Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Railway bridge over the Maranoa River opened in 1885

Every Wednesday and Friday evening, at about 10 p.m., the Westlander (which begins its journey at Charleville) stops at Mitchell Railway Station to pick up passengers bound for either Toowoomba or Brisbane.

You can sit up or choose a sleeper which includes a bed, wash basin and cupboard. In the corridor there are toilets and showers. Doug travelled by train to Brisbane last year, and by booking a sleeper, found the journey pleasant and an interesting experience.

Livestock are also transported by rail, with Quilpie the usual loading point. In many ways this seems a more humane method of transport than road trains.

The railway bridge over the Maranoa River is upstream from the road bridge. It was opened in 1885 and was one of the first bridges built on concrete piers. There are three bridge spans of 32 m (100 feet) on concrete piers with timber approaches. The total length is 218 m (688 feet). The coming of the railway revolutionised the transport of livestock, wool, mail and passengers between the coast and outback Australia.

The sound of the train whistle (as the train crosses roads within Mitchell) on cold frosty nights is a rather mournful sound, yet it also means people are travelling, and it always gives me pleasure to think of people enjoying a train journey.

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