Volume 5 - Subtropical Steamsounds
This latest instalment in the series of CDs I’ve produced is to celebrate some of the excellent steam haulage to be experienced in and around Brisbane. As I live here, most of the recordings I get to make are from around the local area. For those who have not visited, we are in the sub-tropical climate zone, and my website is called Steamsounds AU, hence the title.
The recordings on this CD are dominated by tracks from Steam Train Sunday outings. These are loop services run by Queensland Rail on the first Sunday of the month and feature (at one time or other) all of the active locos on the steam roster. In addition, we have some additional recordings from around the South East Queensland region which I hope you will enjoy. I suggest find some quiet time, put on your best headphones, break open a nice ale or glass of finest vintage, and relax to the sounds of steam in the subtropics.
17 Tracks - 68 minutes Full CD Quality Steamsounds with full track notes (see them below)
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Volume 5 - Subtropical Steamsounds
Track 1 - C17 974 Departing Roma St 4 March 2007 (on-train) 3:58
Track 2 - DD17 1051 climbing Norman Park bank 23 June 2007 3:11
Track 3 - AC16 221 Bowen Hills to Eagle Junction 5 Nov 2006 (on-train) 6:18
Track 4 - BB18¼ 1079 Departing Beerwah 1991 1:37
Track 5 - AC16 221A Little Liverpool Range 9 Sep 2006 8:27
Track 6 - PB15 732 Approaching Wamuran 1991 4:45
Track 7 - C17 974 Climbing Albion bank 4 March 2007 (on-train) 2:58
Track 8 - BB18¼ 1079 Climbing Albion bank 3 Dec 2006 1:34
Track 9 - AC16 221A Climbing Norman Park bank 1 July 2006 2:41
Track 10 - BB18¼ 1079 cresting Dakabin bank 1991 1:25
Track 11 - AC16 221A Eagle Junction to Wooloowin 5 Nov 2006 (on-train) 3:36
Track 12 - BB18¼ 1079 Exhibition grounds 3 Dec 2006 1:31
Track 13 - AC16 221A Climbing Exhibition bank 5 Nov 2006 (on-train) 4:44
Track 14 - BB18¼ 1079 Rosewood 17 September 2006 2:48
Track 15 - PB15 732 approaching Moodlu crossing 1991 1:02
Track 16 - AC16 221A near Yarongmalu 9 Sep 2006 10:12
Track 17 - DD17 1051 Mayne to Roma St 3 June 2007 (on-train) 7:47
Track 1 - As this is the first track, I think it is only fitting that we jump on the train for a ride on Steam Train Sunday. This was the first public run of C17 974 which had just completed an extensive overhaul. After whistling for departure, we head off through the tunnel between Roma St and Central stations. You can hear the sound change as we run through the enclosed confines of Central, then it changes again as we break out into the open area at the end of the platforms before heading into the second tunnel between Central and Brunswick St. This is a bit of a speedway given the long straight within it and you can hear the train accelerate rapidly. As we pass through, you can hear the roar of the sets of extractor fans before the engine is shut off. The sound of the coasting engine just didn’t sound right, but more on that later. (4th March 2007)
Track 2 - We are line side now, on a path just near Norman Park station. A new rail bridge was being opened at Lota, further down the line, so Queensland Rail decided to mix old with new, just like the replacement of the old bridge with a new one, and ran the invited guests to the unveiling behind 4-6-4T DD17 1051. Following closely behind was a brand new IMU ready to convey passengers back to town after the festivities. It is an overcast Saturday morning, but that doesn’t seem to dampen the enthusiasm of the crew as they attack the climb to Morningside. After the train passes, the sounds of the local football ovals on a typical Saturday morning return. This was a fateful day, as after this, I visited my local hobby shop and bought my first G scale trains, committing myself to a lifetime of expense (and enjoyment!). (23 June 2007)
Track 3 - Another Steam Train Sunday run now, this time with American Lend Lease Mikado AC16 221A. On the 11.30am Pinkenba Loop run, crews are normally changed at Bowen Hills and here we join the train as the new crew whistles off and exchanges pleasantries (or otherwise!) with the departing set of men. We then take the various crossovers and points through Mayne and head up Albion Bank to Wooloowin, passing other electrics as we go. There are interesting sounds to be had as we climb up here, with echoes bouncing off the noise barriers as we work up hill. (5 November 2006)
Track 4 - We head back in time now to 1991. We are line side at Beerwah to record a Nambour and Yandina school holiday special and we’ve set up in time to record an unusual combination of and Inter City Electric (ICE) and suburban electric in multiple. While this sounds unusual, it was quite common on the Nambour and Gympie lines as the front two cars provided toilet facilities for the longer distance travellers. As the ICE sounds its horn for departure, we hear the steam special also whistle off, then the electrics depart leaving us with the sound of BB18¼ pacific 1079 heading north.
Track 5 - I must admit, this recording is one of my all time favourites, as it was a bit of an experiment which I think turned out very well. The occasion was the annual Laidley Chelsea Flower Festival run at the beginning of September each year. I had decided I wanted to attempt a longer recording, and planned to walk down the Little Liverpool Range from the tunnel near the summit to some where about halfway down. Well I couldn’t find any decent tracks, other than the line side access road, and as I didn’t want to trespass, I went for a walk in the bush to just above the last big horseshoe curve. I was really only hoping for a few minutes as the train worked around the horseshoe, but decided to set the mic up the hill a bit, with it pointing down the valley towards Grandchester. Well as you can hear, the train was audible for a fair bit of the climb (well actually all of it, but to avoid you suffering from ear strain to listen, I’ve shortened it a little). We hear the sound of the US Mikado barking hard up hill, with the sound occasionally disappearing as it passes into and out of a few of the valleys that the line winds its way around. The train then squeals around the horseshoe before producing a magnificent deep throated roar as it passes into a cutting on its way to Victoria Tunnel and the summit of the climb. After the train passes, we hear the sound of the fire tender also squealing around the same horseshoe. (9 September 2006)
Track 6 - Back in 1991, PB15 732 is heard climbing the now closed Wamuran Branch on a dinner tour. These tours ran occasionally to “The Mango Tree” restaurant just up the hill from Wamuran station. The last part of the trip into Wamuran itself is a reasonable grade, however on this occasion the driver makes a very slow go at it, even though plenty of steam seems to be had. With the trainjust about stalled, he decides to open her up for the last section of the run into Wamuran. The sounds of the D’aguilar Highway which runs out to Kilcoy and beyond can be heard in the distance in the still night air.
Track 7 - We join C17 974 again on her Steam Train Sunday (STS) run as she makes a fine run up Albion Bank towards Wooloowin and onto the Pinkenba Branch. The crew make a fine run at the bank and the engine sounds bounce off the noise barriers as we head up hill. The coasting noise still didn’t sound right to me, and we found out later that insufficient lubrication was being either sent or retained in the cylinders. There were a few theories about why this happened, some suggesting that the use of recycled water in the drought conditions prevalent at the time may have led to surfactants (detergents) “washing out” the oil from the valve chest and cylinders, however whatever the reason, 974 was out of action after this set of STS runs for quite a few months as significant repairs had to be made to the valve liners and a new mechanical lubricator fitted. (4 March 2007).
Track 8 - We move line side again now for another STS run, this time with Pacific 1079 doing the honours. As I may have said in other CDs, I’m always on the lookout for new recording locations in the City to record these runs, and this time I chose a spot next to the line at Albion to catch the trains working up the hill that we just heard 974 tackling. The only problem is the noise barriers… Well, I have a utility which has a canopy on the back, so I set the microphone and tripod on the back of it which managed to get above the sound barriers and a nice recording of 1079 was to be had. Now this spot was right next to a road, but it appeared to be nice and quiet. As is always recordists’ lot, something is bound to come along, but at least this time, it was after the train had passed, and it was also a vintage Triumph motorcycle which I think added a very nice classic period ambience to the whole recording. (3rd December 2006).
Track 9 - It’s a calm Saturday night and AC16 221A is heard working a dinner tour. This night, I was at the same spot as in Track 2, near Norman Park Station. We first hear a pedestrian walking past with a few bottles from the local pub, that the driver has to close the throttle coming up to the curve at the bottom of the bank. Once this is negotiated, he opens up the 2-8-2 and it roars past heading up hill towards Morningside. After the train passes, we can hear the sounds of half time at the Gabba cricket ground, where an AFL (Australian Football League) match was being held. (1st July 2006)
Track 10 - Sometimes when I make a recording and think, “Jeez, that was a big waste of time”. This might be for a range of reasons, such as whistling right on the microphone, safety valves blowing, an errant child calling out and things like that. In this case, as the train crested the Dakabin Bank hauled by Pacific 1079, the safeties lifted as the throttle was eased, but soon after, the driver opens the throttle again, the safeties close, and the train races north. It actually says a lot about driving style, in that QR drivers tended to shut off at the top of the hill, but in this case, a desire to get back to line speed must have overridden the usual complacency. Lucky for us! (1991).
Track 11 - We go back on train again, this time to ride behind the Yank, AC16 221A returning off the Pinkenba branch and joining the mainline at Eagle Junction. The only thing that can be heard at the start of the track is the whine of the Pyle National Light Generator, a steam powered miniature turbine that supplies electricity for the lighting on QR locomotives. We then join the mainline and head up hill towards Wooloowin, this time in the opposite direction from Track 7. Once again, there are interesting echoes from the noise barriers. (5 November 2006).
Track12 - A bit further along from the previous track, this time we are line side for one of the highlights of the STS Pinkenba loop trains, the run up Exhibition/Normanby bank. This time, we’ve snuck into the Royal National Association’s grounds (actually, it was legal, there was a show on and the gates were open!) and the microphone is set up where the wood chop is during the Ekka. We hear pacific 1079 whistling for the Campbell St level crossing before coming through the Ekka grounds and heading up hill towards Normanby. (3 December 2006)
Track 13 - Back on train again with 221A, this time the whole climb up Exhibition bank. On this occasion, I’d asked the crew if they could “make like the Mail” heading up here, and Chris and Brian certainly didn’t disappoint. Thanks guys! (5 November 2006)
Track 14 - We’ve moved out of the suburbs now and are line side at Rosewood, waiting for 1079 to come through on a Carnival of Flowers tour. This is one of those “what a waste of time” recordings, as the loco coasts towards us, but right on the microphone, the sound of the snifter valve closing tells us the driver has opened the throttle and good sounds are to be heard as the train accelerates away towards Grandchester. The sounds of frogs and waterbirds from a nearby wetland accompany the passing of the train. (17 September 2006)
Track 15 - Off the mainline and onto the Wamuran branch we travel, this time at a level crossing just near the Moodlu level crossing. The typical sounds of a slide valve engine are heard as PB15 732 works upgrade. This is potentially one of those “never again” situations, with 732 needing heaps of work to get back to running order, and the Wamuran branch now closed. But, with this hobby, I’ve learnt to never say “never”! (1991).
Track 16 - At the opposite side of the hill to Track 5, we hear AC16 221A on the whole climb from Laidley to just before Yarongmalu. If you listen closely, you can hear the loco depart the station and work flat out up the Little Liverpool towards the summit. Part way through, a diesel horn can be heard, and this was from a train that had just passed down hill before the steam special started. This loco has to have one of the best barks around, and she certainly is becoming my favourite from a recording point of view.
Track 17 - We are back on train now, for a run up Exhibition bank and down to the terminus at Roma St. Our loco, DD17 1051, makes very good progress up the hill and once we crest the grade at Normanby, the sounds of the train coasting into Roma St make for a change. As we arrive, the dulcet tones of Greg Hallam, QR’s Historian, can be heard over the station PA. (3 June 2007)
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