Sugar Cane Railway Drawbridges
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We have to cross the Queensland
Government rail line in 15 locations. In three of these
locations we have either an underpass or overpass, but in the
other 12 we actually have to cross the QR line “at grade”. There
are two main ways of doing this. One is by catch-points and the
other is by drawbridge.
The drawbridge works quite simply by lowering 2 foot track down
onto the QR line at right angles forming a bridge for our trains
to cross the QR line. The drawbridge is always in the upright
position allowing passage of QR trains. As a cane train
approaches the drawbridge, the driver activates the drawbridge
by a remote control in the locomotive cabin. This changes the QR
signals to stop and starts lowering the drawbridge. Once the
drawbridge is in place, the cane train can proceed across the QR
line. Once the cane train is clear of the drawbridge, the
drawbridge will automatically lift and clear the QR track and
return QR signals to proceed. If a QR train is on the track
section approaching the drawbridge when the cane train attempts
to lower the drawbridge, the drawbridge will not lower and
signals for the cane train will remain at red until the QR train
has cleared the crossing. If the cane train does not stop at the
red signal, a “catch point” will derail the cane train to
prevent it entering the crossing in the path of a QR train.
|A view of the
drawbridge in the upright position. The catch-points can be seen in
the foreground adjacent to the stop signal.
|A close up of the
drawbridge in the upright position allowing for passage of QR
|Drawbridge in the
upright position for QR passage.
to lower after being activated by cane train crew.
|Drawbridge in the
lowered position awaiting cane train to cross.
|Tamper Number 5
crossing the drawbridge.
Catch points, normally in the open position, are provided on
each leg of the cane railway and are located at a fixed safe
distance from the QR crossing to prevent QR trains and cane
trains from colliding. A catch point disc, normally facing
oncoming cane trains displays, a 'Stop' signal and is placed
adjacent to each catch point. Electrically lit colour light
signals or semaphore signals are used to display proceed or stop
signals to approaching QR trains and are located on each side of
the crossing on QR tracks. A Ground Frame or “Kangaroo Tail”
lever is used to close and open the catch points and change all
signals. Some crossings are protected by electrical track
circuits on the QR line which detect the presence of QR trains.
At these crossings a 'Free Light' is continuously lit to
indicate that there are no QR trains approaching the crossing.
If a QR train is approaching the free light goes out and will
not come back on until the QR train has cleared the crossing. At
crossings where there is no electrical circuits to protect the
crossing, the cane train crew must visually check that no QR
trains are approaching before using the crossing. The catch
points must be manually reset for the safe passage of QR trains
by the Driver’s Assistant every time a cane train crosses QR
|Kangaroo tail lever:
One of the means of operating the catch points
|Ground frame lever:
This is the other means of operating catch points. The free light is
in the small enclosure on the post next to the ground frame
|Catch point and disc:
This shows the catch point in the open position and the disc
displaying a stop signal to the cane train crew. When the catch
points are closed the disc will display a white signal.
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