Jonathan Lee

Worldly Images

Sydney Freight (Botany Trips) – 12th & 17th December 2012

The best place to photograph Alco’s in Sydney has to be the Botany Freight Line. We chose one of two locations we chose for the day, the first being Alexandra Canal, where the railway runs over adjacent to a public footpath, the second being Master Siding, a short walk down the road, closer to Botany.

A stroke of luck on our part took away most of the planning for this day’s photographing as the Australian Railway magazine “Motive Power” had an article in their September/October issue solely on the Botany Line freight services, listing the current timetable of daytime trains and how to get to the prominent photographing locations. As the magazine is available to download it made life very easy indeed and without this article we’d have probably stuck to photographing from stations, or in the vicinity of them.

Wednesday 12th December 2012

After arriving Sydney Central off a rather rubbish XPT overnight from Melbourne we dumped our bags in the left luggage office on platform 1 and headed off to Mascot via City Rail for a walk to the Alexandra Canal location, where we arrived by 0830 to be told by another photographer, who was actually photographing planes coming in to land at Sydney Airport, literally over the road, that we’d just missed a train go by. We had no clue what it had been but within the next 45 minutes both the inbound Botany Trips had gone over, both running about 40 minutes early and probably about as close as they could get to each other time wise. Both were solid Alco as well:

T280 Yennora – Botany was DL500’s 44209/4463

T250 Minto – Botany was T&T DL500’s 4458 leading, 4488 trailing

With both the inbound trips in we walked the 10 minutes or so round to the footbridge vantage point over Master Siding and spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon there. During which time we saw 6 trains, 4 of which had Alco’s on with a total of 9 Alco’s involved:

8164 Dubbo – Botany was GE GL109 (ex Alco 44229) & GT26C VL358

T287 Botany – Yennora was a mixed bag of CE615 8049, DL541 603 & GE EL58

T251 Botany – Minto returned with T&T DL500’s 4488 leading, 4458 trailing

T281 Botany – Yennora return with solid DL500’s 442s1, 4463 & 44209 (the former being added to the set at Botany for the return working)

An unknown empty container set arrived into the Loop to run round as there was no room at Cooks River with PN 81 Class, 8155/8111

T288 Yennora – Botany was last but not least with DL541 602 & DL500 4471

With the last one gone into Botany we were treated to a run down by a local gunzel to get an idea of the size of the container port and also for a much needed drink at the local golden arches. Make sure you have enough water for the day and a decent sunhat as the bridge at Master Siding is not very well sheltered at all from the sun.

A cracking day, which produced more Alco’s than we’d ever expected and what better way to celebrate than with a few beers in the pub near the hotel…….

Monday 17th December 2012

Our last morning in the country, we’d be flying home that afternoon. What better way to finish than by killing time photographing Alco’s on the morning Botany trips?

With our luggage in tow we weren’t as adventurous as the previous time a week ago and opted to use City Rail stations to conduct our photographing from before heading to the airport. Canterbury was the eventual chosen spot but not before checking out Dulwich Hill, which unfortunately proved to be a disaster for us. As we were between the two on a City Rail train a freight overtook us with a pair of ex Silverton 48’s leading an RL Class, the photograph through the window of the train not proving too great, it was quite dull. Still both the inbound Botany Trips produced Alco types so our mistake didn’t prove to be too much of a disaster and Caterbury was a far better location for trains heading to Botany than Dulwich Hill was.

While at Canterbury we photographed the following in a 90 minute spell:

???? Trip with 48s33, 48s34 & RL??? (through the train window as we arrived…..)

Track Inspection EMU (twice)

T285 0820 Botany – Yennora with DL500’s 4497/44208

T280 Yennora – Botany with DL500’s 44209/442s1

PN Coal train eastbound with G540, 8168, 8101 & 8104

PN Coal train CA69 westbound with 8254, 8217, 8181 & 8238

T250 Minto – Botany T&T with GE EL58 leading & DL500 4488 trailing

A decent morning! We had hoped the trips would be early again to allow us to nip an photograph 3801 Ltd Alcos 4501/4473 working the track inspection train south to Goulburn but it had already set off by the time we’d finished and the next train to Glenfield would have missed it by a good half an hour. So instead we went back into Sydney and straight to the airport; and there ended a very enjoyable trip indeed.

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