Sunday, September 12, 2010

Ada Point Railway

It was decided to go on an excursion to The Ada Point Railway.

I think it was Laura and Simon's idea.

Anyway as ideas go it was a doozy and that is for sure.

We were to gather outside The Young Pretender Hotel at 7am on Sunday morning and board a small bus to take us on the 113 km journey south to the Loon River where the railway is situated.

As I walked from my joint to the pub I passed The Magical Mystery Curry House [where the Indian cricketers eat when in Hobart] and recalled staggering out of there the previous evening.

I also recalled it was my birthday.

I couldn't care less.

I was as sick as a parrott and was in dire need of beer.

I was greeted with howls of derisive abuse.

We told you last night to get a carton.

"Fucked if I remember" I said "Can't we get beer at the railway?"

"It is out in the middle of fucking nowhere" says Susan, hands on hips.

It was decided to try and find some place open on the way.

Brycey hands me a long neck which was very compassionate of him.

Laura asks me do I remember knocking on her door at 11.30 to tell her what a good curry it was.
I decided to change the subject.

"Did the Saints get up?" I said.

Every one seems to think so.

We board the bus.

I rememer thinking "This is going to be a long day - how right I was.

I do not recall much about the journey except stopping at Eastport and asking the owner of the local store/servo/pub if I could get a carton of beer.

He shouldn't really as it is out of hours but "I will anyway".

I tell him he is one of god's little angels.

I reboard the bus with a carton of Fosters' cans.

Lesley says she would like one as she is a bit thirsty.

I pass her one and position the carton so it is not disturbed too much.

Lesley spits out the first mouthful.

"Fuck" she says - several times.

She looks at the label.

It is 4 years out of date.

Cowboy laughs uncontrollably.

Cowboy still likes to laugh about it 5 years later.

I open a can.

It tasted foul.

"It's crook alright" I said.

But it is my birthday and it is beer so I will fucking drink it anyway.

We arrive at our destination.

We board the train, or to be more correct we board the passenger carriages which are built on bogie flat wagons built in the 1890's, being some of the earliest bogie wagons in Australia.

We are all looking pensively at each other.

Something does not feel right - but what?

Also on the train [a 1940's war time Malcolm Moore Loco] are a middle age couple from Sydney.

The plan is we travel the 7km journey to pictureque Bottomless Hole and Edgar's Beach where we alight and have a BBQ.

The couple from Sydney will return along the 7km track to the station and head straight for the airport.

The locomotive will then return to Bottomless Hole, collect us and take us back to our bus.

As the locomotive pulls out of the station somewhat abrubtly we nearly all fall over.

The driver is a lovely bloke who the lady that owns the place employed because he helped her clean the place up a bit.

Whether he is an actual train driver is another matter.

The weather is good considering it is July and we get chatting with the couple from Sydney.

It turns out he worked on NSW Railways all his life and in his retirement travels around the country trying out train lines like this one.

The track is a 2 foot gauge line which was constructed in 1922 and has the distinction of being the most southerly railway in Australia.

Dense bushland is hard up aginst the track either side.

Today is the first day of operation since it was done up after closing many years before.

The government had put money into it as it was heritage listed and men in suits from the government had come down from the city and ticked the Ada Point Railway off as being railworthy.

We had travelled about 5km along the winding track when ther was a loud banging noise coming from the locomotive.

Steam was pouring from it as well and it gradually came to a halt.

The driver was reassuring.

'There can't be much wrong" he said.

"Men in suits from the city said it is AOK on Friday."

"I think we are fucked and I am hungry" remarks Big Matt.

All the men gather around the loco like they know about this sort of thing.

Cowboy puts his 2 bobs worth in.

The women are complaining.

This surprises no one.

Then the driver starts belting the loco with the handle of a screwdriver like a maniac.

The man from NSW Railways explains this is pointless.

"This Loco has had the dick" he tells the driver.

"It should never have left the station". "It is ROOT-ED, ROOT-ED!"

"And just look at these sleepers, they are not fit for use"

"I can't wait to tell the boys back home about this one.

Me, Young Mat, Brycey and Big Matt discuss the possibility the men in suits drove down here, had a cigarette signed the paperwork and and returned to the smoke.

It was decided the driver and the NSW couple would walk the 5km back to the station so they could make their flight and the driver would return with a 'rescue loco'.

We would walk the 2km to Bottomless Hole carrying Esky's of meat, Esky's of Beer, Esky's of ice. cartons of beer and casks of cardboard chardy along the 2 foot guage track.

Eventually we get there.

Everone is buggered.

The jeans I had bought for my birthday are rooted from the grease on the tracks.

We decide we have no control over the situation so might as well go and have a BBQ and get pissed.

It was one of those 'If you don't laugh you will cry' scenarios and everone was laughing.

Al decides to get his clobber off and go for a swim.

It is July.

The water was freezing.

"Well that was refreshing" says Al.

Everybody shakes their heads.

[I saw Al just a few weeks ago - he seemed to think he was Dame Edna Everidge].

He was wandering around in Lauderdale with a dress, wig, glass of champers the works.

I was just coming to the realisation we would be spending the night there when Ange bowls up to me and says "If they think I am walking all the way back they have got another fucking thing coming.

They will have to send a fucking bus out to get us".

"How will they get a fucking bus along a fucking 2 foot train track I ask her".

The good humour was beginning to wear off.

Just then Bec spotted the rescue loco shunting the broken one heading towards the turning circle.

There was much merriment, cheering, relief.

The driver lifted his cap to us as he went into the turning circle [too fast] and derailed the rescue loco.

Me and Brycey could not stand up from the drink and from laughing.

An hour later we had somehow manged to get the rescue loco back on the track and the driver reversed it the 7km back to the station with all of us in the carriage.

That is all of us except cowboy who had decided to lay on top of the carriage like he was in some sort of western.

The woman who owned the place was terribly upset and apologetic.

She tried to give us our money back but we refused.

None of us had ever had a better day.


  1. This is a truly inspirational story, Little Tramp.

    Very well written indeed.



  2. Thank you Dean,
    I will mention your name to Oprah Winfrey.