West Coast Wilderness Railway

Trip Start Mar 19, 2012
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Trip End Apr 28, 2012


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Flag of Australia  , Tasmania,
Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tuesday 10 April, 2012. (Public Holiday for Tasmania, Easter Tuesday) (Day 17 in Tasmania!)

… West Coast Wilderness Railway

Today we had a trip on one of the world's great train journeys on a fully restored historic steam locomotive from Strahan to Queenstown (and by coach back to Strahan) – 35 kilometres of train track.  It was a slow relaxing journey in majestic wilderness (no walking up stirs or rainforest tracks with possible leaches!!!) with interpretive commentary and on-board guides.   We left Strahan at about 10am and got to Queenstown at 3pm (with about 3 stops – one for lunch!) then back to Strahan by about 4pm.

The West Coast Wilderness Railway is a restoration of the original Mt Lyell Mining and Railway Co. Ltd. Railway, built on the edge of civilisation in 1896 to get copper concentrate from Queenstown to export markets. 

A bit less than half of the track has the unique Abt rack and pinion system to get the train up and down the steep grades – usually trains lines can only negotiate grades of 2.5% but with this rack & pinion it manages grades of 5% and 6.25%.  The system involves a middle rail of solid bars with vertical teeth – small cogwheels under the loco engage with the teeth on the middle rail.  (I’ll include some photos of this so you can see what it looks like!)

At several places in Tasmania, their unique honey has been promoted and tastes given – leatherwood honey.  Bee hives are set up in the forests near leatherwood trees and this is the result.   Quite a few people have recommended the honey to us and we were keen to try it.  We have tried it now and we both agree that it must be an acquired taste .. and therefore are not bringing any home.

Back to the cabin – washing done (line up with the washers and dryers tonight!!!) and John cooked lamb loin cutlets.  Pack up tomorrow and moving on – Cradle Mountain did not have any accommodation – other than expensive options … so we have booked at Sheffield and will be spending time at Cradle Mountain on the way!
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