The International Steam Pages

Narrow Gauge Diesels at Australia's Tully Sugar Mill

I am not sure how many places in the world you could still see sugar cane being hauled by narrow gauge diesel locomotives in 2018 but beyond Java and Fiji, the list must be quite short. I don't know if any lines survive in Cuba, I think there are a couple in Taiwan and maybe one in Tanzania. One perhaps surprising survivor is Australia where narrow gauge railways are seen as the best way to do the job. Graeme Daniel writes about a trip between 17th and 21st August. 

Here are a few from a recent trip to the tropical North, these pictures were taken around the Tully area, where the sugar cane harvest is well and truly on. The Tully sugar mill crushes sugar cane at a constant rate of around 700 t/hr. To serve this a 610mm (2) gauge well constructed and maintained rail network is exclusively used, the entire rail network consists of over 200km of mostly 60lb rail for the main line, in addition there is approximately 80km of sidings and loops. The rolling stock used to carry the harvested cane to the mill are called "bins", they have a nominal capacity of 4 tonnes, these bins are paired up to form a "unit" of 8 tonne capacity, there is also a growing fleet of 10 tonne bins being introduced into the system to replace the 4 tonne bins. To haul the bins the Tully sugar mill currently has a fleet of 15 locomotives, of these there are six 40 tonne DH (Ex. QR) and six 18 tonne Com-Eng locos which are paired up as three double-headers, there are also three 8 tonne Baldwin locomotives used for maintenance to the rail network. On a day shift there are 9 locomotives in service and during the night between 5 and 7 are operating.

I have also included a shot at the South Johnstone sugar mill.

Tully no. 3


Tully no. 3 and 4

Tully no. 4

Tully no. 5

Tully no 10 and 14

Tully no 14

Tully no 10 and 14

Tully no 10 and 14

Finally a remote brake vehicle.

South Johnstone no.32

Rob Dickinson