The announcement of 4833's 50th birthday on the Goodwin Alco blog this week prompted me to think about its role in sustaining one of NSW's longest running mainline tourist operations - the mighty Cockatoo Run.
Quite self-evidently, 4833 arrived on NSW rails in October 1961. It spent nearly all of its years in public ownership allocated to either the Junee or Broadmeadow depots. This meant that I rarely saw it trundling around, which didn't distress me entirely as there was always another 164 examples of this class of locomotive to catch one's attention.
The first time that this particular member of the 48 class moved into my Praktica's cross-hairs was in 1983, when a nicely-candied 4833 dragged a South Coast passenger into Central.
A half dozen years later the Senior Train Hunter (STH) remained sufficiently alert as 4833 headed south through Maldon curve with three empty cement wagons.
It was nearly another half dozen years before 4833 drew its existence to my attention - this time very early one weekday morning at the now defunct Rozelle yard. 4833's load this appearance was composed by empty grain wagons collected from several now-closed inner city grain receival facilities on the now-closed Metropolitan goods line (seeing a pattern here?).
Around this time 4833 was regularly performing the duties as the ACDEP shunter at Eveleigh, which was a prescient responsibility for later years. However, in 1994 4833 was almost at the end of its tenure within public ownership.
A period of uncertainty existed until it was purchased by the private consortium, Goodwin Alco, who have operated it ever since from their base at Eveleigh.
In many ways, 4833's later years have certainly been more interesting than the time that it spent under its original owners, as the following photographs show. One of 4833's enduring relationships has been with 3801 Ltd, and especially with the haulage of the Cockatoo Run to Moss Vale via the South Coast. Here it is captured in 1998 running around its train.
Not all activities in private ownership have been glamorous - in 2001 4833 was shoe-horned between three Silverton 442s on freight duties as it reversed at Sydneham station to be fuelled at Meeks Road XPT depot.
Another relationship of note has been with Countrylink. 4833 has spent time as the XPT Depot shunter, which includes the important role of conveying XPT passenger cars for attention at Chullora or Flemington. On one such trip, the loco is hardly taxed as it rumbles through Canterbury in 2005
By the mid-2000s the Cockatoo Run emanated from Sydney. This day in 2007 saw 4908 getting ready to drag its slightly more elderly cousin and four passenger cars out through the yard.
These days 4833 remains a resident of Eveleigh, continuing to desport the livery it wore for its first two decades. A year ago it was found by your correspondent in residence alongside another Goodwin Alco restoration effort.
So, 4833, happy birthday! Here's to the next 50 years.....