A New Smokebox Door Seal For 6A
Re-Wheeling An NG/G16
NG/G16 129 Engine Unit Frames Near Completion
Another New Boiler For Puffing Billy!
Sustaining The Operation
NG/G16 129 Is Coming Together....Virtually!
First Pictures Of The New NG/G16 Boiler Construction!
NG/G16 Workshop Progress
The 2020 crush is now underway for Mackay Sugar Limited - Australia's second largest sugar milling company behind Wilmar. Its three Mackay region mills crush up to 5-million tonnes of cane, carried by the company's 850km 2ft gauge network.
Farleigh Mill's 70km mainline runs north to Wagoora, the Marian Mill's 76km mainline heads west to Finch Hatton (mostly using the former alignment of QR's Mackay Railway) and Racecourse Mill's 23km mainline goes south to Munbura.
With over 500 cane loading sidings, the network is fully integrated, allowing cane and rollingstock transfers from all parts of the system - so much so that the Racecourse Mill workshop is the centre for all locomotive maintenance and the workshop at the closed Pleystowe Mill is used for cane bin maintenance.
Mackay Sugar has a large and diverse fleet of 41 locomotives, inlcuding seven ex-NSWGR 73 class, rebuilt as the 94 class; four Sydney-built Eimco locos, three of which were the heaviest and most powerful 2ft gauge locomotives in the world when built in 1990; nine EM Baldwin bogie DHs; and a unique Clyde cow-calf set. More than 7,000 5-tonne, 6-tonne and 15-tonne bins are in service, down from 13,000 a decade ago as the large bogie 15-tonne bins replace the smaller bins.
Trains run with up to 180 6-tonne bins, carrying over 1000-tonnes, with lengths in excess of 800m. Difficult terrain, particularly on the Farleigh Mill and Marian parts of the system sees the use of 94 class locos in distributed power or double heading.
The Church Hill mainline between Pleystowe and Farleigh is even more of a stand out in operations, since the closure of the Pleystowe Mill in 2009, manned-bankers have been used to push loaded trains out of the Pleystowe Yard and up the 1 in 20 grade over the Bruce Highway level crossing to the Farleigh Mill. More than 800 loaded 6-tonne bins go up this hill each day, quite possibly the steepest "mainline" grade in Australia - trains are usually limited to 70-bins on this line.
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