Ravenshoe visit - June 2014
#1
Just a quick review on the operations at Ravenshoe here in far NQ....

Have been wanting to get out and go for a ride on the Ravenshoe train for some time, however the combination of the group there not operating for quite a while, work and social commitments etc, it has taken a long time to get around to it.

With that being said, I finally made it happen yesterday Sunday 08/06/14. My young fella likes trains as well, and it was a wet (and unusually cold) day in Cairns, so it was ideal to get out of the house and head for the hills. The Ravenshoe steam train is one of the only two that I know operate in north QLD, the other being the Balleyhooley at Port Douglas, and with my young fella moving away with his mother soon, I wanted to make sure we did this trip before he goes.

The long drive up the Gillies range (or longer via other routes) tends to make Ravenshoe a bit of a big day out. It rained and was very cold the whole way.

The operation was up and running as evidenced by the steam billowing out of the small loco shed when we arrived, so I was much pleased that the long drive hadnt been fruitless.

With the cold air temperature and the rain, it made the atmosphere even better, especially for photo fans.

The train itself was the D17, leading a converted cattle wagon, and two old (presumably) ex Sydney mail cars, and another open car with a roof and seats from an old bus. The tank engine at one stage had its side tanks cut off - I believe this was something to do with evening out axle weight for the line, which made the loco look a bit off. Recently, faux side tanks have been made, which makes it look a lot more aesthetically appealing.

The short 7km run over to Tumoulin was at a very leisurely pace, and only takes about half an hour. Along the way, we observed the interesting concept of teddy-bears strategically attached to various groups of trees. These look very weathered and were borderline freaky - like form a low budget horror film, such was their state of decay. However, the idea is very good as it gave all the young kids something to look out for, so I think the idea has merit.

Arrival at Tumoulin was better than anticipated, as an additional building has been erected near to the station, which serves tea, coffee and scones etc - this wasnt in place last time I visited many years ago during a period of inactivity of the operation. $5 for coffee and scones with jam and cream was reasonable, and of sufficient quality.

While the punters from the train hurriedly formed a queue to purchase Devonshire Teas, the loco was cut off, turned and reattached for the run back to Ravenshoe. A section car that followed (presumably fire-train, which really was not required due to the rain) also followed suit.

About a half hour (or slightly over) was spent at QLD's "highest" railway station before another leisurely run back to the 'shoe. :evil Wink

On the way out to Tumoulin, the track seems to have some reasonable climbs, which is good for hearing the loco actually work. The cool air and rain made the steam effects much more enhanced as they wafted past our windows - again, really good for the small kids. Despite being a wood-burning loco on this occasion, there was still plenty of sounds and smells of steam train to ignite the senses.

The ticket price was $40 for a family, which on this occasion was three adults and one small child - quite reasonable for what we got to do in my opinion. There would have easily have been 60 or more people onboard, so the cold and the wet didnt scare away the punters.

Over all, the railway seemed to be run quite well. The onboard staff were very dutiful in ensuring that kids and adults alike, didnt out themselves at risk of any paperwork or the likes. for a once a week train, the track seemed to be in good order.

The very short run is ideal for families with small kids - the half hour out there, half our there and half hour back is just right before little'uns start getting fidgity, but the long drive to get there is a bit of a bugger, but well worth it.

A few photos to follow Smile
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#2
Having trouble uploading any pics Sad Stand by Smile
"You have enemies? Good! That means that you have stood up for something you believe in, at some time in your life....."
#3
(09-Jun-2014, 02:01 PM)Rolls Royce Wrote: Having trouble uploading any pics Sad Stand by Smile

Uploads were broken. Should be working now.
You can turn off signatures here: Wink
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#4
(09-Jun-2014, 01:57 PM)Rolls Royce Wrote: The train itself was the D17, leading a converted cattle wagon, and two old (presumably) ex Sydney mail cars, and another open car with a roof and seats from an old bus.

No water wagon? When I was there in 1999 (IIRC) there was a low sided open wagon with a big drum on it to carry the water for the loco due to the absence of the tanks.
Graham R - Dalby Qld
Any opinions expressed here are my own and not those of any group or organisation I am associated with.
Member Southern Downs Steam Railway | ARHS Qld
#5
(09-Jun-2014, 09:38 PM)Graham4405 Wrote:
(09-Jun-2014, 01:57 PM)Rolls Royce Wrote: The train itself was the D17, leading a converted cattle wagon, and two old (presumably) ex Sydney mail cars, and another open car with a roof and seats from an old bus.

No water wagon? When I was there in 1999 (IIRC) there was a low sided open wagon with a big drum on it to carry the water for the loco due to the absence of the tanks.

Yes Graham, the water wagon was there too, to do just that.

I was going to allow the pictures to do the talking but then couldnt upload them. Will have another go later Smile
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#6
It is a fairly lengthy climb from the Millstream to a location known as 'Linga Longa' - may still have a small loading ramp style plaform jutting out from a cutting. This is where they used to do the arvo teas.

While it looks like they done some significant cosmetic improvements, the tank facade and the work at Tomoulin to name a couple, I'll say no more except that I'm glad they made a good impression on you.
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#7
Quote:and two old (presumably) ex Sydney mail cars, and another open car with a roof and seats from an old bus

Old timber cars are ex "Sunshine Express" or whatever ran between Brisbane and Cairns, the baggage car was at Herberton, another was used as a sales office by the bloke who did Millstream Estate out of Ravenshoe. The other open car would be a HJS ex Atherton with the bus seats used to be stored in a gutted camp wagon in Herberton and were given to Railco by a Atherton bus company.
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#8
1977 image of Ravenshoe. This image was recently used on a Railpage where is it.

[Image: Ravenshoe-1977_zps180ecd75.jpg]
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