SXSW 2007

This is my travel blog. It started as a way for people to keep up with my trip to Australia to watch the 2006/7 Ashes series, and continued with my trip to SXSW 2007 in Austin, Texas, and Las Vegas in March '07.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I had a little trip out through the Brisbane suburbs yesterday on the train down to the town of Ipswich. I took a cab to the railway workshops museum and paid my $16 entrance. There was a tour of the blacksmith shop leaving almost immediately which I joined. I say joined as I was the only person there & so I had a one on one tour. I expected that we would be seeing exhibits and looking at displays of how the work used to be done. But no, this is still a working factory, now used to restore and maintain the historic steam trains used for tourist trips on Queensland rail. So I was in my element - loads of ancient engineering equipment still being used - no worries about Health and Safety here - I was able to see the forging, hammering and welding going on at close range.
The workshops here are just like the ones that used to be in Swindon - I felt quite at home. They even have a working traverser, which they used to take the tourists to the various workshops. For those of you that are wondering what a traverser is (shame on you) it's a device for shifting the engines & carriages from workshop to workshop - if you walk to the Outlet village in Swindon from the town centre you will have passed the Swindon works traverser which is still there.
We were also shown round the steam repair workshops where they are working on the various engines and carriages used for tourist trips. All the trains in Queensland are narrow guage - I think it's the largest narrow guage network in the world. It's also indicative I think of the Queensland mentality that they have stuck with it rather than go for the usual standard guage like the rest of the world.
Anyway I really enjoyed my trip down memory lane. After getting back to Brisbane & meeting up with Moz after his trip to the zoo, we went out for a meal on the pierside overlooking the Brisbane river. We sat out in the open in our shirtsleeves and enjoyed our view of Brisbane at night. I thought I'd just put that bit in for all of you back in the UK currently enjoying the rain and cold..................Sorry!


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