Sunday, 19 June 2016

Carrington: rails to Newcastle's dockside

Australia's railways all have the tendency to lead to the sea, and when it comes to a meeting of trains and ships, the city of Newcastle is one of the busiest in the country.

The above two photos show an GWF export grain train being unloaded at Carrington, May 2016.

These photos were all taken at Carrington yard during my visit to Newcastle in May 2016. The Carrington Coal terminal has an annual export capacity of 25 million tonnes per year, which pales in comparisson to the Kooragang Island facility which has a capacity of 120 million tonnes per annum, making Newcastle the largest coal export port in the world. The railway yard at Carrington also acts as a loading point for export grain from the north-west of New South Wales, such as the yellow George Weston Foods hoppers being unloaded by Southern Shorthaul Railroad that I photographed in May 2016.

8103 + 8133 + 8162 working Carrington Yard in Newcastle. Photo taken May 2016.

There is a lengthy pedestrian walkway that crosses Carrington railway yard to access the riverfront from the rear of Darling Street. Known only to locals, dock workers and rail enthusiasts, it provides a great multi-angle location to photograph trains working the yard. Fortunately, my morning visit on Thursday 12th May coincided with a trio of 81 class locos dropping by with a short string of container flat wagons.

These 81 class locos were first introduced back in 1982.

The pedestrian walkway leading to the foreshore makes for a great place to watch trains....

....and also loaded ships heading out to sea.

Carrington dock is pressed hard against the skyline of Newcastle city.

After an hour of soaking up the morning sunshine while watching trains shunting and ships being tugged out to sea, I left Carrington with the photo I was looking for in my new book 30 Years Chasing Trains. While the above photos are merely a teaser of what's inside, I really must thank fellow railway blogger Mat Hughes for the tip-off on this location. His blog Rusted2therails often features some great shots of trains in the area and is one of my personal favourites.

That's me marking another train watching location off on my bucket list at Carrington, in May 2016.

So with Carrington now ticked-off as one of the locations I wanted to visit on my railway bucket list, it was time to jump back in the car in search of some more trains, but not before donning my Newcastle Knights cap and posing for a photo with the city of Newcastle in the background. Watching ships sail out to sea from the busy port reminds me a lot of my home of Caloundra, where my apartment overlooks the shipping channel leading into the Port of Brisbane. But Carrington dock goes one better. Its where the rails meet the sea.

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See also; Hamilton: Newcastle's historic railway station and Broadmeadow: 5 minutes watching trains

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Broadmeadow: 5 minutes watching trains

I'd travelled through Broadmeadow Railway Station aboard a train many times over the course of my life, including while writing my Train Tripping Eastern Australia eBook. However, I'd never had the opportunity of disembarking to photograph Broadmeadow's 1887 timber station building. That changed recently, when on our way to checking in to our accommodation in the Hunter Valley, I found myself pulling our car up alongside the Broadmeadow's commuter car park armed with my new camera, and being told by my wife "you've got five minutes."

DL class locomotive DL42 was second unit behind NR42, passing through Broadmeadow in May 2016.

Fortuitously, those 5 minutes provided me with a train enthusiasts version of nirvana, as no fewer than 3 trains passed through in quick succession. There is an overpass at the southern end of Broadmeadow Railway Station, and no sooner than I had scaled the steps leading up to Lambton Road I was interrupted by that familiar rumble of a diesel engine. I turned in time to capture these trailing shots of a northbound Pacific National freight train, headed by NR42, DL42 and NR59.

NR59 was third in line on this northbound container train. May 2016.

While this northbound container train slowly rumbled past on the passing lane adjacent to platform 3, the northbound Grafton XPT arrived on platform 1 for its scheduled stop.

The northbound Grafton XPT, photographed at Broadmeadow Station, Thursday 12th May, 2016.

Broadmeadow Station is located in Newcastle's western suburbs, approximately 162 km north of Sydney's Central Station. Situated on the busy Main North Line, the electrified line was once a busy locomotive changing point. Electric 46 and 86 class locos would replace diesels for the run south into Sydney. Since the mid 1990's however, freight trains now continue through to Sydney behind diesel power, and the 46, 85 and 86 class electrics are now just a memory from the past.

Action aplenty at Broadmeadow Railway Station, May 2016.

Sitting north of the station waiting for a clear road south, was an Endeavour railcar set, and as the 1.5 km long container train slowed to allow the departing XPT to leapfrog it on the Main North Line, the 2 car Endeavour set slowly proceeded south through platform 1.

Broadmeadow Railway Station in 2016. The timber buildings on platforms 2 and 3 date back to 1887.

Not stopping for passengers, it was obvious that this 2 car set was on its way to be stabled in Broadmeadow Yard on the southern side of Lambton Road overpass. Still wearing the blue and yellow CityRail livery, and stripped bare of all CityRail signage and graffiti, the Endeavour set looked like it was ready for the paint shops. Perhaps next time I am down in the Newcastle area, I might happen to photograph these trains wearing the new NSW TrainLink livery that has recently been applied to the Hunter Railcars. If you're not sure what that looks like, the link below to my previous blog post on Hamilton Railway Station will reveal all.

This Endeavour set headed by 2802 looked ready for a repaint when I photographed it in May 2016.

Although time was escaping me and I didn't get the shot I was hoping to use in my book 30 Years Chasing Trains on account of all the overhead wiring, it was good to finally add some photos of this station in Newcastle's west to my blog. After hopping back behind the wheel of our car in less than 5 minutes, (much to my wife's surprise), we had a deadline to meet further west where we were due to check into our accommodation in the Hunter Valley. Not that I can complain. I had just spent the past 6 hours driving to as many train watching hotspots around Newcastle as was possible. Broadmeadow of course was just one of the locations I described in my book Train Tripping Eastern Australia, which is a smaller, more modern equivalent of a Down Under Bradshaw's railway guide. At just $0.99 to download onto your iPad, phone or eReader, the eBook has now been a solid Top 10 Bestseller on Kobo for the past year. As for the shots I was looking to include in my book 30 Years Chasing Trains? I found them at nearby Carrington Dock and Hamilton. But as usual, that's a story for another day.

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See also; Hamilton: Newcastle's historic railway station

Sunday, 12 June 2016

30 Years Chasing Trains

Writing and trains have long been two passions of mine that have both led me down familiar tracks in life. After first picking up a camera to photograph trains as a brash youngster just 14 years old, it dawned on me that 2016 marked 30 years of indulging in my favourite pastime of railway photography. Having spent the best part of two years travelling Australia's east coast by train to write my four text only Train Tripping eBook guides, I felt that my efforts warranted a book in printed form to showcase my years of photographic work. The end result is my latest book, 30 Years Chasing Trains.

As a writer, I consider myself an amateur photographer at best. Fortunately, the digital age in which we now live allows us to shoot 1,000 photos to possibly obtain half a dozen which may be considered great. Compare that to 1986, when armed with a Kodak 110 mm pocket camera and a BMX bike, I first set out to photograph trains passing along the edge of Brisbane Water between Gosford and Point Clare an hour north of Sydney, Australia. Processing a roll of film was the equivalent of a month's pocket money. Still, some of those photos today tell a story of a time that has passed us by, which as a writer led me to present this 100 page collection in the guise of a photographic memoir.

Inside there are 124 images, showcasing 30 years of train photography laid out state-by-state in chapter form, with the majority being higher quality images to those that I have previously shared on this blog. The extended descriptions paint a picture of what was happening to eastern Australia's ever-changing railway landscape between the period of 1986 to 2016. From high quality scans of some of my earlier photography from the late 1980's, to stunning two page spreads featuring the latest horsepower riding on our rails, I have tried to present this book through the lens of a train enthusiast. Inside you will find images from Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania and New South Wales, with our neighbours across the Tasman in New Zealand not forgotten either. From Mossman in the far north of Queensland, to Ida Bay where the sealed road ends in the far south of Tasmania, I have traveled by train and by car to capture trains passing through both obscure, and some more recognisable locations. Mossman, Cairns, Kuranda, Bundaberg, the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Toowoomba, Grafton, Coffs Harbour, the Hunter Valley, Sydney, Katoomba, Kiama, Narrandera, Quirindi, Seymour, Ballarat, Melbourne, Warrnambool, Foster, Korumburra, Devonport, Maydena, Ida Bay, Rotorua, Tirau and Kawerau are among some of the locations featured. Then of course there is the Puffing Billy Railway in Victoria's Dandenong Ranges, of which I owe much gratitude to the staff for allowing me behind-the-scenes access to play trainee fireman for the day on a cold winter's morning in 2015.

The book is presented in 20 x 25 cm full colour print and is available now in softcover or eBook form. While there are many books published each year on trains, the short shelf-life of most train books that you find in bookstores prompted me to self-publish this book in its entirety. As such, the book is available online exclusively through Kobo's Blurb label, leaving me with no fear of the book ever falling into the out-of-print category as has happened to my novels in the past. After all, this personal project of mine is really my story. The story of a young train fanatic that went on to record his lifelong interest in trains through the lens of a camera. I do hope you'll enjoy owning a copy of this book, if not, I'm sure my railway reminiscing articles on this blog will continue to keep the most ardent of railway enthusiasts entertained for years to come. Who knows? Depending on the success of this book, I may follow with another book devoted entirely to images of railway stations. Although that would involve sifting through my personal collection of more than 10,000 images one more time.

ISBN: 9781367592865
100 pages. 8 x 10 inch, 20 x 25 cm. 124 images. Full colour.
$35.00 AUD or $23.37 US softcover
$8.99 AUD or $6.36 US eBook

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