Blackall freight depot
Country living near Blackall
Unloading freight at the old Blackall station. The station building has been moved into a theme park in town. Bout the platform and a water
tank still stand.
This pub across the road from the platform is a great place to
wait for the mixed to depart for Yaraka. XXXX on tap
The Yaraka mixed crews air-conditioned van with all mod-cons.
Gone are the days when the passengers traveled in luxury and the crew
sweated it out in rough conditions
Don't forget to take along a thermos for a cup of tea. I bought this
thermos in an FDB store for $5.99 before I boarded the train.
Main street of Blackall
A good bakery in Blackall (at the
southern end of the town) There are plenty of pubs selling great counter
lunches and evening meals.
The black stump a 10 minute walk from
the center of town
Double click on the image to enlarge to
read the history of "beyond the black stump"
Blackall street scene
The Blackall wool Scour. Hot artesian
bore water was used to wash the wool. The Scour is now being lovingly restored by the Blackall Historical society.
Ron was our tour guide of the Scour.
Tours are run daily. Call or visit the Blackall tourist information
center. The Scour is well worth a visit.
The old Blackall station at the theme
park. Modern day rail passengers now alight at the Blackall rail freight
Most of the coal goes to S.E.
Asian countries where it is used for electricity generation.
Double click on images to enlarge
News - 8th September 2005
|I well imagined that it
wouldn't be too long before I'd hear an announcement to say that the
branch line from Jericho to Yaraka would finally be closed. The
announcement finally came today. Here's the link, I'll let you read
the sad news.
News - 1st April 2001
|QR rail have now banned
passengers from traveling on the Yaraka mixed and also the Hughenden
to Winton mixed. The following information was provided by John
Coyle of the QLD Citizens for Public Transport. Johns email address
As from 1 March 2001 the schedule and days of operation of the
Yaraka freight service have been altered significantly. These
alterations are a result of substantial community consultation in an
effort to reduce costs associated with the operation of this
service. The train now commences from Rockhampton on Thursday at
9:40am and continues to Yaraka arriving at 8:35am on Friday. It then
returns to Rockhampton arriving on Saturday at 2:12pm.
This change retains a livestock service to Blackall on Fridays,
without the cost of operating a second service.
This new service connects with Brisbane freight loading and is
designed to service the people of Yaraka and provide a livestock
pickup service at Blackall upon its return.
Traveltrain (or passenger Services Group as we now form part
of) does not control this service or the Hughenden to Winton train.
The control of these trains comes under the recently formed Coal and
Freight Services Group.
To enable QR to comply with the environmental legislation
controlling the discharge and treatment of sewerage, retention
toilets are to be installed on all Traveltrain passenger services.
Long distance services will be upgraded first, followed by tourist
trains such as the Savannahlander and Gulflander.
The cost of upgrading a TGV vehicle to current QR safety management
standards for conveyance of passengers has been estimated in excess
of $250,000 per van. This, coupled with an expected minimal number
of passengers, confirms this service is not a viable opportunity for
QR. More information on mixed trains Australia and worldwide go to
On the 27th of January 1999 I rode from Blackall to Yaraka
and back to Jericho aboard the Yaraka mixed. It had been many years since I had ridden on
a mixed train. I thought they were a thing of the past. The rail line to Yaraka on a map
appeared to be a line to nowhere. Surprising it is still operational in 1999
and, delivers the mail.
The locals assured me that the line will never be closed. I somewhat believe them as
the section of track between Emmet and Yaraka is lined with new wooden sleepers waiting to
The train starts from Emerald departing there at 12.50am every Wednesday morning
arriving back at Emerald the next afternoon. Departure time from Yaraka is 6.45 pm.
every Wednesday. Telephone the station master at Emerald a day or 2 before to let
him know you wish to travel.
When I asked him how often people traveled on the train, he told me about 2 people a month
make the journey.
Queensland Rail does not seem to advertise the train in print. But I was informed about it
by a Q.R. tourist officer at the Roma Street booking office. Maybe she thought the train
had tourist potential. If she did I'd agree with her. But, if the past is any view of the
future, tourists will discover it the day after the service is discontinued.
The interior of the TGV van passenger compartment. The 3 long seats make comfortable
berths. The table on the left has a stainless steel top. Great for food prep. If you're
doing the round trip a small stove for a cup of tea or coffee might add up to a bit of
fun. . Bring a water container, refill at the various stops. The floor and seats were
covered in fine red dust. The train shunts at Blackall on the up journey at mid day. There
are plenty of pubs in town serving counter lunches.
Loco and TGV at Emmet. Never have got around to asking someone why the passenger car is
first behind the loco instead of at the end of the train as of in the heyday of
mixed trains, goods trains with passenger accommodation and express freight trains with
Arrival at Emmet
Note the water tank on the right side of the station building. I filled my water
bottles, washed off some dust and took a few pics while the crew did some shunting
This farmer (he had 2 lambs in the back of that ute) came down to pick up his mail from
the train. I didn't know at the time that the Yaraka mixed was also a mail train.
Pauline Hansons wish to return Australia to the 1950's really has come true!!!!
On arrival at Yaraka the crew informed me I had about an hour before departure. I could
see about 4 houses and about 4 street lights and a pub. I headed for the pub. The barmaid
informed me that nothing had changed over the years. The train had always delivered the
mail. So it wasn't Paulines doing! Yaraka is still in the '50's. The barmaid informed me
that the locals were recently asked, what did they want, the rail service to continue or
the roads sealed. They chose to continue the rail service. She told me that the hotel will
prepare meals for the rail travelers on their arrival if they inform the train crew
who will call through to the hotel. Yaraka welcomes rail enthusiasts and tourists.
On arrival at Jericho at 6am the following morning I alighted to connect with the Spirit
of the Outback. I had a wash under the station water tank and took breakfast at the cafe
opposite the station. The station mistress arrived at 8am. I told her I had arrived on the
mixed from Yaraka. She was amazed that someone would spend a night traveling on "that
thing" She informed me that when the Yaraka mixed passed the previous
morning (up) it was about 2 hours late, quote "due to problems in getting over the
range". She (the station mistress) also said the train was quote "longer than
Note the sign on the far left of the image above
"Detrain here for Blackall-Yaraka". Double click to enlarge the
The arrival of the "Spirit" as the locals called it was on time. Once on board I
claimed my berth, showered and headed to the dining car for grilled fish, salad, delicious
damper (made on board) and a glass of slightly chilled Chardonnay for lunch.
I recently traveled on the Indian Pacific and the Ghan (also the XPT but I wont mention
that). The Spirit of the Outback beats both theses trains for comfort, accommodation and
dining facilities. Congratulations Q.R. you're doing a great job.
The last leg of the Q.R. journey to Brisbane. Ready for departure at Rocky
|On returning to Clermont on the
Blair Athol tour we stopped at Copperfield just outside of town. Once the
scene of a thriving copper mine. When the general store closed back
in the late 60's none of the stock was removed. Now the store and it's
stock are a tourist attraction.
Unloading freight at Yaraka station
The general store at Yaraka
This image and the following images were taken at the Blair Athol coal
mine. Tours of the mine from Clermont (115 kms from Emerald) are free and
run every Tuesday and Thursday. Call the Emerald tourist office.
Clermont street scene
Blair Athol was once a quite peaceful little town until someone
discovered one of the worlds best deposits of steaming coal. All that
remains of the town as of Dec. 1999 is one telegraph pole.
Ever wondered how they change one of those big tyres?. Here's the
machine they do it with.
This steam shovel began its
working life in Mt Morgan in the 1920's. Restored by BAC it is now a
working exhibit, running on compressed air.