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Published: April 21st 2018
09 Maitland Steam Fest
Garratt Locomotive in full soot mode! Looks dramaitic, b ut was this poor coal management or just how it always happened?
t is a long time since we posted a blog. We have mostly been at home due to family and medical issues, but have taken a three week break top visit family in NSW and then wander home to Brisbane along the mid north coast.
We stayed for a week at Birubi Bach, Anna Bay initially. This is a very popular destination with surfing, swimming, sand tobogganing and camel rides through the dunes. As it happened, we had a short but quite severe storm after sunset that partially destroyed our wind out awning having torn the vinyl roof. A mere 5 minutes of destruction that damaged our van, the one parked adjacent to us (more severely than ours) and ripped a large oak tree at the entrance to the caravan park in half blocking the road.
Our visit coincided with the annual Maitland Steam Fest. Steam powered machinery from miniature to full on industrial plant. This year, a Garratt steam locomotive was in operation taking passengers for journeys between three stations. For those not familiar with steam locomotives, the Garratt was a very powerful, having 8 driving axles compared with three or four for most conventional steam locomotives. The
water tender is mounted forward of the boiler and has 4 driving axles, the coal tender was mounted behind the driving cab and also had 4 driving axles. When setting out with a full load of coal and water in the tender, traction was fantastic, but as the journey ended with water depleted and coal reduced, traction and power were drastically reduced. These locomotives (1920s and onward) were used world wide, Today about 200 still exist in varying states of disrepair, but only about 15 are actually operational. (2 in Australia)
The photos show why today we do not like steam locos for their sooty pollution. For me, it brought back nostalgic memories of several return train journys from my childhood where our family went by train form Invercargil to nChristchurch, and then onward for Wellington to Auckland (NZ) to visit grandparents.
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