Today was a trip to Queenstown and to take mum (and us) on a trip on the wilderness rail. The trip normally runs Queenstown to Strahan and return. The package is normally rail in one direction and bus the other, however, Mother Nature had stepped in and a landslide has closed part of the track so it was Queenstown to Dubbil Barril and return. As luck would have it this is actually the best part of the tour. Now to explain straight up about Dubbil Barril that is our sign for today and there is a story to it, which is too long for the blog. That is actually the spelling as accurate as the sign says.
|Queenstown Wilderness Rail station|
The train runs from Queenstown to Lynchford, Rinadeena, Dubbil Barril and terminating at Strahan and is a rack and pinion rail system designed by Roman Abt . This helps the train transverse the 1:16 grades through the hills along the King and Queen rivers. This is the steepest gradients in the southern hemisphere and well above the usual 1:40 most rail systems are happy with. The history of the rail link and its life is amazing and is a testament to the developer's. The Lyell mining and rail company was formed in 1892 to put a rail or tram car from Queenstown to Strahan to service the Queenstown mines with the rail being completed in1896. To say that living and working was difficult is an understatement and the completion was a significant feat. Their motto was “we find away or make it”. We would have liked to go premium class but unfortunately we could only get “cattle class” (thanks Gavin can’t get that out of our heads) but in fact it was quite good.
|"Cattle class" accommodation|
|Our little loco's|
The workmanship in the carriages was fantastic especially when you consider these are reproductions of the original carriages. Our orator for the journey was Tom and he was brilliant as a story teller/showman keeping us entertained. We would recommend this to anyone and is well worth the money. Queenstown itself is recovering from its early years with a lot of work being done to recover the Queen river and the hinterland. Apparently there is still about 50 years supply of copper in them thar hills.
|Dubbil Barril Station sign|
|King River Gorge|
Tomorrow it’s cruising the Gordon and off to Hobart.