Sunday, 18 September 2016


unfortunately darth has stopped blogging for a while.

darths memory lives on in this video.

i will however be continuing to post photos at train stations. i will be walking to base camp mt everest as part of the leukaemia foundation mt everest challenge. if you would like to sponsor me to show your support here

Wednesday, 31 December 2014


the trainspotting journey i began back in the third year of my pharmacy degree was initially conceived as something of a fun pass time, since i enjoyed riding the train. i never anticipated it would turn into the monster it has become today, and i am quite embarrassed when i look back now at how small the entry for wulkuraka is in comparison to my recent efforts. (i promise i will revisit that entry once i have blogged the remaining stations!) 

the idea for blog began during the holiday break between a semester on cardiology and the upcoming semester of microbiology, when i collected a few terminating stations, including ferny grove, shorncliffe, cleveland (when it was still purple) and caboolture. a visit to catch up with a friend ended in being dropped back to wacol to catch a train back home, and so i also collected wacol station before i even began the blog. the idea of visiting traveston railway station came when i heard that this particular station had the lowest patronage on the network. i thought it would be awesome to be in the exclusive company of the other handful of people who had collected traveston station. from the idea of visiting traveston, the project evolved into visiting every station on the network. thus the idea of the blog was born.

i began writing trainspotting within days of our microbiology semester beginning, and despite having a terrible track record at biological subjects, it turned out to be one of the best semesters (in terms of marks) i would produce for the degree. the semester included covering the different infective organisms and the antibiotics used to kill or control them. as children it was not uncommon for us to end up on antibiotics that my mother affectionately described as smelling like dead cockroaches. (to this day, cockroaches are the only thing on the planet i am terrified of, and i scream like a school girl when i see one. it is highly embarrassing) the funny thing is, my mother wasnt too far off the mark with her comments, because a lot of antibiotic classes have a less then sanitary beginning to their story. if you are particularly interested, i explain it further here in a specially made blog of extra information :)

as i mentioned, i had dreamed of catching the train to traveston since i had first heard about the tiny railway station, and well before i had the idea of blogging about my journeys. the train itself that travels to traveston isnt a regular emu, smu or imu; instead a special train is reserved for this journey. the train that goes to traveston is the ice (which stands for inter city express). i managed one day at fortitude valley to get to see the ice after it had made its way back from gympie north and was returning to roma street. i was changing trains after a day with lyn from clayfield, and was eager to walk up and touch it. however, since there were a number of people on the platform they may have thought that would be a bit odd, so i had to be content with admiring her from the platform. 

the first time i got to touch the ice was at central station one day while i was waiting for a train to mitchelton to do a stock delivery to the store at brookside in order to save karen making the journey by car. it was incredibly tempting to board the ice to traveston and forget about the stock transfer! instead i had to contend with settling to touch the train and watch it depart while i waited for the next ferny grove train. 

my journey to traveston wasnt actually the first time i had caught the ice. the first time i had set foot on the inter city express before finally making the journey to traveston wasnt for an exceptionally long journey. actually, it was for the shortest journey possible on that particular train: from roma street to central. is it a touch sad that i enjoy the train known as ice so much that i will happily abandon a perfectly good ferny grove train at roma street when heading to the city after a day of study at pace (dutton park station), and wait for the ice to arrive so i can make my final stop at central? i guess it is a bit sad really, but it is also ironic that the train is called the ice, and ice is also the street name for illicit chemical substances derived from amphetamines. what is even more ironic is that amphetamines are used to treat adhd, (and i was a dexamphetamine child...) in case you were wondering; the dex/des part of the name simply means the right hand side of an enantiomer, and for completeness; levo means left. you will probably come across these in some over the counter pharmaceuticals; levocetirizine (left handed zyrtec); desloratadine (right handed claratyne) and dextromethorphan (a popular right handed cough suppressant marketed as bisolvon and robitussin which has a lot of drug interactions) as well as common prescriptions: desvenlafaxine (right handed efexor, marketed as pristiq) levonorgestrel (a left handed hormonal pill used by many women) and levodopa (a left handed drug for parkinsons disease) there are many many others, but this is a blog about trains and drugs, no just drugs!

and so after more than a year of blogging about wishing to catch the ice to traveston, it finally happened! it was just as eventful as i had hoped for; actually it was probably even more eventful than i had anticipated because i made the journey on a day when we didnt have class, so i made sure to take plenty of study material with me for the trip which was to last about two and a half hours in each direction. i also had time to kill at the station itself while i waited for the ice to return to collect me from traveston and head back to central. naturally, most of that time was spent taking photos of traveston and eating junk food, but i promise the study books did make an exit from my backpack while i was at the station!

the journey began, as most journeys do, at dinmore in the morning with karen for a 5:37am train to central. i was able to get some study done on the train between dinmore and central, and also while i was at the store with karen. i had started some heavy revision on the antiarrhythmic drugs because cardiovascular disease was likely to appear prominently in the final written exam for quality use of medicines. i really enjoyed the cardiovascular subjects in third year, which isnt bad for a kid who passed out in year 9 science when miss hickey was talking about the circulatory system. i have come a long way since those days as an easily grossed out 14 year old! having to look at cadavers in first year probably helped, but i also have the unenviable history of having seen the body of a deceased person floating in the brisbane river after committing suicide, so i have had my fair share of life experiences despite my age.

revising antiarrhythmics while in the store was never going to be enough time, and so it became an automatic decision that i would continue revising them on the train. i caught a springfield central train from central to roma street after leaving karen. i had some time to go to the loo and sit and wait for the ice to arrive on platform 9. usually the ice departs from platform 7 at roma street, but on this particular day she was departing platform 9. i love the ice; it certainly wins the competition hands down for being the most comfortable train to ride in of all the trains in the network (for me, the second most comfortable is the older imu train. you know; the ones without wifi. they often still service the airport and gold coast lines, and despite their arrival on platforms being greeted with universal sighs, they are certainly the second most comfortable trains to travel in as far as im concerned. perhaps you agree?)

when the ice arrived at roma street i got a photo of it because i wanted this journey to be as fully documented as possible. it is highly likely that i will only get to make this particular journey the one time, and will only pass the traveston railway station again when i make my journey to the end of the line at gympie north. technically this is a once in a lifetime experience and despite being slightly stressed out with upcoming exams, i wanted to make the most of it.

traveston is the smallest railway station on the translink queensland rail network. i mean that literally. this station has the lowest patronage on the network and is also the smallest in terms of its size, as the platform is only long enough to fit the length of a single carriage. traveston really is tiny. it is located on the sunshine coast line, which is also known as the gympie north line. traveston is the second last station on this line as it is followed only by gympie north itself. since i havent yet visited gympie north, traveston blows glasshouse mountains out of the water as the station furthest north that i have visited. the station immediately before traveston is cooran, which is also a small station, but no where near as small as little travie!

the journey from roma street to traveston took just under three hours, making it the longest journey i had been on to that point in time. this would be eclipsed only when visiting gympie north, which is considerably further north than traveston. the journey itself didnt feel like a three hour journey, simply because i had my amh and my notebooks, so plenty of study was done between roma street and cooran. i admit i didnt study as heavily from glasshouse mountains onwards, simply because this was a new and exciting journey and i didnt want to miss too much of it because of cardiology study. still, i got through the antiarrhythmic classes fairly comfortably. one thing i learned which was particularly interesting was that digoxin is category a in pregnancy. digoxin is a drug with a very narrow therapeutic range and can be fatally toxic in overdose. it is plant derived from foxglove (also known as digitalis). i found it mind blowing that such a drug could be in the safest pregnancy category. drugs really can be fascinating to learn about.

i admit that i had stalked traveston on google maps and street view many times to get a picture of what the station was like. even after doing these searches and staring at it when i should have been studying, i still was anxiously excited to be traveling on the ice to traveston for the first time. i had initially planned to make traveston my last station to visit for the blog, but then i had a change of heart because i wanted it to be the first station i visited of the stations north of nambour. to visit a station north of nambour when traveling outbound from the city, you need to catch the ice which leaves roma street at 9:29am or central at 9:33am. there is no other option, because the next train that leaves brisbane and heads to gympie north will leave roma street at 5.47pm and central at 5.51pm. trains run inbound from gympie north twice a day, leaving at 5:56am and 1:20pm. so essentially if you dont catch the 9.27 train in the morning, you will not be able to visit one these stations and get back to brisbane in the same day. it is only possible to visit a single station between nambour and gympie north because of the timetable. the timetable for the sunshine coast line makes for some interesting reading, because of the infrequent journeys to stations between nambour and gympie north. the track between these two stations is virtually single track the whole way. hopefully some day it can be upgraded so that more frequent services can run to and from gympie north

the presence of this photo alone should be proof enough that this entry about traveston is going to be slightly different from my previous entries. it is a big step for someone with pretty bad obsessive compulsive disorder to change what has gone before, though i really want this entry to be special. i had been wanting to visit traveston since before i began trainspotting. the idea of visiting traveston was one of the triggers which gave me the idea of beginning my blog in the first place. i was excited to be finally able to visit the tiny railway station, that i couldnt resist getting a photo of the passenger information display screen on platform 9 at roma street which announced the ice was due to arrive on the platform momentarily.

it is really happening! the ice arrives on platform 9 at roma street. this is probably a good time to reiterate that traveston railway station has the shortest platform on the network, with length enough for only a single carriage; thus if you wished to disembark at traveston, you needed to be in the first carriage of the ice. hence, i was waiting for the ice at the central end of roma street so i could strategically position myself for my exit at the second last station on the sunshine coast line. look at the ice, she is a truly beautiful train. the ice was initially used for the services from brisbane to rockhamptom, called the spirit of capricorn, though since 2003 the ice has been responsible for the journey to and from gympie north. a lot of commuters insult the ice because this model of train has an unenviable record of mechanical issues, though i can say that i never encountered a single delay on the ice when i rode this train to and from every station between nambour and gympie is quite possible that other people have done the same thing, and visited each station north of nambour; and they may very well have encountered problems with the ice. i may be lucky, but i never experienced a problem, in fact i found the ice to be a wonderful train to travel in. i can probably extend this statement to a far broader and general statement because after visiting every station on the network (at the time of writing, i have collected them all, yay!) i never had a delay from a police incident and only had the mechanical issue i discussed in corinda in 2012 where i was studying antipsychotics in the partial darkness to pass the time until we were moving again. if you want to see more images of the ice, i found this useful website some time ago which i am more than happy to share with you all, as it has a lot of interesting info and some fantastic photos.

ice ice baby. the ice has pulled into roma street station. it is through that door that i would board the train and ride it to traveston. it is also through that door that i would exit the train and set foot on the shortest platform on the network. do you think i was excited? yeah, i was pretty happy to be finally able to make this journey. i had been waiting for this moment for well over a year, and it was finally there in front of me. i couldnt help but smile as i boarded the ice and took a seat in an incredibly comfortable single seat and set myself up for the next few hours of study and travel. look at that sky, it was a perfect day for trainspotting!

for any of you out there who doubted me, this is proof i was indeed studying while on the train to traveston. it also shows a descent image of what the inside of the ice is like for those who havent yet had the pleasure of riding this train. it is an incredibly comfortable train to ride in, as the seats resemble airline seats. since this train was initially used for journeys far longer than roma street to gympie north, it makes sense that the train would be pretty comfortable to travel in. it is designed with a row of single seats, an aisle and then a row of double seats. there is a try on the back of the seat in front of you which can be pulled down, like on a aircraft, and used for studying or eating (or both as in my case) while you are on board. now you all have the pleasure of reading my study notes on amiodarone and seeing how much like ancient runes my handwriting is!

i made it! it was an amazing feeling to finally set foot on the platform at traveston after blogging about it for all this time. this is the first photo i took at traveston railway station, taken from the platform (platform 1?) looking south along the length of the ice in the direction of cooran. only the first carriage is able to fit on the platform at traveston because it is such a short platform. traveston isnt the only station on the network with a short platform, as eudlo is only long enough for 4 carriages, and tennyson was only long enough for 3 (though sadly tennyson has been closed for the foreseeable future with no sign of reopening any time soon from the look of it. the last time i visited tennyson it was all boarded up and was almost impenetrable from one side, with the erection of a massive fence.) here the ice is beginning to make its way north from traveston to gympie north. it stayed for 20 minutes or so at gympie north before returning to traveston. i knew i had no option but to catch this ice back to brisbane if i was to make it home, as no other southbound train would be stopping here after this train made its return journey. i didnt think it would go down overly well with karen if i missed it and she had to get herself to dinmore then drive to traveston to pick me up because i missed a train!

it is a surreal feeling indeed to be standing on the platform at traveston as the ice departs northward bound for gympie north. it had been a long time coming, and despite exam block being only a few days away, here i was riding the train to the railway station i had longed to visit since before the inception of my blog. when we moved to emerald hill i had looked up google maps and saw that wulkuraka was the closest station to our house. (though karrabin is now closer with the blacksoil interchange completion). i had wanted to visit wulkuraka since we moved and after i had collected it in july 2013, my attention shifted immediately to devising a way to collect traveston. it would take me more than a year, but the mission was finally accomplished. darth had arrived at traveston.

the time was 12.26pm. the ice was departing traveston, leaving me alone at the smallest railway station on the network. no one else got off the train with me. there was no one waiting on the platform to board the train to head to gympie north. i wasnt to see another human the entire time i was there; and i wouldnt have had it any other way. i am not a fan of other people. i usually hang back in crowds because i dont like being crowded in. i hate using the telephone. im highly unlikely to talk to someone i dont know, even if they speak first; and i wont sit beside someone i dont know on the train, i would rather stand. being on my own at the beautiful little traveston station was simply perfect. i am so glad it panned out that way, and i couldnt have written the script better even if it had been a dream. i had wanted this day to come for a very long time. people may think i am exaggerating here, i actually can assure you i am not. people who know me fairly well can also vouch for the fact i had been longing to visit traveston. i had persecuted myself since the disaster of the oral exam in the first semester of our third year. i had done appallingly by my own standards, and despite getting an alright score overall, i felt i deserved to have failed (and still do to this day). i had lost a considerable amount of confidence after that exam, and had questioned whether pharmacy was the right option for me. i had seriously considered pulling out of the degree. i had had meetings with academics about how i was coping and exchanged many emails with a person i trusted who helped to guide me through the worst of the storm. i am forever grateful to her and i know she knows im talking about her if she is reading this. i wouldnt be here today if it werent for her help. she suggested i speak to student services about my options, which i did. we decided i would continue with pharmacy, even if i wasnt feeling confident in my ability to continue the degree. for our second semester of third year (microbiology and chemotherapy) i pulled out my best semester of results to date, despite spending less time studying because i had thrown myself into the blog. the goal of the blog kept evolving, but the whole time i was obsessed with visiting traveston. to visit this station marked the end of a very raw and personal journey over my own inner demons which kept at me throughout third and also all of fourth year. the significance of visiting traveston railway station while studying cardiology before my final ever written exam was all the more poignant. it was the hope of someday visiting this station and writing this very blog i am writing now that gave me the hope to continue in the darkest of times when all hope had seemed lost. life is incredibly precious; you should cherish every moment and life your life. dont just exist, but live. life is too short to be miserable.

i took this photo as the ice pulls away from traveston, leaving me alone on the platform as it continues its journey northwards to the final station, gympie north. it was incredibly exciting to finally be standing on the shortest platform on the network, as i visited the smallest station on the network. it has been a long time coming, and i was going to savor every moment until the ice returned again to take me back to central. the platform at traveston was unlike any other i had visited before in my travels. yes, traveston was a single platform; and granted it was a very short platform. the platform at traveston is long enough only for a single carriage of the ice to fit on the platform at a time, thus if you wish to disembark at traveston, you need to do so from the first carriage only. between cooran and traveston a guard came through the train asking if anyone was getting off at traveston. he looked surprised when i said yes! the thing about the traveston platform that was the most surprising was that it wasnt a solid platform. the platform is made up of what i can only describe as a temporary looking structure which is shown here in the photo. i could feel it moving underfoot with the weight of all the school books, food and bottles of water i had in my backpack weighing me down. i hadnt come across a platform like this in my travels across the network when i visited traveston. now, as i sit here writing this after visiting every station on the network (and having graduated my degree) i can say that this is actually a quite common platform style for the stations north of nambour. by zooming in a bit you can see the joins in the panels used to make the platform. on the right of the photo, we have a traveston station sign. even the sign looks temporary in the way it is tied to the fence. at least it has a bold font!

i hurried to the gympie north end of the traveston platform to get a shot of the ice as she rounded the corner and headed out of sight. it wasnt a long journey to hurry to this end of the platform, which was a pleasant rest for my leg which is used to me pushing it to run along platforms despite the fact i dont have a medial ligament or anterior cruciate ligament in my right knee (surgery booked in). it was a beautiful day to be out trainspotting; which was certainly more appealing than sitting at home studying. considering how excited i had been on the train to finally be making this journey, to actually get some study done between roma street and traveston was an achievement. the study books were safely stored in my back and would remain there for the majority of my time at traveston.

the ice is almost gone now, leaving me alone here at traveston station. i am quite pleased with how this photo turned out, despite the fact i could have zoomed in a bit further. it was 12.26pm when she was out of sight, and it would be 1:56pm when she next emerged from this position to take me back to central station. i would encourage anyone who has a spare day that they have nothing planned and are looking for something to do, to catch the ice to traveston, or any station between nambour and gympie north, make it a day trip. explore the area a little then catch the train back again. a lot of these small stations are incredibly beautiful, and the small townships have a lot to offer if you stop and have a look around.

i am totally alone now. the ice has gone and is continuing her journey north to the final station on the line before making her return journey. the entire time i was to be here at traveston i didnt see another human; it was wonderful. this is the view from the gympie north end of the little platform looking northwards to gympie north. it was too beautiful a day to spend it inside at home revising cardiovascular drugs and doing practice exams. this was much better preparation in my opinion because it helped to clear my mind of pharmacy for a few hours and gave me something to look forward to. a reward for all the effort i had put in over the last few years, and before the final onslaught.

taken at the gympie north end of the platform at traveston, looking south along the platform in the direction of cooran, this photo highlights beautifully just how short the platform really is here traveston. there would be no trouble kicking a footy from one end to the other, even with my screwed up knee. this entry about traveston makes it a new record for my blog, with the last three entries all being about railway stations with a single functional platform: ormiston, ascot and traveston. ascot has got two, but only one is used, so i think the record is certainly there (besides it is my blog, i make the rules!) look at how gorgeous the little shelter is at traveston! it was only erected a few years back, but it is incredibly practical, as well as having a certain degree of aesthetics. wait until you see the front of it!
i walked back along the length of the traveston platform to get this shot looking south along the sunshine coast line in the direction of cooran. this was taken at the cooran end of the (very short) platform. the shelter at traveston is to the immediate left of the photo. most of the sunshine coast line is a single track north of beerburrum, with two tracks appearing as a passing loop at most of the stations along the line. here at traveston, the ice uses the track which appears on the left in the photo, as the platform is situated alongside this track. perhaps some day traveston may receive a second platform, though i think this would be doubtful any time soon. perhaps a permanent platform could be constructed first, and perhaps the new platform could be of full length. i cant see this happening any time soon, though it would be grand if it did happen.

turning 180 degrees to look back in a northerly direction, i got this photo from the cooran end of the traveston platform, looking north along the sunshine coast line in the direction of gympie north. i took a similar shot earlier, which had the ice in it. this time, no ice, just the traveston platform. the platform itself certainly feels temporary. when you walk along the length of it, it feels as though it is made of some kind of plywood (i never did woodwork at school, so i could be wrong). i wouldnt like to be jumping up and down on it in case it caved in from the weight of a university student and their backpack. the boards have probably deteriorated over the duration of their installation too, as the weather can get pretty darn hot and also traveston does get its fair amount of rain. perhaps you heard of a proposal to build the traveston crossing dam? (keep your eyes on the gympie radar, you will see some descent rain head through the gap between gympie and cooran.) while i am not a hydrologist, i can be pretty sure i am right in saying that they dont build dams where there wont be much water flowing into them. my guess is that the heat from the sun and the heavy rain could weaken the structural integrity of the platform. hopefully some day, a permanent platform can be constructed at traveston, and the other stations on the sunshine coast line who have temporary plywood appendages to their platforms.

i said it was worthwhile, and it was. the shelter at traveston may indeed be small, but hey, the station itself is small so this shelter is a brilliant size i think. it is located at the cooran end of the traveston platform, and comes complete with a fixed station sign of the old wooden style. i absolutely love it. it is sort of like that savage garden song: i knew i loved you before i met you. i knew i would love traveston before i had even visited it; and it certainly didnt disappoint. this shelter is actually a restored version of the heritage listed shelter which formally serviced traveston, but became termite food. in 2011 this shelter was built and still looks in fabulous condition today. there is even an article about it from the gympie times, which shows the shelter in its skeletal state during construction. there were plans for this little station to be closed, but thankfully the decision was reversed and it received an upgrade instead of the axe.

spoilt! i love it! traveston has two go card terminals where you can touch your card on and off to collect the station at the beginning and end of your journey. visiting traveston was only part of the initial trainspotting project; i needed proof i had been to the station, and tagging my card at the terminal meant that the stat was collected and locked into history on my transactions. having my camera with a fully charged battery also helped, meaning i could shoot the highlights of traveston station and the surrounding areas for further proof of my journey. now, said photos are being uploaded one by one into this blog. i had the choice of staying at home studying or catching the ice to traveston. it was a no brainer, traveston won hands down, i didnt even have to stop and weigh up the options. my love of trains is far greater than my love of study!

the side wall of the new traveston shelter, complete with a new sign (bold font) attached to the side. the traveston railway station doesnt have any of the free standing station signs with speakers at either end as seen on virtually every other station on the network. instead traveston has the plastic insert for those signs which are affixed to the fence and the shelter. it is a shame that the station still has a feel of being slightly temporary, but it is far better than i had actually expected. i went to traveston with no expectations at all, unsure of what i would find (google street view wasnt overly helpful). i was pleasantly surprised when i arrived and found this beautiful wooden shelter. traveston is a very lovely area, and while quiet and somewhat rural, i can certainly see the potential for it to become a slightly larger center in years to come. this railway station is a vital link to both gympie and brisbane. we shouldnt be closing down railway stations in smaller rural centers, but instead be keeping them open as a means of bringing more people to these areas to spend their money and keep the area going.

while i run the risk of sounding like one of those cheek pinching grannies we all dreaded visiting when we were children; the shelter at traveston really is incredibly cute. really, the entire station is incredibly cute, and it is fantastic to see traveston has received a newly constructed shelter to replace the old termite infested one which had been crying out for repair for some time. according to an article i read from the gympie times, the original shelter had heritage listing; which actually makes another interesting record for my blog. after writing about the heritage listed ascot railway station in my previous entry, i am now following it up with an entry about another station with significant historical importance. traveston is the site of a derailment in 1925 which caused the deaths of 10 people. the accident occurred north of traveston, between traveston and gympie north, but closer to traveston. there is more information about it here at this cache link i managed to dig up, if you are interested in reading about it. if reading isnt really your thing, (what are you doing here!?) there are a few images of the disaster here. the platform at traveston is in front of the shelter in the image. the cooran end of the platform is to the left, the gympie north end is to the right. the platform itself looks incredibly temporary, as it is is made of scaffolding. hopefully someday a more permanent fixture is put in place for the station, and the passengers who use it.

this is a better view of the platform at traveston to show just how different it is from any other platforms i have written about. traveston was the first railway station i visited which had a platform of this nature. after visiting every station on the network, i can say that this is actually not that unusual for the stations between nambour and gympie north, though at the time i thought it was quite a novelty. the fact that the platform isnt a solid structure gives it a feel of being temporary, though i am pretty sure travestons place as a permanent station on the sunshine coast line has been assured for some time to come with the upgrade of the shelter. the shelter itself is to the left of this picture, and the staircase leads from the platform to the shelter. having walked along the platform, it has a feel of being made of wood, though it isnt that easy to tell from the image (my apologies for that!) but at least you can see that the platform isnt solid, making it unique amongst the railway stations i have written about so far.

this time taken from the staircase, this is simply a shot of the cooran end of the traveston platform, looking towards cooran. the platform certainly feels like it is made of wood when you walk on it, and wood would make sense as opposed to a metal which would get incredibly hot in the heat of the day (basic chemistry of conduction). the sign on the fence is of particular interest and significance here, as i was not of the intention of crossing the tracks or getting photos from the tracks at any point, but i did wonder about the image of the train at the bottom of the sign. the image doesnt much resemble the ice. it wouldnt be long before i realised why that image was there, save to say that traveston receives a descent amount of rail traffic, even if not every train that passes by the station has the intention of stopping.

this little fellow had to feature sooner or later! the railway station signs at traveston are not the standard issue fixed signs with speakers, and this is probably because the platform itself isnt a standard issue permanent platform. instead this sign has been tied on around the edges. it is an absolute disgrace and a real shame that idiots have defaced the sign with their crap; one loser even going so far as to write their name on the sign. some people really are unbelievable. if this is something people do for fun, they must lead pretty boring lives. the positives about the station sign are that it is actually there in the first place and that (of course) it has a bold font. can you imagine traveston with a sign in italics? it would have been such a disappointment. perhaps i am running the risk of sounding like hyacinth bucket with that remark. when we were children we used to watch keeping up appearances with our grandmother. i never quite understood why she laughed so much at the things hyacinth did and said. now i am a bit older, i actually get it. such a shame they dont make shows like that anymore.

this is quite possibly shot of the blog so far, and it is one of the best shots i have of the shelter here at traveston. it really is incredibly cute, and this photo is actually a double traveston. hopefully some day the grass near the shelter knits together properly, as the makeshift grassy carpark to the left of the photo has a pretty descent grass coverage to it. it may not be the best grass to play footy on, but it would certainly be alright. there are probably better places to play footy though than beside the traveston railway station! this shelter here at traveston is a replacement for the original shelter which was condemned by queensland rail due to the poor state it was in from termite damage. this new shelter was erected in 2011, when construction began just before exam block in the first year of my pharmacy degree.

this shot was taken from the cooran end of the traveston platform, looking south along the sunshine coast line towards cooran. there isnt too much at traveston, it really is an incredibly small place. when you look at it on google maps, it appears as though the little traveston railway station is one of the main things to see. i am sure that isnt the case, but when i visited, it was the only thing i was really interested in seeing. i was a touch afraid to stray too far from the station for too long in case i missed the ice on her way back to brisbane, but i did do a little bit of exploring while i was there. the road which runs along this section of the track (according to google maps) is traveston road; though the street sign says traveston cooran road. traveston cooran road follows the sunshine coast line virtually the whole way from traveston to cooran, where it becomes king street. the journey between the two stations is a bit over 4km. perhaps if my knee were not as completely ruined as it currently is, i could have ran or walked between the two stations for fun. perhaps on my next visit?

zooming in as far as my camera will let me, i got this shot from the cooran end of the traveston platform, looking south in the direction of cooran. as we traveled between cooran and traveston a guard walked along the length of the carriage and asked if anyone was disembarking at traveston. he seemed pleasantly surprised when i said i was.

this time taken from the gympie north end of the traveston platform, looking north in the direction of gympie north; i zoomed in as far as my camera would let me. you can see it is a hot day with the heat causing interference in the image along the metal rails of the sunshine coast line. i can assure you that as hot as it was on this particular day at traveston, i was to experience far hotter days at some of the other stations on the sunshine coast line in my future travels. it can get incredibly warm at the little townships along this railway line! 

another contender for shot of the blog, and this candidate is possibly even more worthwhile. it certainly meets most of the artificial criteria i have for judging the best shot i have of a railway station. at least this one, despite not featuring a train (a slight negative) it does include the station shelter, a station sign, the platform (notice the elevated platform! scaffolding anyone?) and is fairly aesthetically framed. the carpark is also featured. where is the carpark i can predict you are asking yourself, and thinking that darth has indeed lost it. while i cant vouch for my sanity any more than i can vouch for yours. i am standing in the car park as i take the photo. the parking here at traveston is on the grass by the station shelter. i think it is pretty neat. im looking towards the cooran end of traveston from the gympie north end in this photo.

over time i have become a bit of a master at taking photos through fences, and this is one such example. i wanted to get a shot from the carpark looking north along the sunshine coast line towards gympie north, and this was the result. dont be fooled by the appearance of two tracks in this photo. the sunshine coast line itself is a single track (the one on the right) while the one on the left is simply a passing loop. hopefully some day in my lifetime the track from gympie north to caboolture will be a double track all the way, allowing for faster and more frequent rail services. one can only but hope!

this time employing the highly advanced skills of the zoom function, i managed to get a shot of the tracks of the sunshine coast line as it rounds the bend north of traveston railway station. i had to use all of my 5 foot and 4 inches of height to reach over the top of the fence to get this shot. i think it turned out pretty well to be honest. for a half descent photo, it is a shame it isnt descriptive enough to be a contender for shot of the blog. oh well, that happens!

i am not sure if you call this the street that leads to the traveston carpark or if it is simply the entrance to the traveston station car park. whatever you call it, this dirt track has been formed from vehicular traffic traveling to the station. while traveston doesnt have a paved bitumen road leading to it or a paved car park, this seems adequate for the amount of vehicular traffic that frequent the station. traveston will probably never be a huge station, and thats fair enough, so it probably wont be needing a flash car park like ormiston or dinmore. i think it is nice that traveston still has a completely grass coverage around it because it looks so rural and it hasnt damaged the rural feel of the station. this shot makes traveston look like it is simply a shelter in the middle of no where. while that isnt exactly correct, traveston is indeed a small place. i am sure most people have only heard of traveston because of the dam that was proposed for the area in the mid to late 2000s. the project was ultimately scrapped in 2009 over fears of damaging the complex ecosystems in the mary river as well as from fears of a shallow dam causing excessive greenhouse gas emissions. this shot looks south towards traveston from the gympie north end of the track that leads to the designated car parking patch adjacent to the shelter. i think the building on the right of the shot is part of the power supply to the overhead wires. i wasnt going to get too close to it to find out!

i walked along the gravel road which runs behind the station to get this shot from behind the traveston railway station shelter. the platform is visible to the right of the shelter, clearly elevated if you zoom in slightly. the cooran end is to the left, and the gympie north end is to the right. i cant help but laugh when i look at the foreground of this image. i think it was year 11, we had a geography excursion and our teacher, lets call her mrs j, excitedly gathered our class into the school minibus. our excursion was to visit remnant grasslands. it sounded more exciting than it was. we ended up on the side of the new england highway between warwick and toowoomba. as the bus came to a stop in the middle of no where; she proudly exclaimed: we are here! there were a lot of blank expressions on board the bus, some students asked if she was joking, others simply laughed. and so a bus load of geography students disembarked a perfectly good minibus to walk along the side of a highway to look at something resembling the foreground of this photo for several hours. i will never forget that excursion! our year 12 geography excursions were far better, one was to fraser island, another was to indonesia.

the road to traveston railway station. there was a gravel road like this not far from where i grew up. this is howe road, which is visible on google maps as a solid white line, despite not being available on street view. i was a touch disappointed in that discovery, though i guess it was because google didnt want their car to get damaged driving along the gravel road. its a shame images like this one arent available on street view, because that means that people who are interested in traveston railway station cant get to see it unless they either go there themselves or they happen to stumble across my humble little blog. the railway station itself is to the left of the image, and is accessed by following howe road to the end and turning left where the gravel road becomes the tyre tracks of the image two shots above this one. essentially it is like a hairpin turn to the left. the remnant grasslands line the fence that runs along behind the traveston station.

i followed howe road with the idea being that i could go underneath the sunshine coast line and join up with traveston road and get a few photos of traveston railway station from the opposite side of the tracks. the sunshine coast line is on the right of the photo here. it crosses over top of howe road just behind the green shrub near the center of the photo. a visit to traveston railway station could have probably been just as informative to our year 11 geography class as the mrs j inspired journey to somewhere between warwick and toowoomba on the new england highway. these remnant grasslands look just as exciting as the ones we saw. while we were on the side of the highway we had to identidy different species. i specifically recall mrs j getting upset with a group of girls who were huddled together chatting and not participating in the exercise. i have it recorded: girls get over here and take some notes! can you see the bulrush? she exclaimed loudly. that audio track never gets old! while i cant see a bulrush in this shot, i honestly cant remember what the bulrush looks like. the only other species i remember having to identify was discaria pubescens (honestly, what teenager would forget a name like that?) what does make me laugh, is the fact that mrs j herself must have known these species were growing along the side of that highway. perhaps one day she was driving and decided to stop and look at the remnant grasslands and identified there were multiple different species growing, and thought to herself that a visit to such a location would make a fantastic geography excursion. if she happens to stumble across this blog, at least she will know that one of her students was paying attention that day, even if it happened to have been the one with adhd! 
looking back along howe road in the direction i had come. this is the road to traveston railway station, which is located on the left of the road. you can see the humble little shelter of the traveston station is near the center of the photo. this shot has some more fascinating remnant grasslands on the left of the shot, growing alongside the sunshine coast line. no idea what species they are. somehow i did manage a vha in geography, but i didnt top that subject sadly. i cant remember how close i was to topping it, but that is hardly relevant now that i have graduated university as a pharmacist (that is a pretty scary statement to make!) our graduation was december 17th. as i scurried across the stage, i was terrified i would trip over my own feet and make an ass of myself in front of everyone. it wasnt as if i hadnt already made an ass of myself that day. while we were all assembled in the hall waiting to be lead out for the ceremony, the woman in charge of us called out my name and asked if i was in attendance. this was in front of my entire cohort and my friends turned and looked at me. all i could think was, oh god what have i done now. it turned out that my wallet had been handed in to reception. i hadnt even realised it was missing! adhd anyone? as i walked out of the room with >300 sets of eyes on me, i texted a few friends about how embarrassed i was. it was humiliating, and so i wasnt in the mood for tripping over my big feet in front of everyone to add to the embarrassment of the day. instead, once i got to chancellor, i shook his hand and said: thanks dude!  

more remnant grasslands to the right of howe road in this shot, but this photo has something far more exciting to me than the various grass species; the sunshine coast line crosses howe road here. if following the sunshine coast line to the right (north), you will get to traveston, if following to the left (south), you will get to cooran. as i was walking along here, i saw that to the left of the rail bridge there was no fence preventing humans from climbing up onto the side of the railway. it was certainly tempting, so i could get a shot looking north along the line towards traveston station.

taken from howe road, looking through the tunnel of the rail bridge as the sunshine coast line passes over howe road. the intersection on the other side of the tracks is accessible from google street view, though from this side of the track isnt. i guess you can say that the past 5 photos are in uncharted territory (as far as google street view is concerned anyway!) i am trying to make this blog the most complete showcase of images of each railway station on the network, and sometimes it takes me to places that not even google will go! going under the sunshine coast line, turning to the right is traveston road, and to the left is traveston cooran road. on google maps, they are both represented with traveston road. between taking this photo and the next, something happened that may be a touch controversial to write about, even for me, but i think i will include it anyway. you are free to judge, and think of me what you will.

i have no doubt in my mind that this is going to be the most controversial paragraph i will write in my entire blog. i havent touched on a topic quite like this yet despite alluding to it a number of times, and i highly doubt i will write anything more controversial than this in any of my future entries. i have debated with myself for quite some time at to whether or not i should include this section. here goes!after taking the previous photo, i proceeded to climb up the embankment to the left of the overbridge, with the intention of getting a few images from the height of the railway line, looking in both directions. after all, traveston is the railway station i had been most eager to visit (think lord voldemorts desperation to meet harry potter in the chamber of secrets. yes, i am a nerd, in case my alias didnt give it away!) climbing the embankment was surprisingly easy, despite the knee injury i have been carrying for a while which is due to be operated on in feburary. the lack of a fence certainly was helpful, though i honestly dont think a fence would have stopped me because as i have said, traveston was the one station i was most eager to visit and i had no intentions of leaving the station without getting a number of descent photos. as i got to the top, close enough to touch the railway line, i saw in the distance passing by the traveston station itself, this amazing tilt train. naturally i knew i shouldnt be where i was and i had a split second to get back down the embankment to the safety of the middle of howe road. it is from the middle of howe road that i took this image and the few that follow, as the tilt train cruised south along the sunshine coast line towards cooran. the thing that is controversial, isnt that i was up beside the tracks, it was the decision to get back down the embankment and get these photos. i have no shame in admitting that i struggled with my mental health throughout the third year of my degree, particularly after a certain oral exam at pace. after that exam, which yielded the presence of lacrimal fluid for the first time in my life after an exam, i walked back to dutton park station to catch the train to central to tell karen the bad news. somehow, i ultimately passed that exam (surprisingly comfortably, despite the fact i would have failed myself had i been the assessor. i would have failed one of my friends as well.) as the ferny grove train was arriving at dutton park, the thought went through my mind as to why i should or shouldnt jump in front of it and not have to deal with how horrid i was feeling. i was waiting at the park road end of dutton park station, and as the ferny grove got closer, the momentum was getting weaker. had i been at the fairfield end of dutton park; i highly doubt i would be sitting here now writing this. i felt that awful. i wasnt afraid of the thoughts running through my mind, and despite not being afraid i had experienced such a thought, i knew it wasnt right or normal to have that reaction. as a person with aspergers, it is not unusual for us to react differently to situations than standard humans, but this was a whole new thing for me. in order to deal with the way i felt after that exam, i vowed to learn more about the trains, ride them more and enjoy them; ant not stress too much over my marks. i knew there was more to life than uni. i had relapses throughout the remainder of the third year of the degree, and also in fourth year (notably during placement when i had to work 32 days in a row, of full time hours with two hours each way for travel, plus finding time for assessment pieces. i also published 2 blogs during that time.) i came very close to pulling out of the degree during that point, and ultimately resigned from my job with a resignation 4 words long (no, i am not making that up!) i needed to make my health a priority, as i felt i was fighting a losing battle. however, when in the situation moments before this tilt train was due to pass directly beside where i was standing, there was no hesitation about getting back to ground level. i dont know if at that very moment in time (just before i took this photo) if i was cured or not. perhaps i was, as i havent had a thought like that since, and i hope i never do again. i do not condone the actions of those who do jump in front of trains, because of the trauma they leave behind for their families and friends, as well as the poor train driver who is simply doing their job and in doing so has taken a life through no fault of their own. it must be a truly horrific thing for a driver to experience, and it must take a long time for them to come to terms with what has happened, process it and move on with their life. i dont want to do that to a driver. i tracked down some truly graphic videos of what happens to a human when hit by a train. i do not condone the suicidal behaviour of the people who choose to end their life this way, but i do somewhat understand why they choose to do what they do. i would put it down to despair and opportunity. unless you are in that situation, it is incredibly harsh to judge the person for how they respond to difficult stimulus in their environment. some people have a high threshold of tolerance, others a low one. i had always thought mine was rather high, like my pain threshold, though my experiences in third and fourth year made me reassess that. by starting the blog as a form of brain retraining, or cognitive behavioural therapy, i was planning to embark on a new adventure which i had hoped would bring about a healing process. more effort went into the blog than into my university work, and strangely enough, my marks actually improved. if a spearmans rank correlation coefficient (we learned it in geography with mrs j, and did it again in pharmacy!) could be performed for how well my health improved after beginning the blog, i think the result would be pretty close to 1. is it ironic that it would be traveston railway station that would ultimately precipitate the healing process at the very end of the degree? the very catalyst i needed was this tilt train rapidly approaching me from traveston station. controversial as it is, i am glad i was put in this potentially dangerous situation, because as i stood on howe road, i was able to get these photos and take stock of how precious life is. it is a gift. you are dead a very long time, enjoy the time you have on this planet, because you only get one shot at it. dont wish it away, dont compromise it. there is always a way to get through things, no matter how dark a place you are in; there is always a small degree of light. remember; even darth vader was able to see the light. i promise you that jumping in front of a train is not a solution to any problem you are experiencing.

i wasnt lying when i said it would be controversial. judge me as you see fit. time will tell if it was a wise or unwise decision to include that paragraph, though i have always been raw and honest in what i write and i dont want to change that now; especially when writing about something as sensitive as this. if by reading this i can get through to one person, then i will be grateful. i believe that had i not felt the pain of my earlier experiences, i wouldnt have been able to appreciate the instinctive decision to get back down this hill and stand here on howe road as the tilt train passed overhead. these three images may not look like much, but to me they are probably the most significant of the entire blog, because they signify the exact moment in time that my mind acted on instinct to preserve life instead of staying put and risking the catastrophe i longed for that day at dutton park. perhaps i chose the right day to visit traveston. my frame of mind, while stressed from cardiovascular medication study, was positive and i was determined to smash the final written exam of the degree. i have no shame in sounding arrogant and up myself when i say i smashed it like a train, because it was one of my best written exam performances of the entire degree. i was initially going to save traveston as the last station i visited, but what would have involved passing through it to get to gympie north. to make traveston the station i visited just days before our exams began was probably the best decision i had made to that point. had i visited traveston any other day, perhaps i wouldnt have had the motivation and the empowerment i drew on from the situation i was in when i got these photos. make of them what you will; i know what they mean to me. as a very wise woman once wrote to me: to methylate or not to methylate, that is the question. you are in control of your destiny. 

as the tilt train passes by overhead, and is passing the exact point at which i was standing only moments ago, i am exhilarated to be standing with both big feet on howe road looking up at this majestic train. had i visited traveston station in the third year of the degree, i doubt very much i would have had the mental strength to make the snap decision i did as the train was approaching. to get these photos and complete my journey to traveston, i had to face what was going on in my mind and put it behind me. that split second, of running back down this hill, was the beginning of the methylation process, before i even knew there was such a thing. i had been considering not turning up to my exams, considering pulling out of the degree, all sorts of things; but when an opportunity to end it all was presented, i ran from it, and i will keep running from it. i had vowed in high school to be here on earth for a good time, not a long time. if you arent having a good time, the only one who can change that is you, and you need to find a way, dont rely on others. it has to come from within yourself. only you can make it happen. you have the power to change outcomes of every situation you are placed in. there is a little poem called invictus; the two lines of which you have probably heard before. they are well worth referring to as a source of inspiration.

a few minutes earlier i had been standing in this very position, and had seen the tilt train flying past traveston railway station. this is a pretty dangerous position to be in if a train is approaching, and while i didnt hesitate to get out of the way on this occasion, perhaps in the past that may not have been the case. it is a weird feeling to look back at this photo, and to relive this moment again. i am glad i was able to get this particular image, so i can constantly remind myself of the decision i made, and to ensure that from now on i always make the correct life preserving decisions. you can see howe road is the gravel road beneath the railway line which turns and runs somewhat parallel to the sunshine coast line. i am sure mrs j would be impressed with this shot of the remnant grassland in the middle of the photo. i am more interested in what is at the center of the image: traveston railway station itself. it would have been amazing had i been able to get the shot of the tilt train as it was rapidly approaching me as it passed traveston. still, i had a mere matter of seconds, and whipping my camera out again simply wasnt a priority. that in itself should prove that i was more concerned with my own life than with getting a few photos of traveston.

how amazing would this photo be if there was a train in the shot? it would be a contender for shot of the blog without a doubt. sadly, there is no such train in the photo, though that is probably lucky for me since i am still up alongside the tracks as they pass over top of howe road. i wanted to get a slightly zoomed in shot of the traveston railway station from this angle, and i think it worked out pretty well. the sunshine coast line is visible in the photo and the traveston shelter looks incredibly quaint as it sits patiently beside its platform. it is photos like this that i had wanted to take when i climbed up here the first time, and so this time around i was going to get them as fast as possible. 

this time looking south along the sunshine coast line in the direction of cooran, i am still up alongside the railway line, above the howe road over pass. as you can see i am not exactly that close to the line, and i had no intention of walking over it, as crossing the tracks is incredibly dangerous. my intentions were solely photographic, and after taking these photos i was back down on howe road in a flash. this image shows the 150km mark which shows the distance from central. 150km is a descent journey! the passing loop at traveston is visible too, just near the 150 sign. the passing loop extends from here until well past the traveston platform, to allow for multiple trains to use the sunshine coast line at the same time. sadly this is the only option as the sunshine coast line is a single track for the entire journey north of beerburrum, with these passing loops at most of the stations. it is proposed that by 2012 the line will be duplicated from beerburrum to landsborough. hopefully some day the sunshine coast line will be consists of two tracks from beerburrm to gympie north. i cant see it happening any time soon, but i am allowed to dream. 

looking northbound along the sunshine coast line from beside the overbridge at howe road. sadly this shot was taken in haste and doesnt show off traveston railway station at all, but i can assure you the station is located just to the right of the photo. i had waited more than a year to visit traveston, and to finally be there in person was a wonderful experience. i think it was made all the more special by what i had been through during the previous year and my struggle to stay in the degree. i had put far more effort into the blog than i had into my study, yet the marks continued to improve (strange but true. my transcript made for interesting reading!)

taken from the opposite side of the overbridge, i walked underneath the sunshine coast line to get this shot. you can see a similar image on google street view when at the corner of howe road and the traveston cooran road. google street view wont allow for travel under the sunshine coast line and along howe road, though i have already showcased that journey in the above images. traveston station is to the left of this image, and to the right if you travel south, you will get to cooran. i was surprised at the amount of traffic on these roads while i was here. perhaps i had expected to not see a single car, but i did encounter a number of vehicles, all of which probably contained humans who were wondering what this strange foreigner was doing at traveston!

i thought this was worth including, as it provides a nice amount of information to whoever may stumble across this blog. the sunshine coast line is behind me as i take the photo, and the traveston railway station is further up to the right of the shot. you cannot access the station from traveston road itself, you need to turn here along howe road to get to the traveston station. the road is also subject to flooding, as the indicator at the bottom right shows. thankfully, no flooding when i was there, and i was able to do some thorough exploring. to get to cooran station, follow the traveston cooran road to the left of the photo, and head south. you will end up at cooran. google maps refers to the entire road linking cooran and traveston as traveston road, so i wanted to show that that isnt entirely correct. the bruce highway mentioned on the green sign is the longest road in queensland, linking brisbane and cairns. it is also one of the roads in the worst state of disrepair in the country and is constantly plagued by accidents.

this time i climbed up the embankment on the opposite side of the sunshine coast line, and  got this photo looking south along the tracks towards cooran. you can see the points where this passing loop rejoins the main line (to the left of the 25 speed sign). traveston cooran road runs alongside this side of the sunshine coast line, and is to the right out of picture. it was such a beautiful day to be out spotting trains.

this is the corresponding northbound shot for completeness; looking north along the sunshine coast line towards the traveston railway station. the shelter at traveston is visible near the center of the photo. there is a fence either side of the tracks as the railway line passes over top of howe road. look at that sky, such a wonderful day to be alive and out trainspotting instead of sitting at home writing notes about drugs and sitting sample exams!

zooming in for a better shot, i havent moved from the position i took the previous photo. the shelter at traveston is sitting proudly on the right of the photo, like a sentinel overlooking the platform. the traveston shelter was rebuilt in 2011. i didnt get to see the previous shelter which had been condemned due to termite infestation. this new shelter at traveston looks to be a similar size to the one on platform 1 at gailes.

back on somewhat level ground again now, again looking south along the sunshine coast line towards cooran. this is a slightly better angle to see the passing loop (the track in the foreground) rejoin the main line. the traveston cooran road runs alongside the track to the right of the photo, linking the two small rural centers by road, as well as rail. 

i walked along traveston road to the gates which shut off this side of the traveston station from the road. this was a zoomed in shot from the split in the gates to show the traveston station from the south west. the sunshine coast line and its passing loop run along nicely in front of the station. check out the platform from this angle! see what i mean about it looking very temporary. the temporary platforms are a common site on the sunshine coast line, and commuters who regularly use them are less than pleased about it. i really hope some day these platforms are upgraded to something more permanent. in the case of traveston, perhaps an upgrade to something permanent and something which accommodates more than a single carriage of the ice will happen after the other stations receive their upgrade. it would be wonderful to revisit traveston again some day and see its platform looking a little more permanent.

google street view will give you an image similar to this if you search for the traveston railway station and plop the gold human on traveston road near the blue railway station symbol. you cant actually access the platform or shelter from this side of the station, as it is only accessible from howe road. im glad i walked up this far to get a descent view of the station from this side of the sunshine coast line. it really hasnt changed much since google came past and took their street view images (dated june 2014). i proceeded to walk further to the left of this image, along the fence line, to get the next few shots to have a more square on shot of the platform and shelter.

walking around in long grass at strange railway stations seems to be one of my most common pastimes, as this image and the few that follow were all taken in the same way. this photo was taken from the fence separating the sunshine coast line from traveston road. it actually turned out pretty well, and is probably a candidate for the best photo of this blog. i think it will just miss out on the title, but it is certainly one of my better efforts for this entry. its such a shame you cant see the traveston name on the shelter from this angle. check out the daylight beneath the platform! see what i mean about its appearing temporary!

more perpendicular to the railway station now, shot through the fence directly across from the station. its actually a little sad that i could get this photo, because it highlights just how short the platform is. while this short platform is probably adequate for the patronage the station receives, it is a little disrespectful to the people of traveston that they arent worthy of a solid platform spanning the length of the train. you would think that for completeness every station would have at least met some minimum form of criteria. im not sure what the minimum criteria is, but solid platforms arent on the list. at least the shelter has been rebuilt and stands proudly (and permanently) against its plywood platform. shot of the blog? certainly a chance. this image captures traveston in all its petite glory. you cant help but love this station, it has so much charm. i dont think a platform upgrade would damage the image of traveston at all, and im sure the residents of the area would appreciate it as much as they appreciate having a new termite free shelter. 

taken from the fence separating the rail corridor from traveston road, i got a shot of the traveston sign on the station platform. it is such a shame that someone has defaced the sign. i highly doubt that a replacement sign will be high on the manufacturing agenda at queensland rail, and so this damaged sign will probably be in place here for some time. a pity really. i dont know what possesses people to do crap like that, nor do i understand how such an act can be seen as fun. then again, my intelligence quotient is probably 90 to 100 points higher than theirs. it is amusing to see how those on the lower end of the spectrum like to derive their fun.

i got down on the ground to try to get a photo of the traveston shelter through the fence, and instead managed to capture this rather amusing image of the railway station in the background and in the foreground i have what appears to be a very helpful piece of dead grass, pointing down at the shelter. this image was too funny to not include.

standing on the recently mowed remnant grassland between traveston road (to the right) and the rail corridor (to the left) i wanted to show off what the area of traveston looks like. it is indeed very green. if you look at the fence dividing the queensland rial property from the remnant grassland, you will see that the fence is damaged. this would have given a perfect opportunity to do some exploring from this side of the station and get some closer photos, but i know when to back off, and so i settled for what i had already taken. it appeared as though the fence received its damage when a high velocity vehicle may have lost control on traveston road and crashed through it. speed kills. going fast in the car really doesnt achieve much, you may arrive at your destination a minute faster; seriously is that worth it? i dont think so. the sunshine coast line and its passing loop at traveston can be seen well in this image, and if you zoom in slightly, you can see where howe road runs underneath the railways lines. 

looking south along the sunshine coast line, towards cooran. the track splits off into a passing loop near the middle of the photo. sections of track available for passing are limited on the sunshine coast line. it is hoped that in the future this line can be upgraded to allow for increased freight services along the coast. hopefully with an upgrade of tracks will come an upgrade of stations as well. one can only hope!

i am really glad i ventured to this side of the traveston railway station so i could get this shot. this would have to go close to being shot of the blog, even if it lacks a train. it shows traveston station off perfectly. it is a small temporary platform with a tiny wooden shelter. thats really all there is to traveston. this photo makes me think that thomas the tank engine is going to rock on through any moment with annie and clarabel. traveston sort of looks in the middle of no where from this shot. it sort of has that feel to it as well when you first set foot off the train and onto the platform. for me this was the most amazing journey i had made; i had finally arrived at the station which seemed to ignite it all, the station responsible for the very inception of the idea of visiting every railway station, and blogging about my journey. mission accomplished.

heading back along traveston road to the junction with howe road. this is where the road turns to gravel as you take the left to head to the railway station itself. its was a beautiful, sunny day, not a cloud in the sky. not overly hot, and not freezing cold. it was a thermodynamically stable day, and i couldnt have asked for it to be any more perfect than it was. here you can see some remnant grasslands alongside the sunshine coast railway line. perhaps if mrs j is still running her excursions, traveston could be a potential destination.

there is always light at the end of the tunnel. this doesnt even really count as a tunnel i suppose; as it is simply an overpass for the sunshine coast line. howe road snakes its way around to the left and up a slight incline as it passes by the traveston railway station. it was a rather bizarre feeling to be standing here again. i had no intentions of climbing up the embankment this time, as i had no need to do so. the low clearance sign was well and truly out of my reach as i tried to run up and jump to high five the 3.3m to celebrate not only my accomplishment of visiting traveston, but also at my earlier decision to choose life. 

walking back along howe road i got this shot of the back side of the traveston shelter. i was pretty confident there would be no one else waiting at the station or who would be likely to do so. still, i was a touch nervous because i still had many thins i wished to photograph at traveston before i caught the ice back to central. the shelter at traveston is a similar size to the one at gailes.

some may call these next few shots junk photos or fillers, but for anyone who has really followed the blog, you will know how special these shots actually are. bold font in all its glory, at the railway station i was most eager to visit. this sign is on the northern side of the traveston shelter, facing proudly towards gympie north. how could i not include this? it was a shot like this that was driving me all this time to finally visit and set foot on the platform at traveston

traveston. hell yeah! i wasnt going to leave without a few celebratory photos of the traveston station sign, in all its bold font glory. it had taken me so long to get here, after enduring a horrific time battling against my own mental health. my desire to finish my degree was compromised by an exam which i freely admit i didnt deserve to pass. by throwing myself into the blog, i had a reason to prevent throwing myself in front of a train. the name of this blog is trainspotting: dont think there isnt a degree of significance in the name. my entire professional career is devoted to the legal sale of drugs for therapeutic need. i have worked in pharmacy since high school, which feels like a very very long time ago. by taking a step back from the pressure i had placed on myself to succeed at university, and seeing straight 6s as an underachievement; i focused upon something fun, and enjoyable. this blog not only gave me reason to keep going when the tunnel i was in was incredibly dark, it also helped to shine the light at the end, and helped me to choose life. this blog is far me to me than photos of railway stations around the brisbane translink network.

with the touch of my card i had collected traveston railway station, and i was one step closer to achieving the goal of collecting every railway station on the network. collecting traveston was its own small milestone though. this is the railway station with the lowest patronage on the network. while i am sure there are a few people out there who have also collected traveston for fun like i have, i so feel very privileged to be among their number. the only report i am able to find, states that 4 people per week use this railway station. whether this is 4 trips inbound daily i am unsure. still, with figures this low, i am very glad to be among the numbers of commuters (however few) who have collected this station. i plan on returning again some time soon, so i can collect the station on my adult card, now that i have officially graduated and am (in the eyes of translink) an adult. 

it might be in capital letters (my pet hate) but it does say traveston, so i approve! when you step off the ice at traveston, this sign is there to greet you at to top of the wooden shelter. it is fantastic to see another railway station with one of these old style railway station signs. there are a number of stations on the network with these, and ultimately all will be featured in the blog. so far i have featured the one at ebbw vale on the ipswich line and ascot on the doomben line. now traveston can be added to that list. these old signs remind me of old fashioned railway stations, and they dont come much more old fashioned than ascot! traveston, while not as old as ascot, is still an old station, with its own rich history. while this shelter may be relatively new, there is still an essence of history at the station.

this is something new for me. i dont normally tend to interact with the stations i visit, but simply observe them. this time had to be a little different because i ad been longing to see this station since before i even began writing about railway stations. this is also proof that i opened my bag while i was at traveston. i promise i did do a small amount of study, in amongst photography and having a bit to eat. i couldnt help but sign a few of the rocks to leave as souvenirs at the station for whoever found them to do with them as they wished. presumably these three rocks were thrown at something or placed alongside the tracks (they were not fetched from beside the tracks. at no time did i jump off the platform into the rail corridor). i simply left these in the event that anyone who lived in traveston or who caught the train to traveston may have possibly stumbled across this blog and read of my wishes to visit. these are further proof of my visit and who knows, they may even still be where i left them? perhaps if you make the journey to traveston yourself, you may still find one?

i left one here on this metal box which is on the northern side of the traveston shelter. there is every likelihood it fell off from here, but i thought it was a fun place to leave such a token of my visit. i have had a number of people ask me about where the idea of my alias has come from. it isnt a new name. in high school i fell in love with ancient rome. i found the emperors fascinating people; particularly nero. i saw a film about him starring hans matheson which was certainly interesting, even if it may not have a huge amount of historical accuracy. i do think that from reading about all of the emperors, nero has certainly copped an unfair degree of flack. even today his name is still mocked in the form of the program nero. nero burning rom is a dig at nero burning rome; if you hadnt noticed the connection before. the more i read about nero, the more sympathetic i came for his uncle, gaius. gaius is better known as little boots, which translated to caligula. being a child of big feet, little boots certainly stuck. caligula had a short reign, often described as full of madness. if you do some digging though, you will discover that the first 3 years of his reign were rather benevolent. like me, caligula suffered from seizures, and it is suspected that he was few herbal remedies of varying potencies to help alleviate them. as a pharmacist i can see the danger of feeding multiple therapeutic agents to a healthy person, let along an unwell one. it is believed the herbs caused madness. still, i do think even madness aside, he is a bit misunderstood. has anyone ever watched a game of footy where your team have a shot right in front of goal, and unbelievably the player misses or hits the post? have you ever thought to yourself that your mother or grandmother could have kicked that goal? perhaps it was something similar to this that caligula was alluding to about making his horse incitartus a senator; believing the horse had more sense than those in the senate? it certainly seems plausible to me. as for darth? i love star wars!

i left the other stones here at the top and foot of the traveston sign on the fence. the entire blog had centered about my finally visiting traveston, and now i was finally here. it is such a shame someone had vandalized this sign. clearly they derived a degree of enjoyment from such an act (why else do it?) though even with the damage to the sign inflicted by such small minded peasants, nothing could diminish my happiness to finally be standing with my big feet in front of this sign.

with my autographed stone still sitting proudly on the box beside the traveston railway station sign, i wanted to get another photo of the shelter because it is just so incredibly cute. i am not entirely certain as to why there are two go card terminals at traveston, but it was indeed a thrill to touch my card off on one to complete my journey to traveston, and then touch the other to begin the journey from traveston back to central. if you zoom in slightly, you will see that the wooden traveston sign is visible under the awning, making this photo a double traveston.

the traveston railway station is unattended, but there is still a notice board present which gets updated. the frequency of updates is something i am unsure of, though lets just say it is periodically refreshed. i can understand traveston railway station being unattended, though the fact it doesnt have a ticket machine may make travel from the station awkward if your go card has insufficient funds!

the shelter. standing on the platform looking at the traveston shelter, it has a feel to like as if it is a little country shack. you almost expect grandma to be waiting there in her rocking chair with her knitting, and when you arrive she brings you freshly baked scones and homemade jam. this station is seriously so little, and so cute that you seriously cant help but fall in love with it. i mean seriously, it has a white picket fence!

i really didnt do a great job of this photo, as it is a bit trippy to look at. it looks as though the platform and tracks are the same level here, sorry about that. obviously, they are not. my other images hopefully show that a little better than this one. the idea behind this image was to get a shot from traveston looking north along the sunshine coast line toward gympie north.
this is an improvement. virtually laying on the platform with arm outstretched to get a better image than the one above, the sunshine coast line stretches north away from traveston on its way to gympie north. the passing loop is on the left.

this time looking south along the sunshine coast line from traveston in the direction of cooran. i am at the southern (cooran) end of the traveston platform. the shelter is to the immediate left of the image. just from this image alone, you can see that traveston is a fantastic place for trainspotting.

it feels like i am looking out from grandmas porch from this shot. waiting in the shelter, i decided to get a shot of the steps up to the platform, just for fun. such a shame i wasnt standing on the platform itself, because at this very moment, i could have captured a really great image had i been looking south towards cooran. i wasnt to know at the time, but i know now. next time i visit traveston, i will be ready and waiting.

how amazing would it have been to see this tilt train approaching the traveston station, and captured its approach? instead i was feeding my face while my cardiology study notes resided on my lap. well done darth! a momentary lapse in concentration may have cost me a fantastic photo opportunity, but at least i managed to jump up onto the platform as this tilt train passed through. i am sure there were many stunned passengers who became onlookers to the sight of a human standing on the traveston platform. i am sure they must have thought they were seeing things!

the tilt train just glides along the tracks, it hardly makes a sound. i didnt even know it was approaching the station because it is so silent. i only realised as it was in front of me that it was passing through traveston and so i jumped to my feet to get this shot of the train as she headed north. the tilt train is so elegant on the rails, as seen in my images earlier (which may or may not raise a touch of controversy.) i hope some day to catch the tilt train. it is incredibly hard to read, but trust me on this: the text on the side of the train says city of maryborough. the tilt train services run from roma street in brisbane, north to either bundaberg or rockhampton. you can take your pick. here is a list of tilt train fares and timetables.

the tilt train doesnt stop at traveston, it continues north along the sunshine coast line to gympie north, then on to maryborough. in case anyone is interested: to travel from roma street to bundaberg will take about 4 and a half hours. to travel from roma street to rockhampton is about 7 and a half hours. see, this blog really is full of useful information as well as pretty photos! 

again looking south along the sunshine coast line towards cooran. had only i been standing in this very position a minute or two earlier and i could have captured the tilt train as it approached the station, and had an extra series of photos to display. alas, not to be. one thing worth noting is the security camera on the left of the image. it is fantastic to see them here at traveston, as they are at all the railway stations at the network. it gives a little bit of an extra air of safety to an isolated station in a rather remote area. i dont think it would be an overly unsafe station to be at at night, though since no train stops here of an evening after the 8.31pm to gympie north, it could be a touch unnerving to be here alone waiting for the early morning train which passes through and stops at traveston at 6:14 am on its way to roma street.

if you look at the wiki entry about traveston railway station, there is an image rather similar to this one on the page. i may come across arrogant saying this, but i do think mine is better. i will let you be the judge on that one. the whole reason i took this photo was to improve upon the one on wiki. i guess this shot is actually worthy of wikipedia since a similar image is currently in existence on that page. it is significantly darker than this one though, which i think shows traveston is much better light, as it is a far more positive and inviting photo. perhaps you agree? i really think this one could be shot of the blog, as it meets so many of my criteria for such a thing. there is even a triple threat is you look close enough. the only thing missing from this image sadly is a train. you cant win them all.

just as a reward for those of you who have made it this far, here is a rare treat: a triple traveston. look closely! yes, there are three traveston railway station signs in this image. i know it isnt really that exciting for most of you, but it is for me, so let me have this moment of enjoyment. i can assure you that at the time of shooting this image, i was positively jumping up and down with excitement, to the point i was rather worried i would break the plywood platform! ironically, if you zoom in on the previous image, you will see it is also a triple traveston, though you do need to zoom a fair bit. this one can be seen with the naked eye.

another triple traveston, this time with the sign in the foreground a little clearer (perhaps to the detriment of the one on the shelter?) it is such a damn shame about the damage to this sign. i wonder if it will have been replaced with a fresh one by the time i am next at this station? keep a look out on this blog as i am highly likely to venture this far north again to check on this very thing. it is not beyond me to update blogs once they have been published. wulkuraka, norman park and helensvale all received such treatment, and karrabin was held back from publishing because of security fears. the security fears were genuine, as noted the day of publishing. if you dont know what i am referring to, check out my karrabin blog here, and scroll to the bottom. i assure you it is worthwhile.

the traveston railway station car park. enough said. how could i not include a photo of this in my blog?

howe road as it leads away from traveston railway station. look at the lovely remnant grasslands. eat your heart out mrs j! i honestly dont know how i got such a good mark for geography! all i was good at was countries and their capitals. i used to love playing the capital game with anyone willing to challenge me. 

just in case you needed reminding: the ice is an electric train; as is the tilt train. it is tragic the number of people who get electrocuted climbing onto rollingstock. seriously people, these wires are bloody dangerous. i dont remember much from high school physics (im so sorry mrs dalton) but i do recall learning that it is most likely not the volts that kill you, but the amps. the large current traveling through a human body is what generally causes the fatalities. im pretty sure it all comes back to ohms law, which is imply remember as v=ir (voltage = current x resistance). please correct me if i am wrong. this sign is at the gympie north end of the traveston platform and should serve as a reminder of basic physics.

mild anxiety had begun to set in. my watch said the ice was due. it wasnt possible i had missed it, surely?! i may have pretty bad hyperactivity, but would it be possible i was too busy mucking around taking photos that i had missed the ice? it could only happen to me! i waited nervously at the gympie north end of the traveston platform in the hope of capturing a great shot of the ice as she arrived to collect me and take me back to central.

my grandmother always called this strange phenomenon of the wind by the name of willy willy. i really have no idea if that is its technical name or not, but since this is a blog about trains and drugs and not meterology, i think i can leave that one up to anyone who is interested enough to search for it. still, whatever it is called, this willy willy occurred on howe road while i was waiting on the platform for the ice. i have no idea if this is a common phenomenon here at traveston as i have only been here once, but whether it is or not, it has now been immortalised in this blog about the traveston railway station. my gran would be so proud.

why not include another shot of the willy willy? its not as if i have anything else of pressing importance to photograph while i wait for the ice...

adhd anyone? too busy shooting a willy willy, and i miss getting a descent shot of the ice as she rounded the corner. well done darth. perhaps i need to increase my fish oil again? the ice is heading my way, and is due to arrive on the traveston platform in a matter of moments. doesnt she look grand! shes darn silent too as she creeps along the sunshine coast line. i couldnt help but wonder, if i were sitting inside the shelter, and not standing on the platform, would the train have actually stopped for me to get on? or would it have kept going and not realised i was actually there? perhaps in this instance being a trainspotter was an advantage! i think the train crew were surprised to see someone waiting to get on the train to be honest.

what a beautiful sight as the ice approaches traveston! it is images like this that make spending an entire day chasing trains so completely worthwhile. while a lot of you out there are probably far better photographers than i am (not difficult, i admit) as someone who has never done a photography course in my life, i am damn proud of this image. i dont know what it is about trains, but for me they are so incredibly photogenic. look at this train. shes beautiful a lot of people give the ice a hard time, saying shes not reliable and she constantly breaks down, and she smells funny (well she kinda does smell a bit musty...) but damn shes comfortable to ride in. i dont normally give much away about future journeys in my entries, though i would like to mention now that since i have visited every station on the network (obvious if you read my first blog) i can actually say that of all the times i have caught this train, she hasnt broken down, she hasnt had a mechanical issue and she hasnt been late. perhaps i am lucky? no idea. but in my travels around every station, not once did i have any major incidents. we can discount the corinda issue i mentioned in the corinda blog as it occurred in october of 2012, before i began the blog (and karens october 2013 happened when i was at home). besides, that breakdown gave me some extra study time on psychotropic drugs.

words cant express just how much i am in love with this photo. you only have to have browsed through my blog casually to realise that this image would have to be one of my favourites. shot of the blog? i think this is probably the shot of the entire blog. out of all the stations i have visited, and all the photos i have taken, all the posts i have written, i dont think any of them can compare to this photo. the ice purrs along the track towards traveston. she barely makes a sound. im positively drooling over this image, just looking at it makes me aroused (too much information? ok, im sorry!) i dont know what more to say, other than that this is probably the best photo i have taken of a train, ever. i doubt i will ever capture anything that can quite rival this one. perhaps we will have to wait and see, but for the sheer significance of the journey, and the station i am at as i stood there taking this photo; i dont think anything can compare. the circle was now complete. i had longed to visit traveston. that longing had turned into a quest to visit every station, and to document each journey. it was the idea of visiting traveston that stated the blog; and here i was, taking the best photo ever likely to appear in the blog. i simply love looking at this photo.

perhaps this isnt as strong an image to finish this entry on as the one above, but seriously how could any image compare to that one?! as the ice pulled to a stop in front of the traveston railway station, i hastily turned to get a shot of it in the direction of cooran. remember the wiki image i talked about earlier? how the only thing missing was a train? well here is my answer. if it werent for the image above, this photo could have easily walked it in as shot of the blog. not a chance now. still, it is actually a pretty good image, as it has the traveston railway station, station sign, tracks and the best criteria of all, it has a train. jackpot? probably, though the image before was the true winner. as i got this photo, i trotted along the platform and entered the train. the guard asked me if i got a descent photo. i nodded and smiled, and showed him. he agreed. i found myself a comfortable seat on the ice, and tried to settle back down for the journey back to central. it was insanely difficult to focus on cardiology. i kept going back through my photos, and drooling over the image could i not? i did get some study done, and got as far as the beta blocker class. a few texts from nicole (of helensvale blog fame) were another pleasant distraction, but focused more on study than scrolling back through my camera. (incidentally, i noticed that if you type into google the following: nicole helensvale pharmacy study; then my helensvale entry will be the first link. amazing right? nicole thought so!) while it was difficult to remain focused on study for the journey back, i did know the importance of the study session. i had sacrificed a day of study at home to try to focus me for the upcoming exam block. this was going to be the most hectic exam period of my life. two exams may not seem overly difficult, but when the written can cover anything you have learned in the past 4 years of your degree, and the oral goes for half an hour, you tend to feel that no amount of preparation will be sufficient. thankfully, i visited traveston at the right time. to come here before exam block, it gave me the confidence and motivation to power through the exams. i had done some soul searching while i was at traveston, and in the end, it was a no brainer. i decided to choose life. i know it sounds incredibly cliched to have a blog called trainspotting and to use the phrase choose life; but to have suffered what i had been going through, i had begun to come out the other side. as i wrote in toowong, there is light at the end of the tunnel, even when it seems like there may not be. even if there is a light shining from infinity, there is still a light. even darth vader still had the good in him to destroy the emperor. nothing is impossible. you need to believe in yourself, and face your fears, and when life kicks you when you are down, you get back up again. your life is what you make it. if you want something bad enough, you will not let anything stand in your way of achieving it. traveston had taught me a lesson; and that lesson is above all else: choose life.