Kuranda Scenic Railway
Skipper and First Mate Millard (Big Bear and Pepe)
Fri 24 Jun 2016 22:17
Kuranda Scenic Railway
A very exited Bear stood outside Central Station at eight this morning. Tickets in hand, off to Platform One.
We walked to the important and and of course, I got Bear to pose next to the engine, brightly painted with the Buda:dji (carpet snake).
Before climbing aboard we read the sign: The lowland area of Cairns, where you are now standing, was once a large natural swamp composed of sand ridges interspersed with freshwater paperbark swamps and saltwater mangroves. Aborigines from the Irukandji, Idindji and Konakandji clans used the area to hunt the abundant wildlife living in these swamps and adjacent coastal waters.
Europeans were first attracted to Cairns by the presence of a freshwater well, maintained by the Aborigines, where the city centre is today. However, it was the discovery of gold at the Palmer and Hodginkinson Rivers in the 1870’s that put Cairns on the map when its suitable, natural harbour was chosen to service the inland goldfields.
Cairns township began as a collection of tents which housed three hundred citizens until the arrival of timber from Maryborough in southern Queensland. The town was later transformed when rock and soil (from the quarries at Edge Hill and Aeroglen) were used to fill the swamps. (Today’s streets still follow the lines of the sand ridges.)
It soon became apparent that a rail link to the coast was needed to service the tin-mining town of Herberton. Rivalry was fierce between the ports of Innisfail, Cairns and Port Douglas, but Cairns was eventually chosen for its superior harbour. The first eight miles of track to Redlynch was opened on the 8th of October 1887.
A workforce of one thousand men worked on the next fifteen miles which took the railway up the hazardous range. This section, which included numerous bridges, ninety-eight curves and fifteen tunnels, claimed many lives from falls, blasting, accidents, snake bite and diseases such as malaria and scrub typhus. It was completed in 1891.
The railway journey has changed little over the last hundred years. Beyond the line, a wilderness not very different to the one experienced by the railway workers remains. We know that it contains some of the most precious tropical rainforest on earth.
Looking down the train and Bear gets aboard.
We pulled out at eight thirty, very few passengers, twenty minutes later were out in the countryside. The train pulled in to a station used by those needing to park their cars, hundreds were waiting to climb aboard.
Our first look along the train. The view after a steep climb.
The view we had waited for.
The view from the brochure.
Our driver slowed down to allow us all views of the Bridal Veil Falls on the left.
Looking back as we crossed the bridge.
The train and the falls.
An old picture...........
.........on one of the carriage roof supports.
Scenery along the way and Cairns
Looking back to the bridge and falls.
Massive granite boulders. The second had the Italian flag flying due to the numbers of immigrant rail workers.
Tiny visitors along the way.
Our stop at Barron Falls.
Kuranda line and the station memorial.
A lovely refreshments menu in the gift shop-cum-cafe.
Kuranda Station taken on the 1st of December 1924 and so similar today. Off to explore Kuranda Village.
ALL IN ALL A WONDERFUL JOURNEY
BEAUTIFUL SCENERY, AMAZING ENGINEERING FOR IT’S DAY