The Short Version
Monday April 19, 2021 saw the operation of a weedicide special over the current full operating length of Pete’s Hobby Railway at Junee in the Riverina area of NSW. Unlike in previous recent years, Junee has been blessed with frequent good rains, followed by periods of warm but not heatwave summer sun. This has resulted in a quick proliferation of weeds and other growths along parts of the PHR rail corridor requiring the operation of a Weedicide Train.
The Informative Illustrated Version
Monday April 19, 2021 saw the operation of a weedicide special over the current full operating length of Pete’s Hobby Railway. Unlike in previous recent years, Junee in recent months has been blessed with frequent good rains, followed by periods of warm but not heatwave summer sun.
Whilst these condition have been great for Riverina farmers who are seeing their best grain crops in many years, it has resulted in the rapid growth of weeds and other growths within the PHR rail corridor.
Earlier this month, the operation of a weedicide train had been the subject of discussion amongst several PHR volunteers. After one false date when our regular Ruston driver was unavailable (he was undertaking a First Aid course), Monday afternoon, 19/4, was selected for the train’s run. Luckily, the day dawned sunny, but with the occasional cloud. It was not overly hot, with minimal winds – good for spraying.
The PHR weedicide equipment consists of a 37 litre capacity plastic container, in which our mixture is made up, using a commercial product “Weedpro 540”, a bio-herbicide of which the active component is 540 g/L Glyphosate. This is a Group M Herbicide, a non-selective water soluble herbicide for the control of a wide range of annual and perennial weeds n a variety of situations. In brief, what it hits, it kills. How soon depends on a variety of conditions, however results are noticeable within a week or so and remains as such for an extended period.
A small motor powered by a 12-volt battery pumps the mixture through a flexible hose about three metres or so in length, thus providing for low-pressure spraying as controlled by the operator.
All the equipment is totally portable, being normally conveyed in a single passenger carriage, propelled or pushed by the PHR’s Ruston locomotive.
With Driver Ben in charge and Weedicide Officer Phil looking after the actual spraying, the special train departed “Loco” shortly after 1400 hours, for several very slow runs over what is currently the full length of the PHR operational track. The lengthy flexible spraying hose allows for the weedicide to be spread as needed, well outside the immediate rail corridor.
Two hours later, the job was completed … the crew and myself then retired into the Storage Shed for a well-earned cuppa, another day’s activities on Pete’s Hobby Railway successfully completed!
Until my next Report