Queensland Trains

Benaraby to Parana


This page covers the section of the North Coast Line from Benaraby 507km north of Brisbane to the new crossing loop at Parana at the 525km post on the southern outskirts of Gladstone. Known to most locals as Toolooa Bends and to some out of towners Benaraby Bank the old line was charicterised by sharp curves and grades.
This section was rebuilt in 1988 to eliminate the grades and sharp curves used to construct a cheap narrow guage colonial railway. It also eliminated the need for the crossing loop at Toolooa because of the increased running speeds on the line.
Very little of the original formation is used and deep cuttings and embankments limit grades and curves.
As a kid in the early 80's my family lived on a mango farm and we would load our crop onto the fruit train that traveled from Cairns to Brisbane at Benaraby station. My brother and I would pull each other along the platform on the hand carts or watch the station staff doing their safework duties like changing staffs and looping them up in bamboo hoops.
I was more interested than most and the staff indulged me alot more than most places my father took me. 
On some occasions the guards van would contain crates of mud crabs in wet cloth sacks bound for Brisbane Fish Market. 
A lot has changed since then and the station at Banaraby is long gone so have the mudcrabs.


PN008 pulls into the loop at Benaraby to cross with the south bound Sunlander. On the left you can see the short siding that served a small cattle yard and the former station was located to the right of the tracks. This photo was taken from the level crossing at the northern end of the loop that was constructed during the realignment. It replaced a crossing that spaned both tracks and if the tracks were blocked you could drive under the wood trestle bridge over Machine Creek to get to the station.


The Sunlander arrives soon after and the freight train is soon on its way north.


Tilt Train passing the Up Home signal on the northern side of Benaraby loop. The bridge over Machine Creek has been replaced with a few large concrete pipes and filled in.


2800 class loco leading 4001 back to Gladstone after attention at the wheel lathe in Brisbane. This location is just north of Benaraby on a large embankment over a kilometer long. It was constructed during the realignment of the line in 1988. 2003


2300 and 1720 class locos lead the Sunlander south near the Toolooa Boat ramp. To the left of the loco is the former site of the Toolooa crossing loop eliminated during the realignment. You can see the extent of the eathworks needed to construct the new line.


Class leader PN001 heading north at the same location as the previous photo.


2304 and 1769 crossing the section about two kilometers south of Parana Loop. 19/02/07


The 50th Aniversary train celebrating victory in the Pacific rolls north over the section shown in the previous photo. 1995


Class leader 3901 running easy over the section as it heads north to Rockhampton. 1997


2305, 2321 and 2155D head north into Gladstone with an overnight freight from Brisbane. 23/02/06


Looking in the opposite direction to the previous photo into the deep cutting leading to the loop at Parana a 2800 class loco runs its train south. 23/02/06


A 2800 class loco in new QRNational paintwork (some people call such painted locos Cane Toads) slows as directed by the Down Approach signal for Parana. Trains proceeding through the loop and onto the Moura Line to bypass Gladstone got the restricted aspect because the points from the NCL to the Moura line were only rated at 25 km/h. The points have been recently upgraded and now have a speed limit of 50km/h.


PN010 running hard to the south behind the Sunlander  that is only ten minutes ahead. 23/02/06


A Brisbane bound molassas train on the Toolooa section in the misty rain. The embankment on the right is the former NCL and is used by peolpe as a driveway to their new alotments.


2191F and a sister unit enter the deep cutting leading to Parana Loop. 24/02/06


Different company same location.


2846 waits in the loop at Parana while the southbound Tilt replacement service powers south. 29/06/06

Click here to return to Location Profile page.