Australia Sugar Cane Ry Help

I just returned from my first trip down-under - a two week cruise with an extra week of touring. Part of a tour out of Cairns was a late evening trip to a zoo near Palm Cove. About halfway between Cairns and Palm Cove, the bus crossed several recent and serviceable grade crossings over what appeared to be 2 foot gauge rail lines. Then at one round-about, I saw a small yellow car tagging along behind a moving train of open rack cars. My first impression was that it was some sort of caboose with a yellow strobe light, but as the bus got close at one point, it became clear it was cab-less 0-C-0 side rod locomotive pushing at the end of the train. I was more and more surprised as the bus passed the train and we passed what must have been a 70 or 80 car train of small rack cars moving along at a quite respectable pace. As darkness was falling, we finally overtook the locomotive which appeared to be another yellow 0-C-0 side rod unit, this with a small relatively open cab with three guys squeezed in.

Googling, I found a lot of info on these sugar cane lines at the site:

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confirmed the use of slave units on these lines, but some questions remain:

Do the Mossman operations mentioned on this site extend as far south as Palm Cove, or was this a more local plantation line? Can someone provide a link to a photo of the locos I saw - my attempt from the tour bus did not come out?

Thanks in advance, (or should it be "Good on ya, mate!") Geezer

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The LRRSA (Light Railwy Reseach Soc. of Australia) should be able to give you all the good guts on the sugar cane line that you saw, it's many years since I was up in Q'ld., so am not up to date on who runs where there now. Regards, Bill.

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William Pearce

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