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Friday, August 25, 2017

Savannahlander Trip–Day One

Another catch-up blog, now we are back in internet range.  Another day, another train ride – it can’t get much better than that!  We had our bags packed and ready to go for a 8.30am departure from Forsayth on the Savannahlander train, this trip takes two days.  And there she is – glowing in the early morning sunshine, and looking good.

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All aboard

Wil and Leigh were our drivers for the trip, and a couple of good keen Aussies they were too.  In fact, we had seen them on the TV series Australian Railroad a couple of years ago, so they were really quite famous, in a quiet Aussie blokey sort of way. 

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Wil telling us some info while Leigh gets on with the driving

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View through the front window

We chugged along the track, over the Delany River bed and through the dry, dusty country.  Finally stopping at the highest point of the trip, 2500ft, for morning tea.  As the wonderfully carved sign proclaimed, we were at Café Bloodwood.  And here we are, with a couple more souvenir mugs to take home.

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Morning tea at the open air Café Bloodwood

The three “rail motors” (in NZ we call them rail cars) used for the trip were 2000 class with motors in each carriage.  Previously fitted with Rolls Royce engines, these were not at all reliable and were later repowered with Cummins turbo diesel engines.  The carriages are owned by Queensland Heritage Rail Stock.

We stopped at the Einasleigh Hotel (population 35) in the middle of nowhere for lunch.  Where we could have wraps, wraps, or wraps, or maybe a meat pie with a heart burn tablet,  Wil had informed us.

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Lunch stop
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And there’s our train waiting for us
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Wil collecting the section token to let the train safely on it’s way

It was very interesting how the ground cover can change so quickly as we travelled along.  From bare, barren dirt, to dry grasses, small scrubby trees to plenty of large leafy ones, and back again.  Plus of course the ever present termite mounds dotted everywhere.

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Termite mounds dotted everywhere

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Grass growing in the railway tracks

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Not all the streams were dry

We arrived at Mt Surprise early in the afternoon, and just had time to check into out accommodation and  drop the bags off.   We were staying at Bedrock Tourist Park.  I think Barnie and Wilma might have lived here earlier.  This was our third stay in tourist parks this trip and our self contained cabin in Bedrock was the nicest cabin by far.

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Arriving at Bedrock

No time for a cuppa - we jumped on the bus to take us out to our tour through the Undara Lava Tubes.  Then the following day we have a full day of train travel to look forward to.

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