The line was begun in 1882 by Christie Palmerston and completed in June 1891, to serve miners in the area. Dense jungle and cliffs with sheer drops of up to 327 metres and a slope as steep as 45 degrees were literal death traps for workers. Without modern equipment but simply fortitude, dynamite, and bare hands the team eventually finished the job, after removing 2.3 million cubic meters of earthwork, creating 15 tunnels, 93 curves, dozens of bridges, and 75 kilometres of track.
Purple and cream coaches pulled by diesel power carry a large audience over the spectacular eastern coastline of northern Queensland. Numerous spindly bridges, short tunnels, water falls, and tropical rain forest keep the camera clicking.
There is now a cable car, known as the Kuranda Skyrail, to view
the rain forest from above, not present in 1993 during my visit.
Locomotives are more modern today and carriages boast LCD
televison screens pointing out the scenic wonders visible from
A short side trip to the aboriginal theater and art
gallery at Kuranda are must-see cultural attractions.