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Queensland Train Page

East End Branch and Fisherman's Landing Branch

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The East End Branch and Fisherman’s Landing Branch were constructed to transport limestone from the Cement Australia East End quarry near Mt Larcom to its Fisherman’s Landing processing plant and port facility about twenty kilometers north of Gladstone.

A slurry pipeline was used for transporting the raw material but an expansion of operations at the mine and a limited supply of water made the rail transport of the product a better option. The East End line was subject to some opposition in the early stages of planning due to residents concerns about noise from the trains and increased water usage at the mine but after negotiations the expansion and the line went ahead. Initially Cement Australia wanted to run its own trains on the line but was prevented due to opposition from Q.R and the lack of any development of a third party agreement.

The East End Branch is nearly twelve kilometers long including loading loop and departs the North Coast Line at Aldoga near the 557 km post. Just after cresting the grade it passes under Port Curtis Way as it heads across a historic cattle property called Mt Larcom Station.

Crossing the Bruce Highway via a preformed concrete bridge it then descends a long grade down to the loading loop. The line is laid to heavy haul standards with heavy rail and cement sleepers and large earthworks to ease grades.

The trains are loaded on a balloon loop that passes under a large storage silo and it is common for the train to make several trips a day. Click the link below for a Google earth view of the line.

The Fisherman’s Landing Branch departs the NCL behind Mt Miller yard at the 542 km post and trains can access the line from both directions. This is because limestone from Taragoola on the Monto Line also supplies the plant from the south. The branch is just over eight kilometers long and the first few hundred meters of the branch follows the old NCL formation before entering the deep cutting made to keep the grades to a minimum. In 2003 a two and a half kilometer loop was constructed of the branch to serve the new alumina refinery built by Coma co.

Most of the land the line crosses was state owned so there was little opposition to the line and the best route could be selected.

The line crosses Port Curtis Way on a typical preformed cement bridge before dropping down grade where the Comalco Alumina Refinery has built an overpass for its conveyor system. The line continues along the edge of tidal flats and into the unloading loop which is concealed in heavy bush land.

Click on the link below to see the Google Earth view of the line and processing plant.

The majority of the plants output is sent via Cement Australia's own ships and a significant portion is sent via rail, most of it to the north of the state.

Although the plant is served by rail the output is trucked to the goods yard at Mt Miller in containers or pumped into flat wagon mounted vessels.

There are two types of trains used to transport raw material to the processing plant both are usually powered by two Clyde GM units. On the odd occasion the train that serves the East End branch may feature a single 4000 class unit.

It is the size and number of wagons that distinguish the trains from each other. The East End train is made up of 22 purpose built VLH wagons while the train that serves Taragoola comprises of 30 obsolete coal wagons now wearing the ID code VLO. The locos on the Taragoola train are also limited to 90 ton because of the 15.75 ton axle load permitted on the Graham to Taragoola section of the Monto line. The locos on the train have to placed back to back as the train is loaded in a purpose built 750 meter siding built a few hundred meters north of the original 210 meter siding at Taragoola and are simply run around the train while it is being loaded.

Click this link to see the East End Mine.

Click here to see the Fisherman's Landing plant.

Click this link to go to the Taragoola Page in the Location Profile section.

Click this link to go to the Mt Miller page in the Location Profile section.

limestone002.jpg

This wagon ID is from the heavy purpose built wagons for the East End Branch and are loaded to their maximum weight because the East End branch is a S class line.

limestone001.jpg

This wagon ID is from one of the thirty wagons that make up the Taragoola train and when not in use the train locos and all are usually stored in Gladstone Yard where this photo was taken. The wagons are loaded to the A class line load limit due to the Monto Line's axle limit of 15.75 ton.

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This side on shot shows the three of the six unusual discharge doors on the VLH wagons.

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After waiting on the Up Line at the bottom of the grade to be over taken by a short northbound freight headed by 2211.
The East End train crossed over to the Down Line and is seen here passing the signal protecting the points for the East End Branch on its way to the mine for another load.
10/18/2006 4:33:40 PM

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2458 + 2162 with 22 empty limestone wagons depart the North Coast Line at Aldoga and head for the East End Mine for another load of limestone. The top of Mt Larcom is covered in cloud in the background but on a clear day is a great spot for watching trains if you have the energy to climb to the top.
9.35 am Monday 26/03/00

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The above train on the other side of the overpass on Port Curtis Way as it heads accross Mt Larcom Station's land to the mine.

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2457 + 2481 stop and wait for the OK to proceed under the flood loader at the East End Mine loop. The drivers assistant had to get off the train to throw the points to allow the train to enter the loop and as he walked back to the locos checked the brakes and the bottom doors for defects. The twenty five wagons will be loaded in about an hour and the train will depart the mine with the points already set for them. Monday 1.54pm 19/07/99
 
 

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The limestone train is now heading back east on the branch up the steady grade to the Bruce Highway overpass. The train consists of 2458 + 2457 with twenty four loaded wagons. These two locos were a common sight on the line in front ot the East End Trains. In recent times the older GM's have been replaced by a single 4000 class loco but recently I have seen the older locos make a comeback.
Saturday 18/12/99 11.00 am

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The above train crossing the Bruce Highway bridge.

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2457 + 2458 climb the grade up the the Fishermans Landing branch that leads to the cement plant owned by QCL. Mt Miller yard in the background was constructed for the chemical industries that have recently moved to Gladstone. The yard is usually shunted by a pair of six axle diesels, once the wagons have been loaded the train usually departs for Gladstone yard around midday to drop off the loads and pick up empties. Some of the cement from the QCL plant is also loaded in containerised tanks for destinations north and west of Gladstone.
12/05/00  1.25 pm

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2163+2491+2136+2157 with eighty-three coal wagons round the tight curve at the base of Mt Larcom on there way to Callamondah Yard where the locos will be serviced and placed on the other end of the train. Once that is completed the train will run back up to Mt Miller about ten kilometers north then enter the East End Branch line to unload the coal at QCL for the kiln. The trains unload on a balloon loop so once the train has unloaded it can proceed back to the mine with no disruptions. 2.55pm 29/02/00

marmor029.jpg

2186F and 2253 head past the points for the Comalco refinery loop on its way to Fisherman's Landing. The photo below shows the extent of the earthworks needed to construct the line. This photo was taken near the old formation of the NCL that was replaced by the Mt Miller deviation.
20/09/2006 2:12:44 PM

marmor030.jpg

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The limestone train from Taragoola now on the Fisherman's Landing Branch powers under the conveyor that links the Comalco alumina refinery to its wharf.
Q.R won the contract in 2004 for this traffic when the plant on the branch underwent an expansion and required additional raw material.
This photo was inspired by one published in Motive Power Magazine of a 4000 class loco in charge of the East End wagons taken by Bruce Russell.

fisherman003.jpg

The train from the previous photo passing the warning beacon that tells the driver that the points are usually set fot the right.
A bit further down the line is a position indicator attached to the pointst hat show witch way the points are set.
All unloading loops in Gladstone are traversed anitclockwise due to the setup of the automated bottom discharge doors fitted to bulk wagons.

limestone004.jpg

2195F and 2253 run the empties back to the mine for another load seen here passing the five kilometer post on the Fisherman's Landing Branch.
10/16/2006 4:19:01 PM