The West Coast Wilderness Railway links Strahan and Queenstown. Steam trains still run on the railway constructed in the 1890’s over rugged Tasmanian terrain that “was a foe to be conquered, not grand nature to be admired”. The German patented ABT rack and pinion railway system was laid and is still in use today. (Well maybe not this particular day – see below.)
At Regatta Point, Strahan, we walked onto the station platforms, admired the carriages and the track turntable at the end of the line. Across the road, engines were being cleaned, one dressed up ready for “Christmas in July”.
We wondered about taking a trip but then saw the notice.
It was Thursday, so no train journey for us today.
When we stopped at Queenstown on our way home, we looked in the station. This was a bigger building with a small informative museum.
I love the original benches from both stations, the contrasting detail. A stark tree trunk bench with bolt holes, the typical benches with wrought iron arms and legs, the waiting room bench with shiny worn leather.
For almost fifty years, the railway was the only way in and out of Queenstown until the West Coast Road was opened in 1932. It is hard to imagine the life of the early settlers and miners who ventured through the bush to form such isolated communities.
The west coast still feels remote. There are two roads out of Strahan, one north via Zeehan and the other east via Queenstown. The owner of the woodcraft gallery in Strahan told us that the nearest traffic lights are two and a half hours drive away.
This post links with Jude’s “bench series” at https://smallbluegreenwords.wordpress.com/2015/07/12/bench-series-28/