The Cougal Spiral is a feature of the North Coast Railway in Australia that connects New South Wales with Queensland. The railway lines needs to climb at a steady ruling gradient from Kyogle to the summit at a tunnel at the border between the two states. The border is also at the watershed. The line is single tracked.
Climbing almost non-stop at the ruling grade of 1 in 66 or 1.5% (compensated) the line has almost continuous curves of 240 m (787 ft) radius. Near Cougal, the alignment finally runs out of valley, and has nowhere to go. Fortunately a convenient hill allows the line to circle back on itself so that it climbs 30 meters (98 ft) without having to make any forward progress. Soon after the Border Tunnel under the watershed is reached, and the line descends on the other side. The spiral has two short tunnels, one where it passes under itself, plus another through a small spur in the hillside.
Locomotives in this photo
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