Driver Rod Andrew enjoys a break as the historic stainless steel train makes a stop in Rockhampton on its way to Cairns.
Driver Rod Andrew enjoys a break as the historic stainless steel train makes a stop in Rockhampton on its way to Cairns. Allan Reinikka

Historic train on rails to future

ROCKHAMPTON had a blast from the past yesterday.

One of Queensland's first stainless-steel rail cars, built in the 1950s, passed through town on its journey from Brisbane to Cairns.

The historic diesel-powered RM1901 has been fitted with a professional camera which will capture 1691km of vision as it maps the North Coast line.

This vision will then be used by Queensland Rail to train new drivers.

Queensland Rail's train management improvement officer Andy Corson-Cook said yesterday the project would enhance the rigorousness and boldness of the training program.

"Drivers will be able to look at that vision prior to going out on the track themselves. It's just another great tool," he said.

Mr Corson-Cook said the biggest benefits of the project would be the ability to look at the line's critical areas and prepare new drivers for the geographical layout of the track.

The train, which usually lives at Ipswich Heritage Workshops, can reach a top speed of 80kmh and, unlike its electrical successor, has a gear system.

Driver Rod Andrew said it was a more physical driving experience, but worth it for the improvements to safety it will provide.

"A train driver's biggest fear is fatalities," he said.

The train will make its way to Cairns over the next four days.



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