Sunday, March 22, 2009

Counting the days. . .


Why go to Australia? For the Bulldogs! Lance Lassen photographed this quad set in 2007 on the north coast working a QR National Melbourne-Brisbane train.

. . .now until Lance Lassen and I climb aboard a Qantas 747 and head off for two weeks of railroad fun in New South Wales. The trip has been discussed for well over a year; got down to starting planning it last November.

Bloody Oath! we're looking forward to it!

We leave Texas on Thursday 9 April and return two weeks later, on the 23rd. It'll be a pretty intense two-weeks. . . no bludging on the beach sipping drinks with little paper umbrellas stuck in them for these boys.

We've been extremely fortunate to been assisted every step of the way by our on-line friends from Australia, all of whom have been a great boon in helping us decide where to go and what to see. Each time we discover something we "must" see, invariably something else comes up. Two weeks? Crikey. . .we'd need more like two months!

We'll be confining ourselves to New South Wales, and just a portion of it. To see it "all" would be impossible. We're juggling our time between visiting hobby shops and loading up on those bits and pieces for the model railways that are impossible to discover on-line, doing a little data gathering on the prototype locations our model railways are based upon, and driving all over hell to watch trains.

We're hoping to chase an RTM special back from Parkes behind vintage NSWGR diesels. . .watch 48 Class hauling wheat wagons on a rural branch line. . .observe the spectacle of triple 80 Class blasting away in banker service on the Ardglen grade. . .absorb the wide-open spaces west of the Great Dividing Range watching a variety of freight schedules and locomotive classes. . . photograph (fingers crossed) the final days of the beautiful CLF/CLP bulldogs in service on the QRNational MB7/BM7 before they're replaced by new EMD's out of EDI shops. Above all, though, we want to experience Australia for ourselves.

Lance has been before; this will be my first trip. We're looking forward to actually meeting all these guys we've traded e-mails with for over a year and to call 'em "mates" face-to-face and return the shout. I'm sure we'll walk around the Circular Quay and take some nice tourist photos of the Opera House, but it'll be just as cool to join the crowd at Leichhardt stadium and watch the West Tigers scrum it up against Melbourne.

We'll be on our best behaviour. We promise to reign in our bignoting as much as possible. We'd like to be invited back. But only after we find a way to jam all the books and model parts and memories into our suitcases for the trip back home.

So, if this blog has seemed a big sparse on new posts lately, now you know. Believe me, come next month this thing will seemingly be updated daily!

7 comments:

Ray P said...

Blair and Lance

How many sleeps?

See you soon...

Ray

BEK said...

Not familiar with that one, Ray. Not enough sleeps, I'm thinking, once we get there.

IainS said...

Blair,

Well I hope you enjoy your trip, coincidently I came across Great Model Railroads 2005 yesterday.

Remember we drive on the other side of the road, use the metric system and beware of the drop bears and bunyips and - there are no trains at the Opera House!

Enjoy

BEK said...

I took the kids to the zoo the other day during their spring holiday. The Kangaroos were all asleep midday, and the kids were disappointed. I told them I'd be happy to peel one off the front of my car next month and stuff it in the suitcase for them.

Ray P said...

Blair

"How many sleeps?" is something that little kids say when something exciting is coming, like Christmas... You know how hard it is to sleep when you are little and excited... ;-)

Watch out for the kangaroos at dusk, they sleep or laze during the day to get out of the heat.

Ray

Geoff said...

Guys have a fantastic time! The enthusiasm that you have for our part of the world amazing. Remember plenty of cards for the camera, and work to your plan. Last year I travelled through NSW with a mate for 7 days and covered some great territory. Don't dismiss the trackwork/infrasructure that can be seen on a closed line. If you want some photos of something specific, let us know through your Blog.

Again all the best for the trip, Geoff, Brisbane Qld.

railmod said...

Have a great trip Blair & Lance - hope it's all you expect & more.

Blair if you need the photos of the 'A' type wheat silo, let me know & I'll try to get it to somewhere you can pick the CD up from.
But I'm sure you'll be able to get lotsa photos of your own.

Cheers Alex...