The fourth and final instalment of images from the May 2017 operating session on the Border District are from the largest station and location on the layout – Tatiara Downs. The ‘Downs, or TD as it is more commonly known, is the interchange point for the South Australian Railways and the Victorian Railways. The main inspiration for Tatiara Downs is Mount Gambier, but elements of and influence from Serviceton, Wolseley and Bordertown are also present.
Above, ‘mustard pot’ Alco 858 can be seen leading the morning school train – SAR Train Number 905A – out of the dock platform at Tatiara Downs and headed for Jameston. This train is, in part, a continuation of the Overnight passenger service (SAR TN 905) from Adelaide – which can still be seen in the distance sitting in the platform road. The lead vehicle behind 858 – a DS louvre van – has been transferred from 905 and will be shunted to the goods shed at Jameston upon arrival there.
In the image below, the loco area at Tatiara Downs appears quieter than usual! The big 900 class diesel has shunted the carriages from SAR TN 905 to the carriage siding, while B67 waits to work VR TN 90 back to Melbourne later in the session. Under the “not often used” coal stage, the single Bluebird railcar to work SAR TN 541/542 waits patiently, while further back an SAR 930 Alco can also be spotted.
A busy time at TD! In the image above, there is plenty happening at Tatiara Downs. The Bluebird seen under the coal stage in the previous image has been shunted to the platform, ahead of working SAR TNs 541 and 542. Further back, in the dock platform, a VR Walkers 280 HP railmotor has just worked the morning service from Portland. In the foreground resident TD shunter, Alco 836, goes about making up VR TN 90 goods … and also has an eye on SAR TN 514 goods too, required a little later in the session.
Below, one of the last of the 930 class locos delivered to the SAR, 965, can be seen lifting SAR TN 6 Melbourne to Mount Gambier goods away from Tatiara Downs and onto South Australian metals. The DWf van immediately behind the loco was picked up from the goods shed at Tatiara Downs, while the next van in the consist (a VR bogie UB van) was collected from Nankiva. A mainline VR loco worked the train (then known as VR TN 7) into TD, before handing over to the Alco seen here. 965 will take the train on to Kybybolite and eventually the Mount …