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Wheels in Motion (BOOK)

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Wheels in Motion (BOOK)

In Queensland there are 23 sugar mills that have their sugar cane delivered by tramways.
This book covers the basic history of each sugar mill, current tramway map, steam and diesel photographs, lists and memories from past and present crews to put you in the drivers seat.

(Excerpt)

INTRODUCTION:

In Queensland there are 23 sugar mills that have their sugar cane delivered by tramways.

Over the last 100 years the locomotives have undergone a lot of changes with the withdrawal of steam engines, introduction of diesels with Clydes - Comengs, to the former NSW 73 Class , QR DH's, Westrail M Class.

In August 1997, I asked the question of the mills, '`What used to run, what is their current locomotive fleet and what happened to withdrawn locomotives?"

As this subject was researched, any book would be incomplete without the input of past/present men who worked on steam locomotives. Some employees have been retired for 10 years, with the remainder just about to retire with 40-48 years' of service with one mill.

They also supplied photos from their valuable collection, sharing memories that were the norm in every mill ~ like picking up fruit along the lines, putting beer in the sandboxes from farmers for extra bins, cooking meals on the shovel, passion for a steam engine and respect of their fellow workers.

In June 1954 saw the first 18 ton O-6-0 Clyde enter service at Hambledon Mill. Steam locomotives were phased out with the arrival of Comengs and Baldwin locomotives, finally ending at Marian Mill in 1982.

The days of smoke signal went, with radios operating between locomotive crews and traffic office, to satellite tracking of locomotives.

For some mills the bigger engines have replaced smaller locomotives, with some being scrapped or sold overseas.

Equal opportunity has seen women enter the workforce as drivers' assistants and diesel drivers.

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