Saturday, October 16, 2021

To the Nation's Capital (in 1971)

I went off looking for something for this blog about three weeks ago and fell into a big pit of information.  Since then I have been sluicing through the electronic versions of the Railway Digest and the Railway News, plus paper copies of some/most of the Roundhouse, discovering rail tours of the 1960s and 1970s.  So far I have logged over 400 tours - and these are the ones that actually ran, as many didn't. I do intend posting the details of these tours, once I get through what I have committed myself to.  

In doing this digging it became apparent that there was a real and perfectly understandable shift in the emphasis in tours over the course of the decade to 1973.  In the early 1960s tours were largely smaller affairs, concentrating on vulnerable branch lines and venerable classes of locomotives.

By the mid 1960s the emphasis was on mainline runs, using modern steam power.  Then, as the decade closed the emphasis was on desperation to use steam before it disappeared.  All perfectly understandable and it led to some amazing tours.  I think this era started with a RTM tour to Wallangarra using 3827, 3616, 5442, 3022, 3524, 3617, 3233, 3390, 5909, 3036, 4876 and 4608 - 12 locos!  The ARE's weekend tour from Melbourne to Merriwa in 1969 used 17 locos - 42207, 3801, 4638, 3820, 6019, 3067, 3046, 3214, 5902, 3088, 2705, 3813, 4609, 3642, 4639, 3122 and 42212.

Then there are stories of a single 30 tank starting other tours by lifting an 11 car train out of Sydney Terminal. Things I wish I had seen. 

And this all came about because I was looking for a date for a RTM tour from Sydney to Canberra held on 14 March 1971, using 3801 to and from Goulburn, then combinations of 3229, 5212 and 5271 on the Canberra line. 

The Digest tour report explains the day: 

   .... 3801 led the Museum’s Canberra tour out of Sydney at 6.14 a.m. on Sunday 14/3, on the first step to Goulburn. Failure of 42206 on a down goods in the Picton-Bargo section and single line working  from Penrose to Tallong caused delays, which were however just added incentive for the crews of 3229 and 5212 to pick up time between Goulburn and Bungendore. 5274, with its odd tender, was in charge from Bungendore through to Canberra, arriving there perfectly on time. After a short bus tour, most passengers re-joined the train, now hauled by 3229 which had come over tender first from Bungendore as a result of inoperability of the Queanbeyan turntable. 5212 was attached leading at Queanbeyan. At Bungendore, No. 18 passenger ran through (having brought over some passengers who had participated in a more extensive bus tour) and the engines were interchanged to have 3229 leading on the three final sunset photos. 3801 took over again at Goulburn for the run to Sydney.

At least one of my uncles was on this tour, so we have a few shots of it.

This first shot shows 3229 and 5212 about to replace 3801 at Goulburn on the outward journey.

And here is a snap of 5274 with its 'odd tender' travelling over (I think) the Molonglo River at Burbong.

And here is a nice afternoon capture of 3229 again leading 5212 on the way back, on one of the three 'sunset' shots taken after Bungendore.

All three shots were taken as Agfa slides, which have deteriorated badly in the 50+ years since this tour. They are now as crazed and speckky as your scribe so, apologies for our condition!



Saturday, September 18, 2021

Regional Japan 2015

Nearly six years ago I was fortunate to travel to Japan for the second time, which is a great place for railways generally.  International travel is probably off the agenda for most people for a fair while, and when it returns it will almost certainly be a massive hassle just to get into another country.  So, fortunate I was!

The Japanese love their trains, past and present.  And their present is our future, if we are smart about it.  Most people rightly associate Japanese railways with the massive Tokyo suburban network - 158 lines, 4,715 kilometres of track, 2,210 stations and about 40 million rides taken daily (according to Wikipedia).  Here are a couple of fairly boring shots around Shinjuku to make the point.

If not the Tokyo metro, then people associate Japan with the Shinkansen bullet trains. These were snapped on 24 November 2015.

But the purpose of this post is to cover the really neat semi-rural railways which also exist.  Between Tokyo and Kyoto lies Mount Fuji. An electrified line runs partway up the side of Fuji, and includes a zig zag (switchback) and a rack railway.  The trains aren't a lot to get enthused about, but the line is a scenic delight. This shot at Hakone-Itabashi on 27 November 2015 demonstrates the first point.

This 'through the front window' shot of the Hakone Tozan line shows a switchback and the general grade, necessitating the use of rack track.

Getting into the rural parts of Japan uncovers a better style of station building, such as this one at Myonshita (take care pronouncing that one).

But mainly, it is system where architectural merit is subsumed by functionality, which is fair enough given the transport task the system faces each day.

Back to Australia with the next post.  Just have a bit of cabin fever at the moment.


Saturday, September 11, 2021

Albury Town Part II

Found a few more shots goings on around the border.  While I sit here, literally waiting for paint to dry, I figured I might as well do something useful with them

First up, 42206 and X51 sit along side each other, circa 1975. May be a bit later than that.

Next, the utilitarian face of GM.... 42202 circa 1983.

Later or earlier that same 1983 day, I can't remember, 42202 was paired with X44 to shunt Albury yard.

On 27 December 1983, 42202's immediately younger sister was also on duty, hauling the InterCapital Daylight Express into town..  And for you youngsters, this is what all railway staff looked like in the Eighties in Albury.

And this is what an express passenger train looked like 40 years ago.  They look the same today.

Enjoy!  Back to the paint.


Tuesday, July 13, 2021

The trouble with someone else's history

Here is the penultimate collection of photograph reels I have in my collection, but were taken by Ian Brady way back in 1955.  Several posts from 2014 explain how these arrived in my possession, which I won't cover here for sake of brevity.

The date is 1 August 1955 and it seems that Ian was in the company of others when he visited the Port Kembla area to photograph the industrial locos working that day. As with anything from nearly 66 years ago, the photos are both historic and (sometimes) a bit puzzling.

The first photo is no puzzle - it is 1806 and it is in steam.  Port Kembla was not this loco's last stop - in 1957 it was sold to the Wallarah Coal Company and worked the Catherine Hill Bay railway for a further 6 years.

More of Ian's photos containing little mystery include these three.  First up, PWD 79 sneaking out of the shot... 

Second, PWD 28 - otherwise known as Kembla -  dealing with some troublesome S trucks. 

Thirdly, PWD 75... another diminutive shunting loco showing its elegant heritage.

Now things get murkier, at least if you are relying on my brain cells.  From memory this was one of several electric locos used to shunt the ER&S plant.  Happy to hear otherwise.

And ER&S's steam shunter????

And here is, I think, a Lysaght loco - Alison or Kathleen or somesuch young lady. (Now confirmed as the former - thanks Terry).

And here is the greatest mystery for me.  Initially I had this loco pegged as E18, which now resides at Thirlmere in far better shape.  But it could be the loco once called Bogan. That loco was based at the Port Kembla steelworks between 1939 and 1959, but I have only a very poor comparison photo so am not sure.  Bogan had a huge role in Illawarra railways - hauling the first trains in the region before the South Coast railway was linked to the wider NSW network.  So here it is - guess away!!!!

Happy to field any suggestions!




Saturday, June 5, 2021

Orange was the new black at Spencer Street in 1993

I have never been a big fan of the V/Line livery, though as it recedes into history I am more inclined to appreciate for its 80s ambience.

I got to see a fair bit of V/Line orange in the early 1990s, thanks to my employer (the NSW Government) insisting on sending me to Melbourne for long stretches to partake in various legal proceedings. I wasn't the defendant in these proceedings either, for the record.

I was never silly enough to admit I simply loved these trips - so they kept sending me.  But it was the best of times - breakfast at Pelligrinis, a race around Melbourne's hobby shops at lunchtime, afternoons watching trains roar into and out of Spencer Street station, plus the bonus of pre-XPT rail travel to and from Victoria. If I stayed down over a weekend there were tram rides, footy games with real pies and beer and a pretty good nightlife.  A Sunday stroll out to Dynon was always worth it too.  

Anyway, little wonder that the following photos taken on 7 June 1993, a mere 28 years ago now, feel just like a couple of years ago.  This particular trip was a quickie - down on the night of the 6th of June and return the next. I failed to photograph the 81 or G on the MEX, but I did get Y150 shunting the bum of the train as I headed off to work.

In the opposite direction, A66 temporarily diverted this public servant from the intended purpose of his trip.

The afternoon was pretty productive.  In no particular order I managed to photograph A70 on an up Ballarat train.

I always liked the way the trains needed double-stacking at Spencer Street.  I have this next photo recorded as N469 on a Geelong train, with P20 behind it.

And P20 for posterity.

I could never hang out to departure time to eat in the Sydney Express's dining car, so usually dinner was taken at Spencer Street's fairly ordinary dining room, or in a local hotel.  I managed to butcher this photo of A60, seemingly newly repainted, on the 6:25pm Bairnsdale train.  Probably shaking from cold or hunger, or both.

Returning from dinner there was a very pleasant surprise.  R766 rolled in on the 'Just Jeans Special'.  It was the first time I had seen a R class in steam up close.  A very impressive sight.

And then it was off to bed, which was someone down the back of this following train.  8166 was the less than glamorous power up front, but it did its job.

Not a bad day at the office.



Thursday, April 29, 2021

Reminiscing about the near past

When thinking about blog posts I always seem to be reaching for the file folder called '1966' or '1978'.  Sure, these were golden periods of the NSW railways, although 1978 was more brown than golden.

There has been another golden period since in my usually ill-considered opinion - from about 1998 to 2007.  So, lets wind back the clock a mere 15 years, to 1 May 2006.  It was during a period that I had many reasons to visit Canterbury, Dullo and Marrickville - almost all associated with work.  Now I am out of things I can confess to writing many a government brief on the seats at Canterbury station, stopping only to snap the passing traffic. And we think working away from the office is a new thing! Anyway, on 1 May 2006 the youngster and I snaffled many trains - here are six...

The day started with a tidy trippy led by 4483 and 4471. 

.. quickly followed by 2203 and two CLPs headed for the Illawarra... I stuffed the going away shot (at least the 422 is in focus)...

Jumping down the line to Marrick Vegas we scored 44208 and KL81 top and tailing a container train out of Port Botany....

Out of the XPT depot, 4833 did what it does best... smoke.

Just over the weeds, GL105, 4903 and EL51 arrived from points west/north.

And then 4708 and 4458 arrived... 

Ho hum... more Alcos... stuffed the arriving but not the going away shot... 4503 in its Big Red Tomato livery with a more sedate liveried 4468.

That was six trains, but the bonus seventh train involved 4701 and two dilapidated GMs.

I have just managed this entire blog without posted a PacNat blue loco, demonstrating it was a golden era indeed!



Sunday, March 7, 2021

Up the Creek

Hi all, I am still around!

Promise to get back into things as the weather turns colder, especially if Souths start losing a few.

I have coincidentally come across a real live reader of this blog - sorry if I sound surprised  but my main readership appears to come from regions of the former Soviet Union.

This 'live' reader mentioned he most enjoyed the stuff from up north so, Brendan, these are for you mate!

The back story here is that around 1982 (could have been earlier) Dad shot off for a few days with two mates.  When they got to Werris Creek they asked permission to photograph the locos.  They were given the okay to do so as long as they didn't move any of the locos around.. Turns out a group of visiting photographers several weeks earlier have 're-positioned' the locos to enhance their photographs.  Cheeky buggers!