Leonie is currently on a trip across Australia and will be blogging her trip details.
Touch of Paradise Part 4
I had not intended to Blog again so soon but the events of yesterday are worth reporting.
We awoke to clear skies and sunshine!!! Hooray.
We caught the Old Steam Train that travels on Sundays only between Ravenshoe and Tumoulin and back again. We had heard the old engine being fired up from mid-morning so we were looking forward to the trip. The railway is run by volunteers and I think they were as excited as we were. There were 108 passengers on board including one very pregnant woman, many children of various ages and a boy in a wheelchair. Some were sitting outside in the open carriages but we had chosen a more sheltered seat. We sat in an old carriage with real leather seats and wind-up windows. To entertain the children, at various spots, stuffed animals had been hung in the trees and given interesting names like ‘Bunyip Billabong’.
At Tumoulin we had the opportunity to purchase afternoon tea or other refreshments while the locomotive was shunted around to the other end of the train for the return journey. Everything was going smoothly and I was deep in conversation with another passenger when suddenly it felt like we were being dragged along a very rocky road and we realised we had been derailed. It seemed to take about 20 – 30 seconds to stop the train. Luckily we were not going very fast and the carriages remained upright, which was lucky as it was a long way down. No-one was hurt. I quickly grabbed my camera and tried to take pictures out of the window but couldn’t see much.
Obviously the train was going nowhere. I heard a volunteer say they had never had a derailment before. But the volunteers were calm, controlled and seemingly unperturbed. We climbed down from the train and as it was only 1-1.5Km back to Ravenshoe, we decided to walk. I managed a couple of photos of the derailed wheels. We were given the option to wait for rescue and most people chose that option. We were told to wait at the bridge but we ignored that advice and walked all the way back although crossing the bridge was a little hairy. Shortly after we crossed over, the SES came and stopped people from crossing.
We suspect this may be the last trip for a while. There is some work for the volunteers to do before they can run it again and probably a lot of paperwork to be attended to. Walking back, we could see that most of the sleepers under the track were badly rotted away but whether this was responsible for the incident, I couldn’t say.
Today we travelled on to Herberton and visited the Herberton Historic Village. This is very interesting and well worth a visit.