March 2017 operating session … part 4

Coal tower gets used

What? Four posts (five actually, if you include the “Nearly ready …” post) for the one operating session? Never been done before, possibly never to be done again …

I’ll blame the ridiculously good amount of ridiculously good images captured courtesy of Mark, whose pictures again provide 100% of the photographic content of this post. Thanks Mark!

Above, Mark has snaffled a shot of the star of the March operating session … Webb “Big Mikado” 730. The steamer worked two trains – SAR Train Numbers 147 and 148 goods, from Tatiara Downs to Jameston and return, as proving trials ahead of some possible hysterical society operations. The loco can be seen at rest under the coal stage at Tatiara Downs loco.

Below, Mark has recorded SAR English Electric 909, which today has provided the power for SAR Train Number 281 passenger. This train provides a connection from the daily Adelaide to Mount Gambier Bluebird railcars at Naracoorte and then works all stops to its final destination of Jameston. The big diesel has just had a spin on the turntable at Jameston, ahead of working back through Border Junction, Tatiara Downs and Kybybolite to Adelaide with SAR Train Number 166 – the thrice weekly “South East” overnight passenger. The good people of the Border District are certainly blessed with several passenger services each day – provided by both the SAR and the VR.

EE at JAM

A bust moment at JAM

The “Paper Jet” – SAR Train Numbers 185 and 186, are the focus of the final two images here. This train works express from Adelaide to Jameston, conveying pulp paper, soda ash and empty vans for the Apcel Mill, and returns with empty open wagons (from pulp paper and soda ash traffic) and plenty of loaded vans full of paper products for parts west – Adelaide, Perth and even east to Sydney in some cases.

Above, SAR Alco 956 is running around the recently shunted return working (SAR Train Number 186), having spent a goodly amount of time breaking up SAR Train Number 185 before making up this train,. The empty OBf opens conveyed soda ash to the mill, while a seemingly ever present SAR 8300 Goods Brake will carry the markers and bring up the rear …

Below, 956 can be seen a little further into her journey, awaiting the green at Border Junction to exit the branch. The reason for the pause – the eastbound “Overland” overnight express between Adelaide and Melbourne is due through on the main very soon. Once clear, 956 will receive a red over green indication and permission to continue through to Tatiara Downs …

Paper awaits the green

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March 2017 operating session … part 3

SA shunt 1

“Loading the Stonie” is possibly one of the most enjoyable operating jobs on the Border District. Early in the afternoon sees SAR Train Number 583 arrives at Southern Aggregates, just outside Border Junction. The empty consist has made its way from Adelaide in the east – a much longer run than that made by the more well known “Stonie” from Penrice. In the image captured above, English Electric 907 has already shunted the 8300 Goods Brake off before positioning hoppers for loading under the overhead loader. A closer look at the picture reveals that one hopper is already loaded …

SA shunt 2

Shunting Southern Aggregates is fun, but also a little challenging. Hoppers can only be loaded in groups of three at a time, due to the constraint of a short track under the loader. Above, 907 has already positioned the first three loaded hoppers back in the siding with the Goods Brake, and has returned to commence loading the second set of three hoppers. As a result of these constraints, most Stone trains on the Border District are made up of only nine hoppers. This also assists with keeping the loaded train tonnage down, given the working is usually handled by a single locomotive.

730 passes SA

Above, 907 is already into loading the second set of three hoppers when a surprise visitor – SAR Webb power 730 – travels past in the foreground at the head of SAR TN 147 goods. See the other two blog posts on this session for more information about the Big Mikado pictured here. Once 730 and her train are through Border Junction and down the branch, 907 will shuffle around the sets of empty and loaded hoppers to load the third and final set of three HS wagons …