It's the middle of winter at the moment, so not a lot has been happening operations wise. There has however been some major progress on the environmental front, part of the ongoing process of reclaiming degraded weed infested land.
This scene looks completely different compared to only a few months ago. This area was so degraded the only solution was a scorched earth policy, with a large amount of contaminated top soil removed along with all existing vegetation. Replanting with native grasses and moss is now largely complete, it looks better already!
Also complete now is a deviation of the main line between Falls Loop and tunnel 2. This section was previously on decking attached to the fence, which generally looked pretty ugly. The line now follows a new fully landscaped alignment, which required building two new bridges, a number of small culverts and a new tunnel. The Ballarat tram is seen here crossing one of the new bridges in the up hill direction.
The Ballarat tram has also had some long overdue workshop attention, including a good clean, paint touch up and some new signs. Operating outside can be tough on the equipment, just like in full size things get scratched and dirty! Here at Gang Gang siding there is also now direct sun even in winter, after the removal of some black wattles. Even though the black wattles are a native, they're not really a suitable tree for this area so some more appropriate planting has taken place instead.
The new sunny patch has become a good place for photos in winter. Since the tramway follows south facing hillsides for much of the route the low winter sun means many parts are in shadow for much of the day. 51M on a down service.
At the same spot, heading back in the up hill direction with most of the goods wagon fleet. The goods wagons were on a test run after lubricating all the axleboxes.
The toast rack tram heading in the uphill direction.
34M catches the last bit of winter sun between Currawong Loop and tunnel 3.
Also finally got around to taking a group photo of the little green locomotive fleet.
The tramway has also relatively recently acquired a diesel electric loco. It has proved to be a useful workhorse, especially for the more mundane and dirty jobs we don't want to use the passenger motor cars for. It has been interesting seeing the transition from what was originally a very small scale operation with tiny rollingstock, to one where the distances and gradients involved mean that speed and power actually mean something.
Approaching a very green Grasslands Loop on a winter afternoon.
And departing for West Grasslands.
The driver contemplates a long night ahead, on a nocturnal operation to collect and store rollingstock safely before a winter storm. This is the kind of job that the diesel electric is well suited for.
Approaching the new un numbered tunnel (between 1 and 2) on the deviation. The old alignment was just out of view to the left.
It was a brave and intrepid photographer that captured this long exposure on a winter night.
With no moon Gang Gang siding is a very dark and very quiet place.