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



3 thoughts on “March 2017 operating session … part 1

  1. Hello,
    I was interested to read that you are having problems with idler gears on the Trainorama 930. Can you elaborate on the nature of the problem.


  2. John,
    Thanks for your comment. The issue has been confined (so far!) to two units … the shaft/axle on which the idle gear is housed coming loose from the bogie unit itself – on one unit it only came away from one side, but on the other it has completely disappeared – still to be located and leaving a gear cog “floating” on its lonesome! In both cases, this caused the idler gear to “fall” into the bogie, making sporadic contact with the rest of the gears. Repairs required one to hold your tongue just the right way (as well as needing to find a replacement axle/shaft for the latter case described above) …

    • Hi Anthony,
      Thank you for taking the time to give a detailed explanation.
      Looks like a further problem to add to the list of items to check!


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