light steam alongside the platform for people to climb into the cab and see a real, live steam locomotive. In a similar vein, 4001 and 4490 are at the other end of the platform, to allow people to examine the first mainline diesel locomotive in NSW. As well as the heritage items, RailCorp provides a CountryLink Xplorer and XPT set for people to inspect. As has been mentioned in previous years, this is an excellent opportunity to show people the new Waratah train, although this opportunity has never been capitalised on.

Not content with static displays alone, The NSWRTM also provides a steam train ride through the suburbs, with 3642 and 3526. The train runs between Central and Clyde over the course of the weekend, delighting young and old alike with a short, but pleasurable steam experience. Continue reading “The Sydney Great Train Weekend”

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News to Me: 44209 Breaks Cover & IRA Sold To Qube

June 2012 is already shaping up to be an interesting month – firstly the Premier of NSW announces a day return service between Bathurst and Sydney, CFCLA recommissions lease unit 44209 on a series of corporate trains and Qube announces a takeover of Independent Railways of Australia.

44209 was previously painted in the R&H Transport scheme of red and white. The unit had seen service with Patrick Portlink, P&O Trans Australia and El Zorro in the twelve months before it’s withdrawl. The unit suffered a seized traction motor while in use on El Zorro Victorian grain trains in late 2011, and was eventually towed to Goulburn for repair work. While at Goulburn, the locomotive was repainted into the CFCLA livery, although it remained on transfer bogies while work was undertaken to the traction motors. One can only wonder if it will join stable-mate 44208 on hire to Qube, or if the unit will return to El Zorro (or perhaps another operator entirely).

For more photos of the CFCLA charter, click here.

Qube Logistics also announced the takeover of Macarthur Intermodal Shipping Terminal Pty Ltd (MIST), which owns and operates Independent Railways of Australia (IRA) for container trains between Minto (where the MIST freight terminal is located) and Cooks River/Port Botany, as well as regional rail services between Cooks River and Narrabri, Dubbo and Bathurst. This is potentially damning news for IRA’s fleet of 44 Class locomotives, most of which are out of service at any given time due to mechanical problems, brought on by their age and a lack of appropriate spare parts. This news is also potentially worrying for fans of the operators imported Danish “MZIII” 14 Class locomotives, which have also been plagued with failures in recent months. It may be that Qube (who operate their own 44 Class, ex CFCLA rental units 4471 and 4477) use IRA’s 44 Class as a source of spare parts, and set aside the 14 Class indefinitely.

Stop Press: New CFCLA Locos at Sydney Terminal

CFCL Australia ran a special train on Thursday, February 2nd to celebrate the delivery of their new CF Class locomotives from Broadmeadow to Sydney Terminal, hauled by CF4405 “Beldale Ball” and CF4406 “Kiwi”. The class are of the General Electric C44aci model, capable of producing over 4000hp. Similar to a long line of locomotives before them (92 Class, 6000 Class, XRN Class and the CEY Class), the locomotives have been manufactured by UGL (formerly United Goninan), and are destined  for lease service (initially) with Pacific National. To celebrate their delivery, CFCL Australia arranged a special train for their staff, comprising two privately owned carriages from Canberra, and their own crew car (CDAY 1x). The train was hauled from Sydney to Broadmeadow by ARHS ACT owned 4403, where the two CF Class were attached for the run down to Sydney.

Upon arriving at Sydney Terminal, the two CF Class were cut off from the train to await their path north to return to Broadmeadow, while 4403 departed southbound with the cars. The CF’s remained on the platform for approximatly forty minutes, allowing plenty of time for official (and unofficial) photographs to be taken.

Although it was a bit of a juggle getting home from work to change and grab the camera and tripod, it was worth the effort. The first two photos were handheld, but due to the rapidly diminishing light and the ever present rain, I decided to avoid using high ISO settings and just deal with the tripod. Shooting mostly at f13, the results were certainly worth the effort, I feel.

As usual, click on the photos to view them on Flickr, where they can be viewed at a larger size.

I am certainly looking forward to photographing these handsome beasts in lease service, even if it is just on coal traffic! I imagine, should they prove successful, CFCLA will have little hesitation to order more, as they will no doubt be in high demand by companies looking for modern motive power without investing the initial capital!

(News to Me) The Final Run of T176/7

GM22 leading 4471 out of Yennora with T176The previous Friday (27th June) saw a handful of railfans out and about trackside along the Metropolitan Goods Line to get their “final shots” of Patricks Portlink train T176/T177. For years now this shuttle has run between Yennora Distribution Centre (owned by CRT Group) and Port Botany using a variety of leased motive power. On the date in question, GM22 and 4471 did the honours, rolling out of Yennora at 0848.

The train made excellent time between Yennora and Port Botany, although it lost it’s path out of Port Botany in the afternoon. At 1338, 4471 lead the charge out of Botany with GM22 trailing behind, much to the delight of the few enthusiasts on the road bridge.

4471 Heading up a PPL Service at BotanyDisappointingly, the pair were not to return to Yennora until later that evening, having lost their path onto the busy west/old south lines, and were held somewhere around Enfield until after the peak hour was over.

At 1600 hours the same day, Patricks Portlink Accreditation ceased – they are now running under a temporary Pacific National accreditation. It is unknown at this stage if they will renew their accreditation, having reportedly lost the Yennora contract (as the Distribution Centre is owned by CRT Group, which is in turn owned by QRNational, who have recently begun providing their own shuttle between Yennora and Botany, as can be seen here).

More information will be provided when it comes to hand! Anyone with good information on this can feel free to contact me through this website.