March 2017 operating session … part 2

Rush hour at BJN

Many of the passengers on SAR TN 281 passenger have travelled the better part of the day from Adelaide on the Bluebird railcar working. Arriving at Naracoorte, they have then made their way to a small loco hauled consist, heeding the cry of  “all change here for the Border District”. Their new train serves the rural south east centres of Kybybolite, Tatiara Downs, Border Junction and Jameston … and can be seen in the image above at its penultimate stop. The crew have done well here, with both first and economy travelling passengers able to exit to the small carriage level station, before the train continues down the branch …

Thanks to Mark – long time friend and influencer of the Border District – for all the images in this post. Below, and also captured at Border Junction, SAR “Big Mikado” 730 has just received the green to head down the branch with SAR TN 147 goods from Tatiara Downs to Jameston. The DWf van immediately behind the engine is used for “take outs” and has required a little work from both the Guard and Station Master to unload supplies and parcels at Border Junction. The mainline to Melbourne continues eastwards to the right of the train.

Heading down to JAM

Jammed up JAM

Above, 730 can be seen a little later breaking up SAR TN 147 goods and making up SAR TN 148 goods (the return working to Tatiara Downs) at the branchline terminus of Jameston. This task can be challenging at times, but has been made even more so by the earlier than usual arrival of SAR TN 583A/584 loaded Stonie, with some of its consist of HS stone hoppers visible in the background. The Stonie will reverse the loco and van here, having come down the branch after loading at Southern Aggregates, before heading west to Osborne (Port Adelaide) and the ICI plant there. However, with only a small yard, the Stonie might just have to wait until 730 has finished her work!

Our final image below is the third in this post taken at Border Junction, and sees 730 now well clear of the “mess” at Jameston, having worked SAR TN 148 goods up the hill from Jameston, on the way to Tatiara Downs. As the compressor methodically thumps away, “take outs” are again being attended to at the station. The crew patiently await the green to head back onto the mainline and around to their final destination. Most of the loading from this train will eventually head further west on SAR TN 312 roadside goods.

730 at BJN


March 2017 operating session … part 1

730 and 907

A few weekends ago – in weather much drier than currently being experienced in Queensland – the third operating session for 2017 was held on the Border District. The session provided the first opportunity for the year to try out the revised and simplified “PM” shift – notionally from 16:00 hours in the afternoon through to 02:00 hours in the morning.

A crew of five were in attendance – Brendan again undertaking Station Master/Shunter/Sheriff duties at Tatiara Downs, Iain and Paul taking the two Victorian Railways (VR) crew jobs and Mark and myself scoring the two South Australian Railways (SAR) crew gigs. I also took on Train Control responsibilities, but increasingly these services are seemingly required less and less, with crews reading and following their sequence cards and information … as well as setting and resetting points and signals.

The session provided an opportunity for a few “different” operations to take place … such as the one seen in the lead image here, with SAR “Big Mikado” 730 in charge of SAR TN 147 goods from Tatiara Downs to Jameston. The Webb steamer is the pride of the Tatiara Downs Railway Preservation Society (TSRPS) and used this and the subsequent return working as proving trials. The loco performed very well from all accounts – and can also be seen again below, this time balanced on the turntable at Tatiara Downs.

730 spins

Mustard pots

Another feature of the session was the increased dominance of SAR “mustard pot” 830 class Alcos – with two seen above separately shunting at Tatiara Downs. The use of 730 and more 830s may or may not also have something to do with the ever increasing failure rate on the Trainorama 930s – not just the dreaded split gears, but now also issues with the idler gears in a few units …

The session wasn’t only about the SAR though, as can be seen in the image below. The empty Stonie is at Border Junction for shunting/loading at Southern Aggregates as VR TN 25 passenger travels past, at speed. Today, the consist doesn’t include any air conditioned cars – much to the disappointment of all but the hardiest of travellers!

The March session on the “District” was another enjoyable one, without any significantly reportable “event/s” (one train may or may not have left with a little more loading than it should have, and the host may or may not have performed a “Craig” … though most probably to honour him due to his absence …). Also enjoyable was the pictorial coverage from the day, so although this blog post is a little late, it will most likely be one of several that summarise the session. Thanks again to all those crew members that participated, more to come …

VR TN 25


Nearly ready for the March operating session …


“There was movement at the station …” well, not quite … or not yet at least! However, there was soon to be movement at a few stations on the Border District, with the March 2017 operating session not too far away.

Above, all is pretty quiet for early in the afternoon at Jameston in south eastern South Australia. The hot Summer has continued deep into March, and local visiting the station has sought some shade for his car …

Below, things are also quiet at Nankiva in the far western region of Victoria. At the eastern end of the railway yard here, vans are being loaded with local produce from the Edenhope Valley and surrounding area, soon to head to the markets in both Adelaide and Melbourne.

NAN east

NAN west

The western end of the yard at Nankiva is equally as quiet as the east, as can be seen above. An empty oil tank awaits collection from the afternoon goods service. The local freight agent will soon be busy at the goods shed in the distance, ahead of receiving and dispatching consignments.

But the award for “quiet” on the Border District must to go to the whistle stop of Border Junction – located along the mainline between Melbourne and Adelaide, and also serving as the junction for the branch line to Jameston.

The peace and quiet in the image below will soon be broken, with many trains from both South Australian Railways and Victorian Railways making their way past Border Junction – most travelling through at speed, but a few stopping and serving this rural outpost …