The Western Line was originally classified as the railway from Toowoomba west to Cunnamulla but on the modern Q.R the line
starts at Rosewood 56.2 kilometres from Roma Street station. Construction started on the line in 1867 and was completed in
stages over a period of thirty-one years. The Western System as it is now known is a slimmed down version of a once vast enterprise
stretching across the southwest of the state serving a rich agricultural district and a coalfield. Traffic on the line includes
grain; livestock, coal, cotton, fuel, containerised freight as well as mixed freight in covered wagons as well as a regular
passenger train the "Westlander". It competes with a federally funded highway that parallels it for almost half
its length and the economic reality of stagnate population growth limiting traffic growth. The line was built to open the
country up to settlement and bring the rich bounty of wool and livestock to the coast. Today it keeps the trucks honest and
provides jobs in areas that need them.
The Western System is operated by Remote Control Signalling (RCS) from Rosewood to Willowburn (Toowoomba) then Direct
Traffic Control for the rest of the system, with movements controlled from Brisbane. A description of the line from east to
west shows starting at Rosewood a terminus station for the electrified suburban network. The line continues as double track
to the original terminus station of Grandchester (1865, 69.2km) across the mostly flat floor of the Fassifern Valley. Here
it converges to single track for the climb across the Little Liverpool Range to the loop at Yarongmulu (76.3km). The line
is duplicated again across a rich farming valley to Helidon (1866, 114.5km).
The lines converge to single track for the climb up the range to Toowoomba, a train negotiating the line will traverse
nine tunnels many sharp curves and use forty three kilometres of track to climb four hundred and seventy meters in altitude.
Points of interest on the climb are Murphy's Creek (131km) once the location banking locomotives were added to trains
and Spring Bluff (146km) known for its gardens.
From Toowoomba (1867, 161.2km) the line heads northwest towards Oakey (191km) and Dalby (1868, 244km). The line descends
240 meters and passes eight crossing loops as it crosses the Darling Downs to Dalby where the Glenmorgan Branches off to the
The line continues in a northwest direction until it reaches Chinchilla (1878, 325km) where it continues in a generally
western direction to Miles (1878, 370km), which is the junction station for the Wandoan Branch to the north. There are eight
crossing loops on this section and the country can best be described as undulating.
The railway usually crests the peaks in a shallow cutting and crosses the troughs via a concrete culvert or wood trestle.
From Miles the line continues across the western downs to Roma (1880, 511km) a large farming and administrative centre, there
are five crossing loops on the section and several grain silos. The maximum allowable speed west of Miles drops from 80 km/h
to 70km/h, as track conditions and structure improvement are limited.
The line to continues west to Mitchell (1885, 597km) the only significantly sized town on the line to Charleville (1888,
776km). The section has twelve crossing loops and both towns are located on the banks of major rivers in the area, the main
farming focus is sheep but cattle are beginning to make an impact with the decline in the value of wool production.
Charleville is as far west as mainline diesels are allowed because the lines to Quilpie and Cunnamulla have an axle load
limit of 10.60 ton. Motive power on these lines is the classic QR branch motive power 1720 class locos.
The line south to Cunnamulla (1898, 970km) has no official crossing loops but there are three points available to cross
trains, speed on the line is restricted to 60km/h.
The line west to Quilpie (976km) on the Bulloo River has five crossing loops and a speed limit of 60km/h and 40km/h for
2462D with 39 VAO coal wagons climb up the range to Toowoomba on a damp afternoon at Spring Bluff. The Carnival of Flowers
is in full swing and many busses as well as trains from Brisbane and Toowoomba will stop at the station for people to admire
the gardens. 14.00 29/09/99
2173 leads the Westlander into Spring Bluff on its way to Brisbane with six freight and six passenger wagons on a beautiful
Thursday morning. 25/11/99 07.38
2119F + 1514 and 36 grain wagons go slowly down the range at Spring Bluff. You can see by the angle of the wagons the tight
curves trains have to nagotiate on the line. 30/09/99 07.00
After a crew change at Toowoomba 2455 + 2453 lead their train into Gowrie yard on it’s way west to the coalmine
near Dalby. 24/11/99 17.25
A westbound coal train passing locos 2178 + 1721 while they shunt Oakey yard and pick up eight container wagons before departing
for Toowoomba. 19/01/00 16.49
2178 + 1721 pass the Darling Downs smallgoods factory on the northwestern outskirts of Toowoomba. 19/01/00 17.45
Loco A10 No6 run side by side with our train headed by BB181/4 1079 west of Ipswich on the way to Grandchester for the festival
of steam. The a10 has two recently restored passenger wagons on their first public outing. It was also carrying the chief
executive Vince O’Rourke who was about to retire. 30/07/00
This photo shows Roma Yard viewed from the east, on the right 1721D in shutdown attached to loaded ballast wagons. In the
middle locos 2123F and 2122F in charge of twenty-two loaded (KLA) cattle wagons sits in the platform road waiting for a crew
change. To the left a long train with locos 2332 + 2301 + 2175D + 2493H + 2173 is shutdown waiting for a crew to take it east.
Saturday May 15th 2004 09.30
The loaded cattle train departed Roma Yard at 10.36 and is now powering up the grade on the eastern outskirts of the town
past the sale yards and is about to pass under the Carnarvon Highway overpass. The photo below is from the same position looking
east towards Brisbane.
Saturday May 15th 2004 10.46
The above train passing through Warradilla at 11.20.
Saturday May 15th 2004
The above train crossing Yuleba Creek just east of the crossing loop of Yuleba.
Saturday May 15th 2004 11.48
The above train crossing Eaglehawk Creek 12.04.
Saturday May 15th 2004 12.04
The freight spotted in the yard at Roma headed by 2332 arrived in Miles at 15.20 where it stopped to attach seven empty fuel
wagons that had been placed in the station yard the previous day. Only the two lead locos were operating.
Saturday May 15th 2004
This short westbound freight passed Miles at 16.07 headed by 2361 with only fourteen wagons it set a good pace and only the
sections with slow orders allowed me to get far enough ahead to set up for a photo. It is seen here at a level crossing about
twenty kilometers west of Miles.
Saturday May 15th 2004 16.37
The train from the previousphoto crossing a wood trestle over the creek just east of Dulacca. In the photo below you can see
the end of a cold front from the south.
Saturday May 15th 2004 16.45
The above train passing the Grainco terminal just to the west of Dulacca.
Saturday May 15th 2004 16.48
After clearing Amby loop at 11.00 the train headed by 2392 + 2388 pulling four steel vans and one tarp sided wagon, eight
fuel wagons and fifteen loaded cattle wagons passed Muckadilla loop about 40 km west of Roma at 11.26.
Saturday 10th July 2004 11.26
2392 + 2388 with twenty-eight wagons approaches a road crossing at the 362 km peg at 11.54 as it continued on to Roma for
a crew change. Arriving at 12.15 the crew signed off and a stockman checked the cattle on the train and persuaded a few to
stand up with an electric prod.
Saturday 10th July 2004 11.54