Monday, 11 February 2019

Stories from Billabong Marina

Today we are on a shunting trip from Boydtown Yard to Billabong Wharf. Trains to the Wharf are short but today’s trip train is even shorter. It’s just two wagons and a guard's van.

Unlike other trips which require the crew to actually shunt their train, the Billabong Wharf trip is a little more relaxing. The train crew drops off the train and lets the local shunters do all the work.

After checking the paperwork, we walk to our loco 4711 in the Boydtown Yard Loco Sidings. We move forward, change the points and roll back into Siding 5 to pick up our train. The load is for Billabong Marina. The first wagon is a tank car for the oil depot, the second is an ice chilled van (TRC) for Fine Fish, the fish co-op.

We’re given the green light and whistle out of the yard and onto the mainline. We trundle along the middle road of the main station between Platforms 1 and 2. It’s getting late in the afternoon and a couple of the commuter trains stand in these platforms behind 46 class locos. From here the line loops around and we head back towards the yard we just left but sticking to the mainline, we avoid the yard and rumble through Boydtown Station and in the the tunnel.

Just before we reach Eden, we need to slow down for the turn out onto Platform 3. There is a suburban electric set in Platform 2 waiting for its path back to town. There are a lot of tunnels on this line and we plunge into another one.

Before too long we reach Billabong Junction. Here, a single line leaves for our waterside destination.

We pull into Billabong Wharf station, cut off from the train and edge forward to the cattle siding.

An X200 rail tractor and its crew couple up to the rear of the train and pulls it back away from the mainline.

When the train is clear, we move 4711 onto the mainline, just clear of the points. We secure the loco and chat to the crew of X210 as they move the train back to the station.

There is a bit of discussion about shunting movements, but more importantly, a discussion of giving us a ride over to the Marina so that we can grab some fish and chips.

The train is propelled on the bridge where the guard’s van, an MHG, is placed into the cattle siding. It can be added to the rear of the train when the shunting is finished.

After recoupling to the train, the TRC is the first wagon to be spotted into place but not before we get off at the Marina platform. The oil tank is pushed to the side of the Fine Fish building, out of the way so that the TRC can be placed on the track inside the building. When that job is done, X210 leaves the oil tank so that it can run around it. This involves a lap of the dockside complex.

The oil tank is pushed to the depot. The empty tank car currently in the depot is removed first and placed on the line near the coolibah tree. The full tank is placed in the depot confines. The empty tank is left where it is. It will be picked up later.

X210 runs back pasts Fine Fish, the bakery and Billabong Shipping to Billabong Wharf. It’s next pick up is a VLX on the kick back siding on the waterfront. To get this van, the crew need to clear an MLV louvre van out of the way first to create enough space to pull the VLX from the siding.

From the other side of the water, munching on hot chips, we can see that the MLV is placed in the platform temporarily. Pulling the VLX out, X210 reverses out of the wharf sidings pushing the van. Then it moves forward to couple up to the MLV on the other side of it. Pulling and pushing, the rail tractor returns the MLV to its spot.

The crew of X210 propel the VLX onto the empty tank car and carry onto the Marina platform to pick us up. Sharing the odd chip or two, we make our way back to the Wharf. As the shunters reverse to collect the guard’s van, we walk over to our loco, 4711, which has been sitting patiently for us.

X210 places the train in the platform and moves away. We move onto the train, check the paperwork, complete a brake test and when we are given the road, blow the horn before leaving. It is a short journey back to the mainline to Boydtown Yard and soon enough we are clattering over the points and on our way home.
At Eden, the line to Boydtown Yard leaves the mainline on the down side of Platform 1. We take the fork and arrive in Siding 5. We leave the train here and run 4711 to the loco sidings. It’s time for a coffee before we’re given another short trip train to run. That’s a story for another day.

Until next time.

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