The listing at right is the result of several hours of YouTube searching in March 2018. Links were live at that time (both YouTube and individual contributors withdraw materials from time to time); descriptions, etc., came from the contributors' YouTube notes.
While care has been taken to ensure correctness at time of preparation, it is the responsibility of the viewer to practice good computer hygiene/ security. No responsibility can be undertaken for omissions or inclusions, including in the notes; and different search criteria or timing might produce a quite different listing.
Photos, etc., of mills, mill railway systems and their settings. Use the mill name as a search term for Australian mills, and the country name for other countries. You can also use the photographer's name (when known), or locomotive manufacturer, etc., as the search term.
alphabetic listing includes direct links to most CaneSIG non-photographic resources: brochures, reports, maps and other items relating to the sugar industry within Australia and overseas.
Cane Tram Notes
Cane Tram Notes are a continuing series of articles on topics relating to the sugar cane industry in Australia and overseas. Edited by Lynn Zelmer, and hopefully well researched, they are intended to provide background information for historians, rail enthusiasts and tourists. Individual titles are also listed on the Modelling Resources page.
Site/content copyright © A C Lynn Zelmer or as marked.
CaneSIG is one of the rail heritage and modelling sites hosted by
Queensland [Other states/countries follow]
- 2016 Queensland Sugar Cane crushing season [Mill by Mill, Isis to Mossman]
Queensland Cane Trailer: A trailer clip for my series on Queensland sugar cane railways from October, 2016. The series covers every active mill tramway from Isis in the south to Mossman in the far north. Published on Nov 19, 2016, fmnut.
Part 1 of the series on the 2016 Queensland Sugar Cane crushing season. Isis Central Mill is the last independent cooperative mill in Queensland. Video was taken on the main line between the mill and Cordalba as well as on the branch line to Childers.
Part 2 of the series: Bundaberg Sugar's Millaquin and Bingera Mills. While trains on the Millaquin network proved elusive (2 scenes from 2014 were included for more coverage), we were able to catch the run from Wallaville depot to Bingera, and chased it all the way back on the return journey. The final scenes are on former Fairymead trackage starting at the Meadowvale drawbridge crossing of QR.
Part 3 of the series: Wilmar Sugar's Plane Creek Mill. We begin in the mill town of Sarina with some night shots at the mill and outside our Motel (if you are planning a trip here the Tramway Motel is the place to stay!) In the morning we caught empties heading for Koumala, following him up the branch then back, crossing over QR and returning to the main line after waiting for a northbound to pass. Then we followed the remote train south to the end of the line at Karloo and back north as far as Yukan. The portion of line from Koumala to Karloo was laid in 1995 to eliminate cane haulage by Queensland Rail on their main line. The remote trains run to 400 bins and 1800 tons, all unbraked stock, with just the 2 locos and a remote brake van for stopping power.
Part 4: Marian Mill is part of Mackay Sugar, its lines generally run north and south of the Pioneer River to the west of Marian. We spent most of the day on the scenic line to Finch Hatton, with both the Walkers and EIMCO locos working the line. Mackay has 4 EIMCOs, with the prototype (now working for MSF Sugar) being constructed in Zimbabwe. Finch Hatton is a usual assignment for one of them, account of the steep grades on the line to the east. Their unusual appearance is a big contrast to the more conventional cane locos.
Part 5: Racecourse and Farleigh Mills are also part of Mackay Sugar and have connections to each other and also to Marian Mill. Farleigh is notable for running long trains with DPU helpers similar to Plane Creek. I have included a few previously unpublished scenes from 2014 to fill out the coverage. The lines have a number of interesting features such as large the road/rail bridge over the Pioneer River near the former Pleystowe mill, a timber decked road/rail bridge over QR, and a huge rock cut dating to a 1994 grade reduction project. Unfortunately this last is on private property with gated access.
Part 6: We only got a brief look at Proserpine Mill's railway, as we were in transit from Mackay to Ayr and I wanted to stop at Bowen to catch a coal train. We were fortunate to catch the little Clyde along the QR main after a brief circle of the mill revealed little activity. Inkerman Mill is served by QR, with raw sugar and molasses going to Townsville for export. We came upon a unique mailbox post and I couldn't resist operating it. Some cane fires are shown both in daylight and after dark. The Burdekin region is the only place where this practice is still done regularly.
Part 7: Re uploaded this with the sound track fixed. Pioneer Mill is the only cane railway in Queensland built to 3' 6", the same gauge as the bulk of Queensland's rail network. The line is configured like a large rectangular loop with the mill at the top left and shared dual gauge trackage with Kalamia Mill on the right and Invicta Mill across the bottom. Some of the bin transfers are dual gauge also. There are also multiple spurs off the loop. We were fortunate to catch the Walkers steeple cab loco originally built for the Aramac Shire Tramway. The big B-B Walkers conversions were a simple job for this line, not having to be regauged. Also of note is the Brandon crossing/catch points, the only cane crossing in Queensland with both lines having the same gauge.
Part 8: The cane railways of these two networks [Kalamia & Invicta] are connected and share a portion of their track with the wider gauge Pioneer network. Even though they share the same gauge, the Willison couplers are not directly compatible, an adapter must be used. Together these three mills serve a huge area on the north side of the Burdekin river. Kalamia Mill is also noted for its dual gauge connection to Queensland Rail, over which QR trains haul raw sugar and a mill loco hauls QR molasses cars with the use of an adapter wagon. Unfortunately I was not able to get video of this process, but there are other views of it on YouTube. Invicta's main line was extremely busy on the two days we visited, with trains backing up heading towards the mill waiting for empties to go south.
Part 9: These two mills [Victoria & Macknade] have an interconnected rail network. One interesting feature is the diamond crossing of the QR North Coast Line in Ingham town. This is the only location on the QR network where the signals are normally set for the cane railway, not the QR line. The signal box is no longer manned 24/7, and a signalman shows up about 20 minutes before train time to open the cane railway catch points and clear the signal for QR. I spent quite a bit of time at this location trying to catch QR trains, which accounts for the large number of shots. The Spirit of Queensland was running 3 hours late so it was just a continuous parade of cane trains until it arrived. Also of interest is the haulage of raw sugar on an extension of the cane network from both mills to Lucinda, where the longest loading pier in the southern hemisphere extends 5.76 km into the bay in order to reach deep water so the largest bulk vessels can be accommodated. This is the only network that exports bulk sugar this way, as the others use either QR or trucks.
Part 10: Tully Mill is owned by the Chinese food conglomerate COFCO and all of their output goes to export by truck. On our 2014 visit we toured the mill (see my video "Tully Mill Tour and Trains" also on YouTube). This visit I wanted to focus on the north end of the network, the area known as El Arish. After some shots around the mill, we went up to the top of the hill where the Tully cane line crosses QR on an overhead bridge. After losing the train for a while, we caught up with them again at the and of the Sanderson's branch and chased back to the top of the hill. We were fortunate to catch the Spirit of Queensland at the Jaffa diamond,. After some non-rail tourism, we wound up the day with Tully 6 entering the mill from the south.
Part 11: South Johnstone Mill has an extensive rail network, incorporating lines from the former Goondi, Mourilyan and Babinda Mills, the latter providing a connection to fellow MSF partner Mulgrave Mill. The southern end is only a short distance north of the north end of the Tully system. We spent two days on this network, starting with the street running in South Johnstone and working north to the Mirwinni area. The second day we worked the south end at Japoonvale and Silkwood, where a pair of units are kept at a small enginehouse. Until 2007 bins were gathered at Japoonvale and road trains operated over a tortuous steeply graded line to the mill. This line is now only used to gather cane from branches. A new and much flatter connecting line was built east of Silkwood to a portion of the Mourilyan network and a new QR crossing installed at Boogan. This is where we ended our coverage on day two.
Part 12: Part of the MSF Sugar (Thai owned) group, Mulgrave Mill also has an extensive network, incorporating trackage from the former Hambledon Mill south of Cairns. We begin with a look at the mill and its rotary dumper, some shunting around the mill yard, and catch a few trains heading north along various lines. The final sequence begins with the duck under at Redlynch, with a QR Kuranda Scenic train and then empty bins heading for the Barron River delta, and a return chase around the west side of Cairns all the way back to the mill. Of note are the locos with cut down cabs (Hambledon and Redlynch) that were modified specifically for this service.
Part 13: The final installment in the Queensland Sugar Cane series, Mossman Mill is now part of Mackay Sugar, so some locos are in the green/yellow/red of that company while some still remain in Mossman's traditional blue/yellow scheme. The most unique feature of this line is the absence of traditional cane "bins", the mill having switched to an intermodal system back in the late 1960's. The cars are actually small bogie skeleton flats and the cane bins can be transferred to trucks for loading in the field. The cars with panel slides are the older style and are generally used now like conventional bins being loaded at outlying points by cane tippers, while the newer mesh side bins are used in the slide-on/slide-off manner, chiefly at the large bin transfer station at Cassowarys. The various branches are very scenic with a number of road/rail bridges, some of them wooden decked. Perhaps the most interesting feature is the street running down Mill St. in downtown Mossman. This line funnels most of the traffic from the north of town into the mill. The line is also notable for currently having the northernmost rail line in Queensland at the terminus at Bamboo. (There were other rail lines north of here but they are now abandoned.)
Sugar Cane Harvester - Haulout in Australia
Published on Oct 22, 2017
A John Deere 3520T with two new JCB 3230 Fastrac - RB Engineering Smarthauler cutting south of Ingham for Victoria Mill
sugar cane haulout in australia
Published on Aug 1, 2009
A case ih powerhaul unloading into bins at a siding in the tully mill area
Sugar Cane Haulout in Australia
Published on Sep 24, 2016
An Artic John Deere 7230R - tri axle carta bin haulout unloading into Units (Bins) for Tully mill
Sugar Cane Train in Australia
Published on Dec 25, 2017
Unloading Sugar Wagons at QSL Bulk Sugar Terminal, Lucinda
sugar cane truck in australia
Published on Jul 22, 2009
A zarb transport b-double unloading cane for over the eton range into 14 tonne cane bins at the ex north eton mill yard
sugar cane truck in australia
Published on Aug 31, 2010
A troncos b-double with a load of kennedy cane unloading at the transfer station at south johnstone mill
Egyptian Sugar Cane Railway
- Les Pitcher
Published on Mar 19, 2012
Video clips from March 2012
Steam in India 2005 - Riga Sugar Mill
Published on Jan 22, 2014
In 2005 The Riga Sugar Mill, located in the north east of Bihar State, not far from the Nepal border, operated two metre gauge locos. A 1930 built Hudswell Clarke 0-8-0ST and a small Hunslet 0-4-0 diesel built in 1935. Ox carts were also used to bring a significant quantity of cane to the mill. Despite this ancient motive power, Riga Sugar Mill, is modern a factory and produces Sugar, Molasses, Bagass (the fibrous residue of cane burnt in the furnace to produce power), Ethyl Alcohol, Industrial Alcohol and fertiliser.
Sugar Cane Railway in India
- Railfan Depot
Published on Jun 7, 2016
See this Indian steam oddity and the famous Darjeeling Himalayan Railway in "To the Top of the World by Steam" in DVD or Blu-ray: http://rfd.video/DarjeelingHimalayan
last updated: 6 March 2018.