News Snippets No. 2

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Track Repair Progress

With improving weather conditions on the line, work is being progressed by the track gangs. Latest advice from QR is:

Line to Mareeba Open.

Line from Mareeba to Arriga to be open by 4/3/09.  This service was cancelled for passenger services but a driver tuition train will run to Arriga and Return on 4 & 6/3/09

Line from Arriga to Almaden closed.  Four major washouts to be repaired, expected to be open by 11 March. This will be the first passenger run this year, however train will return to Cairns on 12 March

Line from Almaden to Forsayth closed. Three to four weeks for repairs with flooding between Almaden and Forsayth. Road access unavailiable making access to sites difficult. Intentions are to progressively open the track as repairs permit. Expect to reach Sandy Tate River by the 11th March. On 18 March, a train will run to Almaden as scheduled, then on 19 March, run as far as the line is open towards Mt Surprise which is expected to be either the Rocky Tate or the Sandy Tate River. A camp fire morning tea will be held with billy tea and damper. On completion, the train will return to Almaden for an overnight stay and additional Chillagoe area tours, and return to Cairns on Friday 20.

Annual Maintenance complete

The annual maintenance period is now complete, thanks mostly to the herculean efforts of our fitter/mechanic Warren. This year, we tackled a bogie and center casting adjustment on 2026, brake cyliner overhaul on all units, Water tank and plumbing repairs to 2053, Hydraulic cooling system modifications to 2028, radiator and intercooler removal and cleaning to all units, and installation of high visibility safety step treads to the all unit access steps.  All engines and gear boxes had their servicing completed as well.  With over a dozen charters booked this year, it means we need 100% availability during a four month period in the middle of the year. A strict maintenance regime during the off season helps to achieve this.

Macair (the demise thereof)

Early this year, the airline that provided flights to the Gulf town of Normanton went out of business. This airline was the major link in transporting passengers to Normanton for our Gulflander and Savannahlander combined train packages. Fortunately this service was Government Subsidised, so another operator, Skytrans, quickly assumed gulf air operations.  Presently, they have only guaranteed services till July.  There is a little more information on the font page of our main web site and on the Gulflander / Savannahlander page. The new operator has increased the price of flights to Normanton so those wishing to do the two trains on a budget might need to consider travelling out there on the bus. Note that bus travel requires an extra night at Normanton, so do your maths when considering your travel options.

Queensland 150 Must Dos

We have had grumbles about our non inclusion in this advertising campaign in past posts, however we would like to acknowledge and congratulate the eventual winner – Paronella Park.  Although not a part of the Savannahlander experience, Paranella Park is about  100 km south of Cairns, near Innisfail. Last year, we ran a charter train to Innisfail and would be prepared to offer a charter railmotor service to Innisfail and Paronella Park if any group is interested in doing a Rail Tour down there.  Contact Us if you think you can put a group together for a fun to Innisfail.