Stirrat Loop is about
ten kilometres west of Calliope parallel to the Dawson Highway, it like several other locations gets its name from
a prominent family in the district.
During the 2007 Loop Extension Project the
cutting at the west (Down) end of the loop was widened to allow the crossing loop to be extended.
The page is the largest
in this series due to the fact Stirrat is the closest loop to my home as well as the number of good photo sites,I
also wanted to show the steps taken to extend a loop during the project.
4022 leads a loaded train up the grade towards Gladstone about five kilometers west of Stirrat Loop, this section
of the line has several deep cuttings and winds its way through some small hills.
Train 6868 at the same location as the previous photo on a very early return to Gladstone from Biloela. This train carries
mostly meat from the Theys Brothers meat works in Biloela as well as seasonal cotton traffic.
Although the area received good summer rain in 2007 the rest of the state did not fare so well with a much reduced supply
of cattle to the meat works leading to shorter trains and on some days it is not run at all. This train is the result of a
threat in the late 1990's to close the line and freight depot in Biloela because the government of the day considered it unviable.
The local community was told to "use it or loose it" they chose to use it and many businesses commited freight to the
line. Unlike many communities who have given up on their railway this community actively searched to put freight on the rails
knowing that job losses and no alternative to road freight meant higher charges. Once this train reaches Gladstone extra wagons
will be added for Fishermans Island container terminal in Brisbane.
This can be one of the many things made in Gladstone from aluminium to chemicals like chlorine. The covered wagons on
either end of the train house gensets to provide hotel power to the refrigerated containers.
Several kilometers west of Stirrat a loaded train passing through the dry over grazed scrub, in the last ten years many
hobby farms have been springing up along this section. Many of them are just a stone throw from the line and some of them
are even using the lines formation as a way to access their property rather than thier driveways. I am sure there are a few
crews who have had a scare over the last few years. 10/05/07
The video below was taken from the level crossing to the left of where this photo was taken.
An empty train heading west, this photo was taken near the rear of the train in the previous photo.
With earthworks complete the crews will start on the track and signals soon but in the meantime a empty train hustles
through Stirrat Loop.
The new loop track is down and the points installed but not connected as crews are busy installing the new Down Starter
signals and around the bend the new Up Home signal. The new loop length signs are installed but covered with black plastic.
2160, 2162 and 2161 head a empty train through the Down or western end of the recently extended Stirrat Loop.
A loaded coal train approaching the level crossing shown in the previous picture before the construction of the new signals.
In the photo below you can se the UP home signal is set for the siding for the load to wait for the arrival of an empty.
The extension is complete as this four loco train glides through the loop with a 56 wagon train of 105 ton hoppers.
Two rebuilt locos of the 2250 class with a 4000 class loco lead a empty train through the old section of Stirrat Loop.
As you can see the new track for the loop is in place and ready to be cut in. The Down Starter signals will remain as intermediate
signals to warn crews of the signal aspect of the new Down starter siganls at the end of the new loop around the bend.
The short siding to the left is used to store defective rolling stock or track machines.
A loaded train waits on the main line for a cross with a empty train headed by two 4000 class locos. This photo was taken
at the east end of the siding where the only thing to change for the loop extension was the relocation of the Down Approach
The empty takes the loop passing the signal relay building.
Not long after the last wagon cleared the points the controller swings them back to the main and gives the loaded train a
A loaded train crossing Deep Creek about one kilometer east of Stirrat, the old Down Approach signal was located to the
right of this photo just over the bridge. The new Approach signal is several hundred meters further east.
A 4000 class coal train just east of Deep Creek bridge, the curve in the track is where the new Down Approach signal
has been relocated.
Track workers check the guage before running the rail grinder over the points.