A trip on SAR #185

With the (near) completion of the revised Paper Mill at Jameston, and the end of the Summer holidays here in sight, I thought it might be worth a trip on SAR’s train number 185 – the Adelaide to Jameston “Paper” fast goods. This train conveys loaded soda ash and paper pulp wagons for the Apcel Mill at Jameston, along with empty louvre vans for loading with finished paper products. Below, we see #185 in the capable hands of Goodwin-Alco 956 (in the experimental “bloody nose” paint job – the only 930 class engine to wear the scheme) as it arrives in Road 1 at Tatiara Downs. The loco area, which gets very busy with the interchange of SAR and VR power, can be seen in the right foreground.



Train number 185 is one of the few workings on the Border District that doesn’t have any “work” to do at Tatiara Downs, with all loading handled at Jameston. Several other South Australian and Victorian goods trains start and finish their journeys at Tatiara Downs, the “main” station on the Border District. Below, as 956 brings #185 along Road 1, sister Alco 965 can be seen in Road 2 at the head of SAR train number 312, the Tatiara Downs to Tailem Bend roadside goods. Train #312 has picked up loading from Tatiara Downs, with a good amount of wagons coming from Victorian origins too.



While Tatiara Downs caters for a significant amount of South Australian and Victorian goods transfer, there are also a range of industries that keep both the SAR and VR busy. Below (in the distance, from left to right), the local Farmers’ Co-operative, Top  Brand Fertilisers siding, flour mill and silo lead can all be seen, as 956 receives a “green over red” signal indication and powers #185 out of Tatiara Downs, towards Border Junction.



Border Junction isn’t far from Tatiara Downs – the locations taking inspiration from Mt Gambier and Mt Gambier Junction. Below, 956 gets a chance to (briefly) stretch the legs on the run to Border Junction. The track in the cutting in the foreground is the VR main from Nankiva to Edenhope (VR “staging”) – and in reality is miles away! This is also one of the few areas on the Border DIstrict that has seen some “scenic” treatment. It certainly makes a difference …



Border Junction is the smallest of the four “modelled” locations on the Border District, and also represents where the Jameston branch leaves the mainline (that continues across the Victorian border to Nankiva and all points east). Below, 956 can be seen swinging #185 off the main and past the modest platform at Border Junction. Behind the open wagons is the siding that serves “Southern Aggregates”, Border Junction’s only industry.



Border Junction is built “above and behind” the open staging yard that serves to extend the Border District into both the SAR and VR systems. Below, 956 can be seen descending the Jameston branch, while the mainline to Nankiva continues to rise slightly to the right. The roofs of the “Overland” (the overnight express passenger train connecting Melboure and Adelaide) passenger carriages can be seen in the right foreground, occupying Road 1 of the staging yard. The “Overland” features in each of the Border District’s operating sessions.



Jameston takes its inspiration from Millicent, Snuggery and Kingston, all in South Australia’s South East. The name was chosen for two reasons: (1) elements of the actual trackplan at Jamestown in South Australia’s north were used here (interestingly, Jamestown was only ever narrow or standard gauge, never broad gauge), and (2) my former Border District layout was centred around Serviceton, which was named after James Service. Below, 956 slows #185 across a level crossing and past the Apcel Paper Mill – with two empty open wagons waiting for collection. The “high” ground to the left serves the turntable roads for the loco depot at Tatiara Downs.



Jameston is served by four goods trains and three passenger services a day, Monday to Saturday. Below, 956 has nearly reached the end of its journey as it brings #185 into Road 2.  The Apcel Paper Mill contributes to more than a third of all loadings in and out of Jameston and can be seen in the right background, now served by four tracks with capacity for more than twenty bogie wagons. The left background sees the broad gauge-narrow gauge transfer area.



However, 956’s work is only just beginning – shunting off loaded open wagons and empty louvre vans, as well as collecting loaded vans and empty open wagons. Shunting here is supposed to emulate the “Millicent” and “Snuggery” Goods trains in SA’s South East, circa 1970s. 956 will soon break down #185 and make up #186 – the return “Paper” fast goods to Adelaide. While this is a “fun” job, it also has its challenges and so is probably a good topic for another post …


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