Port Headland and Tom Price

 
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
I have just booked a break driving from Broome, Port Headland and down the coast to Perth in the month Of January 2019.  Planning on spending a full day and 2 nights around Port Headland therefore interested in some better locations to sample trains in the area.  

Once complete at Port headland heading to Tom Price for a night.

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  M636C Minister for Railways

I have just booked a break driving from Broome, Port Headland and down the coast to Perth in the month Of January 2019.  Planning on spending a full day and 2 nights around Port Headland therefore interested in some better locations to sample trains in the area.  

Once complete at Port headland heading to Tom Price for a night.
bevans

January can be very hot and sometimes stormy, even to cyclones. But basically hot, Don't go anywhere without a hat and have water with you in the car.

Starting with BHP, there is a lookout on the NW Coastal Highway bridge at Redbank, with parking on the East side of the road south of the bridge. It is a good shot at almost any time of loaded trains approaching, but you have to go to the side with the light, East in the morning West in the afternoon.



Good shots of the locomotive service area can usually be got by walking to the top of the ridge between the main road and the track maybe two kilometres closer to town from the bridge.

The Great Northern Highway bridge at Boodarie gives a good view of trains going to and from Finucane Island, and the Boodarie locomotive service area and ore car workshops. You might have to park on the verge there. Nobody has complained when I've done so, but keep clear of the road trains.

Good shots can be taken on the road to Finucane Island of BHP trains, and driving around to the beach a=on the north side of the island can provide views of trains in the process of unloading, best when the locomotives first appear.

At the point where Fortescue Metals conveyers cross the Finucane Island Road, good shots can be taken looking across the BHP tracks to FMG tracks, particularly of a train entering No 1 Dumper. Nos 2and 3 dumpers are partly hidden by the No 1 tracks. With luck you can get FMG and BHP trains together at Boodarie (but not all the time).

The BHP road is sealed out as far as the new Ore Car Shops and good shots of loaded trains can be got at various points along the road. Trains often wait around Bing siding and beyond before moving to a dumper. Trains are sometimes split at Bing. Empty trains sometimes wait for a clear track near the ore car workshops.



FMG trains can be seen in the distance from the GN highway bridge at Boodarie. There is a lookout where the GN Highway crosses the FMG line further West. I find that better shots are got in the morning fom the road embankment on the East side of the bridge. You can park on the old road just north of the bridge embankment. Don't park om the highway. There are many heavy mining road trains passing all day. These can nearly blow you over as they pass even a couple of metres away from the road. Good shots can be got from the bridge approaches of loaded FMG trains arriving and empty trains departing.

Further West again is the Roy Hill Level crossing. There are good shots of arriving trains, the light inst great for departing trains.
You can drive in on a public road just west of the line and in the afternoon can get reasonable shots of locomotives in the yard (with a telephoto lens). Just south of the yard, reasonable shots of departing trains can be obtained in the afternoon.

If the weather is dry, you could consider driving across to the BHP line (or the Roy Hil or FMG lines) when driving south to Tom Price.

I have no experience of Tom Price. I rode trains to there several times but never left the rail yard.

Peter
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
There are (or used to be ?) minibus tours around the BHP Terminal. They were run in the morning (IIRC) by the Tourist Centre in Port Hedland. You were not allowed out of the bus but it was certainly better than nothing.

As Peter says it can be very hot (mid 40s C +).

Double the water that you think you might need, wide hat with neck covering, long pants and long sleeves if you are going to be 'out and about' for any period. Make sure that you keep up your fluid intake - even if not feeling thirsty.

Marble Bar is a fascinating excursion if you have time.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Thanks Peter.

Do you think it might be possible to get a tour of the ore unloading processes?
  M636C Minister for Railways

Thanks Peter.

Do you think it might be possible to get a tour of the ore unloading processes?
bevans
I guess you and YM posted at the same time...

Bus tours are available of Nelson Point. You won't get any useful photos but you will see the process.
I went on a bus a year ago, with very dark tinted widows that were pretty dirty.
You book the trip at the tourist centre in town, next to the "Silver Star" which is worth seeing.....


If your time isn't pressed, you might consider driving to Karratha from Tom Price. (This is doubling back a bit)
Were you to divert from the main road at Western Creek (or so) you could drive to Cape Lambert on a public (but dirt) road via Roebourne.

But good shots of Rio trains can be taken from the Tom Price Karratha public road.



Cape Lambert gives you the best view of any of the port end yards if you drive up to the Yacht Club.
There is a bridge across all the tracks that gives excellent shots of the trains (I think better in the afternoon).

But if you drive up further towards the Yacht club you can get photos of stackers and reclaimers from the public road, better views than you'll get at Hedland. I don't think any of the dumpers can be seen from public roads.

What you would see of a dumper is just the shed, and you can get good photos of the FMG No 1 dumper, (including the car positioner) at Boodarie, as I mentioned before. Dampier is no better than Cape Lambert as far as seeing the dumpers.

But a shot of a train crossing the salt flats at Dampier in the morning (in either direction) is good. You can also drive up to the Pilbara Railway Historical Society yard where really valuable exhibits are slowly deteriorating.

You'd probably want to spend the night in Karratha rather than Wickham or Roebourne (or Dampier).

There are very good tours of the mine at Newman. I don't know if Rio offers this at Tom Price but I doubt it.

But as we've both said, take plenty of Water...

Peter
  Toad Montgomery Chief Commissioner

Location: Port Hedland: Team EMU want's YOU!
As already posted, you can tour Nelson Point (BHP).

There is also a tour of Anderson Point (FMG), and a boat tour of the port, contact the Seafarers Centre.

Tom Price also has a bus tour.


You will need a permit to traverse the Cape Lambert to Western Creek dirt road as it is a Rio access road, but good shots can be obtained but the road can be quire rough, I've experienced two simultaneous flat tyres in the past along with plenty of single flats.


I've shot a lot during Jan, Feb and March up here, hazy high cloud days can be a pain, but morning and arvo still offer great images.



And yes as stated, from January to March can be a bit nasty.



Contact me on approach via the usual channels in January, or sooner...

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