Skip to main content

Tracks to Bathurst

We were booked to fly to Rockhampton tomorrow, our first flights in a year and a half. Not happening. The borders are closed again. For those in Greater Sydney there is nowhere to go but New South Wales itself. So that is what we are doing.

Driving the new car we cross the Blue Mountains. The traffic is relatively heavy, but flowing. Our destination is Bathurst and we reach it an hour after midday, hungry.

The room isn't ready, so we cross the road into the centre of town and take lunch at Nikki's Cafe. Then, with the afternoon passing we check into the motel, then drive a short distance to the Bathurst Rail Museum. 

The museum is located at what used to be the Bathurst Railway Institute, where young men were trained to maintain and operate the railways of New South Wales. It also served as a social hub for sports and other activities. 

The museum has a series of static and video displays about the institute, but the biggest attraction is the largest public model railway layout in the Southern Hemisphere.

The HO scale layout models the train line between Bathurst and Tarana. The route is modelled in exquisite detail, with the trains, stations, yards and bridges in between. When I bend over to inspect the Indian Pacific stopped at Bathurst Station I am taken back to my own overnight rides on Australian trains years ago.

I am not such a fan of the mode of transport displayed in the next museum we visit. Further out of town beside the famous Mount Panorama circuit is the National Motor Racing Museum.

There are a huge number of cars and motorcycles on display, lots of Fords and Holdens. I'm amused by the dinky little early racers, looking more like children's toys than the cars of today.

We recreate our own little Bathurst 1000 with a anti-clockwise drive around the track, one of Australian sport's most sacred sites. There isn't to be any racing, though, with a police patrol monitoring for wannabe hoons.

In the middle and surrounding the circuit are working farms and a vineyard. We stop by the lookout up the top and Mount Panorama lives up to its name with spectacular views across the city and the rural landscape. Flat bottomed clouds float languidly in the deep blue sky above the yellow and deep green landscape.

This is the view I need, of space and distant horizons. We have flown over here so many times en route to Singapore and Malaysia. 

The tight steep curves down the hill make me wonder at the skill of the racers as they do it at speed. Then we are on the home stretch. 

Tracks of road and rail today, but none in the sky. 


Popular posts from this blog

Ho Chi Minh to Hoi An

The easy way to get to Hoi An from Ho Chi Minh City is to fly to Danang then go via car for the final leg. Then there's my way. We had to wake at 5.30 am to get ready for a 6.15 departure from the hotel. A hotel car took us the few kilometres to the domestic terminal at the airport, where we checked into our Vietnam Airlines flight to the central Vietnam city of Hue. The airport was nothing flash, but it seemed functional. Alex had sandwiches (refused banh mi) for breakfast, then we went to the gate. Our blue Airbus A321 was parked at a remote stand, which necessitated a packed shuttle bus ride. It was nice to be aboard a full service airline again, even if the service was just a cup of water. We took off over the hazy skies of Ho Chi Minh City and for most of the smooth flight were cruising over a carpet of cloud. We descended over mountains poking their heads through the cloud, across lakes and paddy fields and over the beach. It was lovely scenery.

The Carlingford Line

We close the year and the decade with a local adventure to mark the closure of a railway line. On the January 5, 2020, the Carlingford Line from Clyde will close to be partially replaced by the Parramatta Light Rail. This is Sydney's quietest line, a single track branch for most of its length from the industrial centre of Clyde to the northwestern suburb of Carlingford. According to Wikipedia, power supply and signalling issues mean that only a single four car train can utilise the line at a time. Newer Sydney trains run in fixed eight car configurations. This will be the first and last time I traverse the Carlingford Line in its current configuration. The weather of the day is certainly appropriate for an ending, the brown smoke haze lending an apocalyptic air to proceedings. I drive to Padstow and catch the T8 line to Central, followed by the T1 towards Parramatta and Penrith. The historic homes of the Inner West give way to industrial complexes, rail storage yards and t

A lazy day at the beach

It's 2am and somebody is still setting fireworks off on the beach in front of the hotel. I can't see the explosions as I have the window shuttered, but I can still hear them. I've wanted to have a lazy day and today was the closest I got. I woke up in the night from a very sad dream. Dreams follow crazy paths, but this one resolved itself as so. An entity had been causing disruption of computer systems around the world. It turned out that this entity had emerged from the computer networks and had been struggling to gain access to more computing power so that it could live. The entity had taken on the persona of a woman. The protagonist who had "defeated" the entity discovered that it was alive, spoke to it. Ultimately fell in love with her. But his prior actions would lead to its death. As a gift to her he downloaded his memories so that she could experience life even as she died. I know it sounds like a pulpy sf or technopunk plot, but dreams are about feelings,