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There’s something incredibly romantic about early transport engineering. Vintage cars and steam trains have a way of drawing people together as they admire the beautiful lines or simply the incredible engineering skill that designed and built these machines in the pre-computer era.

The NSW Rail Museum ran steam train shuttles on Sunday, October 20 between Penrith and Springwood in the Blue Mountains. The Beyer-Garrett 6029 took its passengers (and those who stopped to watch it pass) on a journey back in time. The sound of its whistle echoing from Penrith Valley up to the lower mountains was spine-tingling, as was the first glimpse of steam as this grand old lady raced through the railway cutting just below Lapstone. It’s amazing to think that she was built in the pre-computer era of the 1950s.

The 6029 is also a reminder of just how far our engineering capability has advanced in the relatively short space of 70 years. I recently wrote about the AutoHaul driverless train project that engineers from my client Calibre helped to deliver for Rio Tinto. AutoHaul is the world’s first automated heavy-haul long-distance rail network. Its trains run over 1,700 kilometres of track, delivering iron ore of from 14 mines to ports along the North-west coast of Western Australia and are considered the world’s longest robot.

Please enjoy the sight of the lovingly restored Beyer-Garrett 6029 steam train as she raced towards Springwood on October 20. Then admire the awe-inspiring sight of the AutoHaul driverless train stretched over several kilometres of the Kimberley in Western Australia.

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