Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Bundaberg: Bundy and trains? Absolutely!

Bundaberg is famous for sugar, rum and ginger beer. But trains? You'd better believe it. With The Sunlander already replaced by the Spirit of Queensland for the journey between Brisbane and Cairns, Queensland Rail had a spare Tilt Train that just happened to be lying around. And I could think of no sweeter place to utilise it, (yep, I know that's an awful pun), than to the rum capital of Australia, Bundaberg.

Bundaberg Railway Station oozes with old style charm. The rails first came north to Bundy, (as the locals call it), from the state capital of Brisbane in 1888. But Bundaberg's first railway was in fact the Mount Perry Railway, which was opened on the north side of the Burnett River in 1881. When the railway bridge across the Burnett River was finally opened to connect the two railway systems in 1891, they simply renamed the station north of the Burnett River, North Bundaberg. Today North Bundaberg Railway Station is a museum, and Bundaberg Railway Station still maintains its old style charm in downtown Bundy.

A pair of 1979 built 2100 class Queensland Rail locos at Bundaberg Railway Station working The Sunlander to Cairns, 2014.

The thing I'll miss most about The Sunlander was its lazy 31 hour timetable from Brisbane to Cairns, there were often times when the conductor would announce that we would be at the station for 10, 15, 20 and even 45 minutes for those wanting to get off the train and stretch their legs. Bundaberg Railway Station just so happened to be one of those stops. With two diesels strapped onto the front of the train and 18 carriages behind it, what more could a train photographer ask for?

Bundaberg's former railway yard is now redundant following the sale of QR's freight operations to Aurizon. 2014.

Despite rail operator Aurizon rationalizing Bundaberg's sizable rail yard facility, Queensland Rail in 2014 gave Bundaberg a Tilt Train service of its own, in addition to the Rockhampton Tilt Train, the Spirit of Queensland and the Spirit of the Outback passenger trains that roll through town. Along with passing freight trains on the north coast line, there are still plenty of trains to photograph around Bundaberg.

Bundaberg Railway Station at 6.54 am on a Tuesday morning, the sun rises on one of The Sunlander's final trips to Brisbane in 2014.

Despite the charm of Bundaberg Railway Station, I had a train to catch, and a book to write. So using my best impersonation of the Bundaberg Rum bear as I board the train. Bundy and trains? Absolutely.

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