Railway Digest May 18 E-Copy

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RD MAY 2018 Blurb

One sweet conversion
Noted rail photographer Alan Shaw was an unashamed fan of big trains in big landscapes. Cane railways just didn’t interest him. However, after a disappointing day on the main line, a chance encounter with the motive power of Bingera Mill led him to reassess his old attitude. After three trips to the Bundaberg area over a couple of months, he had covered a fair bit of distance, but also inadvertently taken a more philosophical journey, one that led him to a new appreciation of the cane railways and the work done by the people who make it all happen.

Victoria’s last main line semaphore signals
In the constantly-changing railway scene, once-common semaphore signals are almost extinct but one place in Victoria where they survive is, surprisingly, on a main line, dipping their arms to the quite-frequent trains. Malcolm Simister pays tribute to an elegant, albeit anachronistic, style of signalling that has all but vanished from the garden state.

The Adventures of NT32 – Brisbane to Sydney
For a while now, the Brisbane to Sydney XPT service has been departing Brisbane at the unsociable hour of 4.55am. Once you’re on board, however (fortified by a coffee from Roma Street’s early-opening food outlet) the trip south is usually pleasant and uneventful. Les Shepherd describes a recent journey, when the fates conspired to make NT32’s southbound run something of an adventure!

Can safety be on the level?
Australia is not short on level crossings. We have about 23,500 of them across the country, in active and passive modes. Having evolved since the earliest days of railways, level crossings now sit within a transportation system that features more diverse vehicles, caters for the mobility needs of ever-increasing population numbers, and is surrounded by a “clock-time culture” where time, simply, cannot be wasted. Anjum Naweed looks at some of the issues surrounding these unloved, but often life-saving, installations.