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Rail heritage is more than an 'echo from the past' as in this photograph (right) of Birthamba Station, near Bundaberg. From the Bundberg Railway Museum Collection.
We sometimes forget that what is commonplace today is tomorrow's scarce heritage resource. Yet Queensland has a 'narrow gauge' railway system that continues to demonstrate world's best practice in the twenty-first century.
QR's tilt trains and resource (mostly coal) lines/trains are two indications of this; PN's multi-unit skeleton-type container wagons with shared bogies are another.
While the state's sugar mill tramways primarily used 2' (610 mm) gauge, the government owned systems were built to 3' 6" (1067 mm). QGR, the Queensland Government Railway, was the face of main and branch line operations until the system was corporatised as QR, or Queensland Rail.
National Competition Policy has had a tremendous effect on QR's operations, even though the basic infrastructure remains in QR's hands. QR National bids on rail freight work from Perth to Sydney and the NSW coal fields, and Pacific National operates trains over QR tracks from the NSW border through Brisbane to Cairns.
Meanwhile the even narrower gauge sugar mill railways are amongst the heaviest haulers in the country during the crushing season and their infrastructure standards often meet or exceed QR's.
And who knows what the future will bring... other operating companies have even been bidding on Queensland's lucrative coal hauling contracts.
Sugar Mill railways
This site developed and maintained for Queensland's rail heritage providers. Contents provided for non-commercial use only and are copyright © A C Lynn Zelmer or as indicated. last updated: 11/01/12 [lz: lynn @ zelmeroz.com].