… and few less busy moments at Nankiva.

Continuing on from the previous post, we turn our attention eastwards to the Victorian Railways side of the Border District. B67 is still at the head of VR Train Number 808 – the three times a week Adelaide to Melbourne “Daylight” passenger express. Having taken over from South Australian Railways power at Tatiara Downs, B67 can be seen below accelerating the train through Border Junction. This location sees the SAR “divert’ off the main and down the branch to Jameston, with the “mainline” continuing over the border and into Victoria. All the facilities at Border Junction are located on the branch.

B67 passes Border Junction

The first station over the border is Nankiva – another fictional location, with the intent being a composite of two actual locations – Nhill and Kaniva. Below, S315 can be seen bringing a string of empty hoppers into the loop road at Nankiva. The hoppers are part of VR Train Number P2 and are destined for the loading at Frances in South Australia. Once loaded, the train will head east to the export grain location of Portland (one of many “off layout” destinations on the Border District). This train mimics actual empty and loaded grain services that worked between Portland and Frances, but through Mount Gambier in real life.

S315 arrives Nankiva

With S315 and VR #P2 safely locked away in the loop, B67 at the head of VR #808 is able to receive a “green over red” (clear normal speed) signal aspect and power non-stop through Nankiva. Nankiva isn’t served by the crack passenger trains, the “Daylight” or the “Overland”, but there are two Victorian Railways passenger trains each way every day that do stop at this location.

Cross Nankiva

Below, B67 can be seen continuing at speed through Nankiva, passing under the signal gantry and heading eastwards for Melbourne. The South Australian Railways 8300 van that trails VR #P2 empty grain can also be seen in this image. The reason for the SAR van is simple – once VR #P2 arrives at Tatiara Downs, a South Australian engine will take over for the run to Frances. Having a “through running” van means that this change can happen a little quicker than if the guard’s van needed to be exchanged.

B67 departs Nankiva

Still following the passenger train, the tail end of VR #808 can be seen as the train heads eastwards towards Edenhope – the VR staging location on the Border District. Edenhope and Kybybolite (the SAR staging location) are actual places in Victoria and South Australia respectively and help “locate” the Border District as proto-freelanced. The image below also gives a little away in terms of the layout’s structure (two “loops” around the room), with the grain siding at Tatiara Downs visible in the background – but supposedly many miles away …

Parlor Car


A busy few moments at Tatiara Downs …

Tatiara Downs can be a quiet place during the day time, with the bulk of inter-system traffic between Melbourne and Adelaide running overnight. There can be up to four Jet freights between the capitals in each direction, along with the Overland express for passengers each way … as well as Melbourne-Mt Gambier Jet goods too.

935 arrives with Daylight

However, some days at this border location can be busier than others. Above, SAR single-ended Alco 935 can be seen arriving at Tatiara Downs with SAR Train Number 809 – the thrice weekly Adelaide to Melbourne “Daylight” passenger service. Carriages and vans are a mixture of VR, SAR and joint stock. While it might not look like it from this image, the next few moments will be quite busy at this SAR/VR interchange point …

A full yard

In the above panorama, the extent of the “busy-ness” can be seen. In the distance, 935 can be seen bringing the “Daylight” to a stand at the platform. Closest to camera in Road 2, VR mainline EMD B67 stands ready for the handover of the “Daylight”. In Road 3, a grubby SAR Alco 965 is at the head of a very late running SAR Roadside Goods #161 – one of the reasons for things being busier than usual today. Road 4 sees a good amount of traffic brought in from South Australia to head east … most likely on VR Fast Goods #313 much later in the afternoon. VR branchline unit T357 is at the head of the VR Roadside Goods for Hamilton – being the lowest priority train it will be the last to leave. In Road 7, the goods shed road, the VR Y class acting as yard pilot/shunter is keeping clear of the mess!

935 off and B67 on

Above, 935 has now uncoupled from the “Daylight” and has moved forward in order to head back down the yard to the loco depot. Once clear, B67 will ease out onto the mainline before backing down the platform road and attaching to the “Daylight”. The crew of SAR #161 in the cab of loco 965 can but look on, with the passenger train being of a higher priority.

935 at loco

935 can be seen above having a made it through the yard to the Tatiara Downs loco. Being a single-ender, the Alco will be turned here and then refuelled, ready for another SAR assignment west. To the right of the picture, the last carriage of the “Daylight” can be seen at the platform – the Victorian Railways “Parlor Car”, also known as “Norman. Passengers pay a surcharge to travel in the 1930s opulence this car provides.

B67 departs1

Having completed a brake test, B67 accelerates the “Daylight” – now VR Train Number 808 – out of Tatiara Downs. The crew of 965 know that it will only be a few minutes before the “Daylight” clears the next section to Border Junction, allowing SAR #161 to follow behind before heading down the Jameston branch. Not too long after, the VR Roadside Goods, Train Number 90, will be able to also head east, with loco T357 in charge of a slightly larger train than usual.

B67 departs 2

Above, B67 stretches the “Daylight” around the curve and away from Tatiara Downs. The train is a limited express and will make only two more stops in the regional centres of Hamilton and Geelong, before arriving at the ultimate destination, Melbourne, late in the evening. The train will be turned and serviced overnight before working back to Adelaide the following day.