Another Wet Season, Another Challenge

During the end of year maintenance shut down, the Savannahlander crew watch the wet season skys nervously, and hope that when the clouds clear, there will still be track and bridges to run the train over. Our shut down happens during the Savannah Regions wet season. However, on the Cairns Costal plain where our Depot is, the season lingers for a month or two after we re-start opertions. In the past, this has meant that although the tracks in the Savannah area are okay to use, locally it can be a different story, with risk, or actual, landslips on the Kuranda range causing the line to be closed. This was the case for the start of last year’s 2007 season.

This year was different.

The rain, simply refused to stop bucketing down on the other side of the ranges, causing rivers to come up over the bridges frequently and for extended periods of time. There were also long sections of track that had the ballast (if you can call it that 🙂 ) to be washed away. During this time, the Kuranda Range remained remarkable stable and open for traffic. For the Savannahlander though, it meant that for the first five weeks of the 2008 season, we could only manage to get as far as the normal first night stop – Almaden.

Here is a picture of the Copperfield River Bridge after an early set of flood waters had subsided. It went under on several occasions this year, with the water depth peaking at 1.6 metres over the rails.

The Copperfield River Bridge

Did I mention something about being nervous when it floods out there? Here is the same bridge in 2002

Copperfield Bridge - the flood that did this was about 3 meters over the top