This afternoon we rode the Gulflander diesel-powered rail motor train from Normanton in Queensland, Australia. It was a rock ‘n roll experience!
The railway was opened in 1898 to take gold from a long-abandoned goldfield of Croydon to the port or Normanton, on the Norman river. This river, which is often dry in winter months and floods in summer, flows to the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Since the gold petered out, the only use is a weekly mail run to isolated properties and some tourist runs in winter. We were lucky – a coach company had booked the train today. The driver and guard together switched the points to triangulate so we could turn around.
It was pretty rattly with a maximum permitted speed of 25mph, but travelled through some interesting countryside past gutterbircher trees, which are used overseas for rubber-making. Many of the birds round Normanton that look like brolgas are actually Sarus cranes.
I also had a swim at the brilliant 25metre pool at the Normanton caravan park. Best I’ve found in FNQ in my three days in the region!