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Kuranda Scenic Railway

Australia hosts many narrow gauge tourist trains, as well as some mainlines that were never converted to standard gauge. At one time there were thousands of miles of 42" gauge railways in Australia.  One of these is shown here from a vacation in 1993.
The Kuranda Scenic Railway runs from Cairns (Queensland) north to Kuranda and return, about 34 kilometers each way. Tracks are three-foot six-inch gauge on immaculate mainline right-of-way.

The line was begun in 1882 by Christie Palmerston and completed in June 1891, to serve miners in the area. Dense jungle and cliffs with sheer drops of up to 327 metres and a slope as steep as 45 degrees were literal death traps for workers. Without modern equipment but simply fortitude, dynamite, and bare hands the team eventually finished the job, after removing 2.3 million cubic meters of earthwork, creating 15 tunnels, 93 curves, dozens of bridges, and 75 kilometres of track.

Purple and cream coaches pulled by diesel power carry a large audience over the spectacular eastern coastline of northern Queensland. Numerous spindly bridges, short tunnels, water falls, and tropical rain forest keep the camera clicking.

There is now a cable car, known as the Kuranda Skyrail, to view the rain forest from above, not present in 1993 during my visit. Locomotives are more modern today and carriages boast LCD televison screens pointing out the scenic wonders visible from the windows. A short side trip to the aboriginal theater and art gallery at Kuranda are must-see cultural attractions.

Photos by the author takenin 1993, exceot as noted.


Above: My photos

Kuranda Scenic Railway bridge over Barron Falls. Locomotive here is bright white GE 6-axle unit with only
 10 tons per axle so it is pretty gentle on the trackwork. Photo from Wikipedia.

Below: Images from postcards and KSR brochure

Postcards -- Stoney Creek Falls with diesel train (top), Barron Falls (middle), Stoney Creek again with steam locomotive on the point (bottom)

Freshwater Connection Station (top), Freshwater Restaurant (middle), and Kuranda Station (bottom)

Souveneir Ticket and Boarding Pass