Mary Valley Heritage Railway: Winding through the Valley

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Comments (12)

©junebug on April 13, 2012

Beautiful picture, Ian! Very nostalgic! Does this steam engine still run regularly or was it a special occasion? Anyway, I like this photo a lot! Best regards, Anne

Ian Stehbens on April 13, 2012

Dear Anne,

It really is a delight to share with you, appreciating our two corners of the world. This train runs 4 times a week - it is run by a local group of train enthusiasts who have bought, restored and operate it as a tourist railway, along 40kms of track, 5 stations, between Gympie and my childhood village of Imbil. On this particular day, during the Easter school holidays, it had 250 passengers in 8 coaches, so it had to work hard on any incline.

I travelled to high school on this line, 3 hrs per day, so I know the line and the landscape intimately!!

Warmest regards,


bdeh on April 14, 2012

You've got many old railways in Oz Ian, I saw a TV program about old railways. Greetings Berend

jeff_msn123 on April 14, 2012

Beautiful shot with train. LIKE

Cheers, Jeff

Ian Stehbens on April 15, 2012

Dear Berend. The vast OZ landscape was opened up with railways whether out on the grazing plains bringing the wool, then the cattle or in the coastal valleys and mountains hauling cane, timber, agricultural product or minerals. But much of that has passed and road has replaced rail, or the mines have closed.

In the last few decades there were quite a number of enthusiast groups who were keen to operate nostalgic railways. Many of those groups have eventually folded, but there still are a few around the country that have survived so far, including the Lithgow ZigZag Railway, and this one in the Mary Valley.

Nevertheless, railways are carrying more tonnages now than ever, and that is because of the huge mines that now operate in Central Queensland, South Queensland, Hunter Valley and in Pilbara WA.

This one terminates in Imbil, so you will realize it is pretty special from my view point.

Warm regards,


Ian Stehbens on April 15, 2012

I am pleased that you like the train and its setting, Jeff. Years ago, I recall riding behind big steam locomotives in China: Guangzhou to Wuhan, Wuhan to Changsha, for ecxample.



ƤōƝƓ on April 17, 2012

Absolutely Aussie!! Can't be anywhere else. YS + L

Ian Stehbens on April 18, 2012

Absolutely true!! Thanks for the accolades, Ah-Pong. Glad to have you back my friend. This is very much part of my world.

Warmest regards,


Nick Weall on April 22, 2012

Hi Ian A lovely series and some great information too ~ YSL for this great taste of Oz. ~ Best wishes to you ~ nick

©IR Stehbens on April 23, 2012

Greetings Nick,

One of the common bonds between UK and Australia is the heritage and love of steam! I am glad that you have appreciated the photos and the info. Thanks very much for the YS.. that is a real encouragement.

Here the engine is working hard, but about 9 kms earlier on what we refer to as the Kandanga Bank (must be some Staffordshire influence in that word 'bank' somehow) it was slipping and had stopped at one point. I think the driver may have blamed the grass on the line for the slipping, but it is the steepest incline on the line.

A Train Tale

Now for a brief memory... when boys were naughty boys. We travelled this line on a railmotor (RM90) and it was a large motor that hauled three coaches. All 4 units were full of kids and on frosty mornings the frost on the Kandanga Bank would mean that we couldn't climb it.

The driver would accelerate full bore out of Kandanga station, but the conspiracy was that the student who sat beside the driver used the sandbox as often as possible before we got to the Kandanga Bank so that our sand boxes were empty when we needed them the most!

Then some students would be asked to get out of the railmotor to place small ballast on the rails to give some grip on the next attempt to climb the bank. Their art was to put the larger stones on the rails such that they impeded progress as much as they aided traction. It was always a highlight day if we got stuck on that bank.

Once defeated, we would reverse back the couple of miles to Kandanga yard, leave at least once coach behind and then with standing room only we would proceed up the line - arriving late for school, and hopefully by the time our branch line joined the mainline at Monkland there would be a goods train on the line and we would have to wait longer... thus arriving at high school - having missed three classes!

gezginruh on May 17, 2012

Hi my dear Ian, Very nice and very nostalgic!!!

We don't have the steam trains in Turkey any more.I remember there were a few of these when I was child.

Love. Füsun

Ian Stehbens on May 25, 2012

Hello ,

Sorry that I could not visit you during your anxious time. I must admit that in chatting about this nostalgic image, it makes me want to have you come this far just to recuperate and enjoy such simple pleasures as a ride on an old steam train in the Land of OZ! The locals who have preserved this bit of history are very proud of their achievement.

Love .. Ian

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  • Uploaded on April 13, 2012
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    by Ian Stehbens