Just loco about our cane trains
PORT Douglas has achieved something very rare for a small community – it’s now a four train town.
On Tuesday John Morris added another loco, the No4 “Nelson” (aka “Mulgrave Rambler”), to his Port Douglas Steam Train Co’s collection of cane trains that service the Bally Hooley railway running from the Reef Marina to St Crispins.
The 1933 Fowler-built loco, from the builder’s yards in Leeds, UK, will be a mostly static exhibit at St Crispins, “so that everyone who visits can get a good look at a steam train,” said owner John Morris. It will also be used for special events.
The 15-tonner and its 6 tonne tender were bought off Mulgrave Sugar Mill’s owners, MSF. The train served as the Mulgrave Rambler in a tourism venture for a time, but when it was first operated at Mulgrave it was in fact No 4 “Nelson” – the name it still bears proudly in brass serif type on the side of the engine plate.
John Morris can’t help himself when it comes to cane trains. Their connection to the sugar industry, so vital to the development of the Douglas district, is something he values immensely. “I want to preserve that connection through these four locos,” Mr Morris said.
He said he was very grateful to Steam Train Co CEO Alan Johnstone for his key role in acquiring the new loco, and to MSF for parting with their train.
It was loaded onto a transporter in Cairns and unloaded at St Crispins in a painstaking operation by Kelly’s Cranes of Mossman.
It’s not the only addition to Choo Choo’s Cafe and railway station at St Crispins this week, as the venue’s development continues. The pontoon bridge across the small inlet is now near completion, connecting the walkway to the Mirage Country Club golf course.