Kuranda

One week ago I took the railway to Kuranda. This section is only 36 km long but it takes two hours to complete it. So you can imagine how “fast” the train ride is, and in which condition the tracks are at all. I’m not sure if there is still cargo operations at this section. The track is heading mainly into the west, away from the coast, and up the mountains of the Great dividing range in order to overcome the drop of the Barron Falls. After the Barron falls it levels out and follows the Barron river to Kurunda. The gradient of the ascent is about 2%. Hence, there’re 2 bends with 180° radius to allow for enough length of the track. Additional 15 tunnels and numerous bridges support the track. The most famous one, and the icon of the railway line, is the Stoney Creek bridge. The Stoney Creek waterfalls is much more impressive than the later Barron Falls, where the train does a 10 min stop, as the water flow through the latter is restricted due to the water use in the hydropower station. After passing the Stoney Creek the track traverse underneath Glacier rock, before the now famous red bluff. This is a result of continues land slides during construction works. Nowadays this area of red rock is a landmark and already seen from quite a distance. Kuranda itself is now a bloody tourist town with it’s “famous” markets, where you can buy cheap China souvenirs for much money. So I did one of the self-guided walks around town, and as I had time I didn’t hurry up. I even realised that there is another hike from Kuranda down the mountain range. This track follows the railway line and is ending down the valley in one of the suburbs of Cairns. The track itself further extends to the outback town of Forsayth. Once a week a tourist train is operating along this track with a compulsory overnight stop. Unfortunately, since more than 100 years, there’s still a gap of about 150 km between Forsayth and Croyton, which is the final destination of the Gulflander who is supposed to operate from Normanton. I thought about doing this trip, but unfortunately due to recently flooding of the railway track, the Gulflander is not operating. It’s expected to commence operation in April. I wanted also to do this train ride, but I don’t want to wait an additional month in the wet tropics to do so. Hence, I finished my train ride in Kuranda last Monday and returned in the afternoon along the same track to Cairns.

One of the diesel-electric locomotives is painted with Aboriginal art work, and ready for departure
Horseshoe bend is the first 180° curve…
…afterwards the train ascents through the rain forest.
Releasing a view back to Cairns and the sea
Crossing bridges and entering tunnels is just normal on that track
Glacier Rock an the left and Red Bluff to the right, on the other side of Stoney Creek Valley
The former Stoney Creek Station had the only siding of the whole track.
The train crosses…
…directly infront of the Stoney Creek waterfall…
…the iconic Stoney Creek bridge
View while crossing the Red Bluff
The train is now already high up the Barron river
The two monoliths, a remembrance to all the cuttings along the railway track
Due to the hydropower station at the bottom of the Barron Falls, the falls itself are not carrying much water, except during a flood in the wet season, as the river is dammed a few hundred metres infront of the waterfall.
My final destination of my train travels in Queensland…
…the Kuranda railway station, which reminded me with all the flowers to the rail stations in Thailand, which were by the way also narrow gauge railway lines.
The Barron river, directly next to the Kuranda railway station, is nowadays more like a dammed lake
One of the blooming flowers I’ve seen during my hike around Kuranda.
My train ticket

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