Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Road trains in outback Australia

This afternoon, while pausing on the foot bridge that spans the Maranoa River, a road train thundered overhead, crossing the river on the road bridge.

Every cell of my body vibrated; my ears rebelled against the sound; my eyes, uplifted, saw the bulk and length in awe; and the smell of diesel drifted down.

Brisbane to Darwin Daily printed along the side of the road train brought to mind the huge distance travelled by these road trains, across the vast land mass of outback Australia. From Brisbane to Darwin is approximately 3500 km.

Major (my German shepherd) never flinches, even when the noisiest vehicle rattles and roars overhead. Thunder, fireworks and guns don't affect him either. Both our shepherds are good this way.

Road trains can be up to 53 m long, and because many roads in outback Queensland are narrow, caution needs to be taken when a road train is coming towards you. It's necessary to slow down, move to the side of the road and let them pass, particularly as the trailers on some road trains swing about quite alarmingly if there's a bump in the road.

I know that road trains are essential; however, I believe that a lot of the freight they carry would be better moved by rail.

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