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 trains running beyond since at least the last season.
Train times to Wudinna are extreme with 17 km of per-way restricted to 10 Kph!
Barracks at both Minnipa and Lock are condemned and not used by ARG, but leased out to the grain contractors!
Barracks still used at Rudall.
Overnight train to Cummins bunker most days.
Another train running to Lock one day, then Wudinna the next.
Lock train drops off at Murdinga and Tooligie as required.
Wudinna train drops at Kyancutta.
Another train runs to Rudall, Darke Peak and Kimba with the timetable being run to Rudall and return one day,
to Kimba and return the next, then to Darke Peak and return on the third day. Then it starts over again.
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 is doing the 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 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's 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. 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, NJ1 became 1601 and so on.
1601 also lost its original NJ1 name 'Ben Chifley'. NJ3 was still in Australian National green and yellow, but wearing Australian Southern decals.
Observations for Friday the 13th January 2006 were:
1604(ARG), NJ3(AN-AS) and 1601(ARG) loaded gypsum train 6DD2, 436 km peg, 0813 hrs.
Arrival at Thevenard 0849 hrs, proceeds straight to the unloader to start unloading.
Ageing Alco unit 871 sitting in the maintenance centre yard looking very dis-owned.
Sitting in Thevenard yard after crew change and wagon inspection, 1604 again lead the empty working (train 6DD3) back out to Kevin departing Thevenard at 0955 hrs.
Arrival at Kevin at 1200 hrs. Shunt around the triangle, commence loading on the mainline at 1230 hrs.
Arrived back in Thevenard as train 6DD4 at 1530 hrs, 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 wagons.
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.
NJ3 (AN-AS) at the maintenance centre.
Locos 1601 (ARG) and NJ6 (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 Railroads' network.
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 loco workshop
at Port Lincoln and the service shop at Thevenard.
On the Port Lincoln section they had 3 departures a day from Port Lincoln, the first, just after midnight a train heads for the bunkers at Cummins, loads with grain, then heads back to
Port Lincoln, the second arrives at Kimba around 0500 hrs, locos run-around, then this train sets back to the bunkers north of Kimba on the Buckleboo mainline.
With loading finishing around 1000 hrs, the train then heads back to Port Lincoln. And the third train goes through Lock around 0630 hours, and drops off and picks
up at 3 or 4 locations before reaching Poochera and after running around, and swapping loaded wagons for empties, leaves Poochera about 1300 hrs to head back to Port Lincoln,
picking up loaded wagons 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.
The below video is of Alco's 851, 842 and DA4 as they power away upgrade from Wharminda on the 9th April, 2003 at 1420 hrs.
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 train to Penong being back in 1998.
Kevin is a large scale gypsum mining operation which requires 3 trains per day of 56 wagons a train. In years past it conveyed salt out as well.
From memory the manager told me that about 30 tonnes of gypsum goes in each wagon (I should have written it down!!).
The method of loading is using 2 front-end style wheel loaders, (Cat 988). At the time of my visit they were getting a train in at 0600 hrs, loaded by 0700.
This train then heads to Thevenard, arrival about 0930 hrs. It runs straight into the unloader to commence unloading.
Once completed, it then returns to Kevin with a fresh crew and arrives there around 1300 hrs. Repeating the above, before arriving back at Kevin again around 1930 hrs.