The Sound of Gladstone

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There’s slightly less smoke billowing through our home these days…

Every village has its’ own unique sound. In Rockhampton it’s the mooing of cattle, in Maryborough it’s the receding echo of footsteps as droves of youth leave town, and in bustling, downtown Ubobo, it’s the distant twang of well plucked banjos.

Meanwhile, the sound of Gladstone is the deep rumble of big diesel locomotives, punctuated with the din of shunting coal wagons.

But a couple of weeks ago, I came home from my shift at the Seafarers Mission and announced to Long Suffering Wife, “I’ve just dropped off the last bus load of sailors on the last coal ship out of Barney Point!” She immediately brightened up, “Good!  No more coal trains roaring past every hour!”

Not quite what I was expecting her to say about such a momentous occasion, but she was right, the number of trains thundering past our back door has dropped dramatically.

And there’s definitely been a notable decline in the clouds of black diesel smoke and coal dust wafting through Bray Manor of late. But on the downside, there has been a marked increase in sand-fly numbers.

And it seems that the ol’ Flying Three Thirty a.m. Special has been pulled from service as well, so my hopes of seeing a full blown train wreck at Breakneck Corner, involving four locos and sixty full coal wagons, have gone as well. Pity.

There’s only the low hum of distant refinery turbines to lull me to sleep now, so I’ll just have to train myself to adjust.

About Greg Bray

The scribbler behind the 'On a Lighter Note' column.
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