Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Queensland’s Kingaroy, Proston, Windera, Tarong & Nanango Branches (Part 1)

At Theebine on the North Coast Railway Line of Queensland, a line branched off to Kingaroy which has closed recently. Partway up the branch at Murgon were further branches to Proston and Windera. At Kingaroy there were two branches running out to Tarong and Nanango. As far as I can tell Windera, Tarong and Nanango closed in the 1960s. Proston was cut back to Byee to serve local industry, later on it was used to store several rakes of hopper wagons. These wagons were moved out mid 2008. The line was formally closed December 2009. Formal closure in Australia, like NZ, is not so common these days as mothballing is more often seen particularly in NSW and latterly in NZ. The closure of this line means the track will be lifted, but there are proposals to convert the Kingaroy route into a rail trail.
One of the classical existing features of the branch is its single deck parallel road and rail bridge near Theebine (Dickabram Bridge). The bridge is about 200 metres in length and is steel trusses with wooden approach spans. Some pictures/video clips of this bridge that I have seen suggest it is in very poor condition. However Wikipedia says it was extensively restored in April 2009, but apparently this was with road traffic in mind. It is my understanding that the bridge is too weak for rail traffic which has helped to close the line. The bridge is 23 metres high, yet in 1898 there was a flood so big that the water was one metre over the decking.
(photo credits: Wikipedia)
Now my good friend Steve (wheel5800 on Flickr and Youtube) has also done some videoing of the line, mostly I believe around May 2008 when QR went into retrieve the rakes of wagons that were stored on the Byee Branch at Murgon. Here are some of his clips:

There are Parts 2 and 3 of this series as well, I haven’t shown them here.

This clip was taken at Theebine. The Queensland 1720 class locomotives are mechanically similar to our DBR class.
This last one comes from another author.
Part 2 will show you some features of the line in Google Maps with an overlay from NZ Rail Maps.