North West NSW

I arranged with a friend to head to the North West of NSW in the weekend, hunting trains of course. The photos have mixed results, and due to overcast weather, and the fact both my camera and I struggle with the lighting in these conditions, the photos have required a fair bit more post-processing than normal, and even then some haven’t come out that great – such is life, and I did learn a few tricks along the way to help improve my photos in the future.

I tried to get more photos of the landscape where a train just happened to be in it, but the majority are fairly stock standard train type photos. I hope you enjoy …

Day One

On the way up, I thought I would spend some time on the Central Coast as a number of freight trains were due to converge there around lunchtime. Unfortunately due to the flooding up north, and the usual late running from the south, it was not to be – all I managed was a southbound Qube service through Koolewong, though it did have the bonus of being lead by GL110 and more importantly 1103. 1103 is fairly new on the scene being a full rebuild by NREC of ex US equipment.

Whilst there, I also took a shot of V16 – important in that these beloved EMUs are starting to be phased out, depsite there being no real replacement for them yet.

After that it was up north to meet the guys which involved more time chasing them as they moved from one location to the next, than chasing trains … oh well. First stop once there was Willow Tree, where TT109/TT112/TT105 had just arrived, and were waiting for the bankers 8225/8244/8220 to attach for the run up to Ardglen.

We then moved on to Werris Creek by which time it was already dusk – sad to see the hulks of 8022/8014/8028/80??/8006 rusting away in a siding.

Around the turntable was an impressive assortment of locos (maily 48s and 80s, but a 45, an 85, a BL, an 81, and in the yard a few 82s also present) but none of my photos turned out. Then we got word of an IRA train headed our way, so moved back down towards Quirindi to try and catch it – again I struggled with the light as MZ1437/MZ14?? raced through.

Then it was back to Werris Creek Station for some night photography, though it seems my lens was dirty causing unwanted splotches of light.

Whilst there a Qube service came through lead by RL306/1101 – again 1101 being a novelty for the same reason as 1103 earlier in the day. I had given up taking photos by this point, and pulled out the old point and shoot for a video – pity I didn’t straighten out the tripod correctly …

Day Two
We started the morning by hearing the RMS had 621/721 headed to Tamworth for the music festival.

We also saw a headlight in the distance suggesting something else was on it’s way, so moved to Ardglen to find TT103/TT102/TT111 with an empty coalie.

The boys moved on to Werris Creek to catch 621/721 again, and I got stuck in traffic, leaving me to chase the TTs instead.

The length of these coal trains never ceases to amaze me.

By the time I got to Werris Creek, I had missed the railmotor by about a minute. We decided to chase the TTs which eventually lead us to Gunnedah, but they were moving quick so the opportunities were few. The TTs did get held at Curlewis to allow 8248/8254/8251 with a loaded coalie through the other way. This is one of my favourite two shots of the weekend …

This also gave me time to move ahead to catch the TTs one last time.

At Gunnedah station, we timed it right for the arrival of the Xplorer, giving me the other of my two favourtie shots.

There wasn’t a lot of action at the Manildra mill due to the Xplorer, and a Whitehaven coalie about to come through, as the setup there requires shunting on the main line. Ex 49 class MM02 was seen waiting in the sidings, and around the corner we saw the other shunter lurking.

Then for the Whitehaven coalie lead by WH002/WH001/WH003 – this train lead us on a chase back to Werris Creek.

I paused for a while between Willow Tree and Ardglen to try and catch the WHs again, but they were held at Willow Tree to allow the northbound Xplorer through Рan impressive seven car set (usually five I think which splits at Werris Creek, but again the Tamworth music festival adds to the rail scene).

At this point two of the boys headed back to Sydney, and I met up with the other one again at Ardglen, where of course we saw the WHs, banked by 8225/8244/8220. They paused at Ardglen to allow 8205/8237/8201 to bring an empty down the hill.

The bankers returned down the hill, my memory card became full, and for the last shot I resorted to the camera phone.
2012-01-28 16.12.07

Then it was back to Sydney for me also – I had the chance to get the WHs again around Singleton, but they passed as I had dinner – oh well. Thus ends two days and about 1000km of gunzelling …