Another visit was made to Eyre Peninsula system in January 2006.
Operations at that time were:
Kimba and Wudinna were the termini for both lines, with no grain trains running beyond those locations since at least the last season.
Train times to Wudinna are extreme with 17 km of per-way restricted to 10 km/h.
Barracks at both Minnipa and Lock are condemned and are not used by ARG crews but leased out to Viterra for use by the silo workers, crews if staying overnight use the Minnipa Hotel.
Barracks were still in use at Rudall.
An overnight train ran to Cummins bunker most days.
Another train was running to Lock and then then Wudinna on alternate days.
Lock trains drop empty waggons off at Murdinga and Tooligie as required and pickup on the return.
Wudinna trains drop off at Kyancutta.
Another train set operates to Rudall, Darke Peak and Kimba. With the timetable being: Rudall and return one day, then Kimba and return the second day, and then to Darke Peak and return on the third day. Then it starts over again back to Rudall.
The line from Yeelanna to Kapinnie is very much out of service. My last trip about 3 years ago had a train on it but I missed it.
A local trucking outfit (Quinns) is doing road cartage direct to Port Lincoln from points north of Wudinna.
At Lock on the 8th of January: 842(AN-AS)-1204(ARG)-851(ARG), on the north end of the rake loading. By 1920 hrs the locos had run round and the train was departing for Port Lincoln.
On the 9th 842(AN-AS)-1204(ARG)-851(ARG) ran the train to Wudinna, the northern limit of train operations since last season.
Times: Crew change took place at the 200 km post, Kyancutta Tanks Rd 1705 hrs Kyancutta 1715 to 1725 dropped off empties Arrived Wudinna 1815 hrs.
1204 had air-conditioning problems the day before, that is why it was not leading.
On the 10th: 1204 was back leading the empty train to Lock.
Times being: Cummins 1220 to 1233, attach 6 empty hoppers left over from the overnight bunker train.
Yeelanna, 1300 to 1310, drop off empty hoppers.
Karkoo, 1335 hrs. And under the load-out at Lock at 1640.
On the 11th: 906 was shunting Port Lincoln yard.
1203(ARG)-850(AN-AS)-905(ARG) on the empty train to Wudinna.
Out of Port Lincoln at 1045. Thru Tooligie 1415. Thru Murdinga 1444. Warramboo 1640 to 1649 drop empty hoppers. Kyancutta drop empty hoppers 1735 to 1749.
Arrival at Wudinna 1831 hrs.
The Kevin gypsum trains were still running 3 return trips per day and using extra crews from both Port Lincoln and Port Augusta.
The big change noted was the repainting of the NJ class into Australian Railroad Group or ARG orange and black livery and the renumbering to the 1600 series, NJ 1 has subsequently became 1601 and so on. 1601 also lost its original NJ 1 name 'Ben Chifley'. NJ 3 was still in Australian National green and yellow, but was wearing Australian Southern decals.
Observations for Friday the 13th January 2006 were:
1604(ARG), NJ 3(AN-AS) and 1601(ARG) loaded gypsum train 6DD2, 436 km peg, 0813 hrs.
Arrival at Thevenard 0849 hrs and proceeding straight to the GRA (Gypsum Resources Australia) unloader to start unloading.
Ageing ALCo unit 871 was sitting in the maintenance centre yard looking very unloved.
Sitting in Thevenard yard after crew change and waggon inspection, 1604 again lead the empty working (train 6DD3) back out to Kevin departing Thevenard at 0955 hrs.
Arrival at Kevin was 1200 hrs. Then the consist shunts around the triangle to commence loading on the mainline at 1230 hrs.
Arrived back in Thevenard as train 6DD4 at 1530 hrs, again straight to the unloader.
Seen again near the Speedway, 440km peg at 1730 hrs, heading back to Kevin for its third run as train 6DD5.
Train rake size was 58 waggons of ENH and ENHA type hopper waggons.
The line to Penong has the road crossing tracks removed at Penong.
And Moule is being used as the ballast loading siding.
Observations for the 2nd of November 2005 were:
Loco 871 (AN-AS) sitting in the Thevenard yard with an ENBA box van.
NJ 3 (AN-AS) at the maintenance centre.
Locos 1601 (ARG) and NJ 6 (AN-AS) shutdown out the front of the yard office.
For 10 days in early April 2003, I had the joy of driving around the isolated Eyre Peninsula division of Australian Southern Railroad.
There are 2 sections to this division, the largest being the section Port Lincoln to Nunjikompita with a branch off at Cummins to Buckleboo.
The line beyond Nunjikompita to Penong Junction is closed to normal traffic and only sees locomotive transfer moves between the main workshops
at Port Lincoln and the smaller service shop at Thevenard.
On the Port Lincoln section they had three departures a day from Port Lincoln, the first of which just after midnight departs for the large bunker facility at Cummins, loads with grain, then returns to Port Lincoln.
The second departure arrives at Kimba around 0500 hrs, the locos run-around then this train sets back to the bunker to the north of Kimba along the mainline to Buckleboo. With loading finishing around 1000 hrs the train then departs for Port Lincoln.
And the third train departure goes through Lock around 0630 hrs and drops off and picks up at 3 or 4 locations before reaching Poochera and after running around and swapping empty waggons for loaded waggons departs Poochera about 1300 hrs for the run back to Port Lincoln picking up the now loaded waggons dropped off on the way out.
Barracks in use during my trip where Minnipa and Rudall.
The weeks before they were using Lock and Cummins as they had more trains running.
Video features ALCo's 851, 842 and DA4 as they power away upgrade from Wharminda at 1420hrs 9th April 2003.
And the second division being isolated via disused rail, the Thevenard (Ceduna) to Penong line, although the section beyond Kevin to Penong is closed.
With the last grain train to Penong being back in 1997. In 2002 and 2003 the Australian Society of Section Car Operators Inc. operated a couple of runs along this line with Ministerial Approval. A link is here to a report by Nic Doncaster.
Kevin is a large scale gypsum mining operation operated by Gypsum Resources Australia (GRA), a company jointly owned by Boral and CSR, which requires three trains per day with fifty six waggons. In years past Kevin also produced salt as an outload as well.
Each ENH or ENHA type waggon carries about 33 tonnes of gypsum.
The method of loading is using two front-end style wheel loaders, in 2003 being Cat 988. At the time of my visit they were getting a train in at 0600hrs, loaded by 0700, then heading to Thevenard with arrival around 0930hrs where it runs straight to the unloader to commence unloading.
Once completed it then returns to Kevin with a fresh crew and arrives back there around 1300hrs. Repeating the above before arriving back at Kevin again around 1930hrs.
View of the sidings, infrastructure and buildings of the former SAR / AN narrow gauge Eyre Peninsula Division. Murdinga, Tooligie. Karkoo, Yeelanna, Cummins, Edillilie, Coomunga, Port Lincoln and Kapinnie.
View of the sidings, infrastructure and buildings of the former SAR / AN narrow gauge Eyre Peninsula Division. Warramboo, Kyancutta, Waddikee, Darke Peake, Kielpa, Rudall, Wharminda, Ungarra and Moody Tank - Rock.