Apologies to those who may have logged on earlier today. I was experimenting with the use of scheduled publications of blog posts and it seems that I have some more experimenting to do to before it works out properly.
Now, time for a re-posting - this time hopefully slightly more intelligible....
After a hectic Christmas I have found a bit of time to sneak another post for 2012 into the blogosphere before returning to paid employment. Lets travel back to the near future, or the near immediate past - to 29 years ago. That Christmas in 1982 was very special as I had just taken possession of the keys to my first car, a maroon Holden Gemini with the ominous number plate ‘MAL’. Having survived that Christmas, I decided to take the Gemini on a solo shake down cruise to Albury.
My enthusiasm for the new car and this venture saw me setting out from Wollongong in the pre-dawn hours on 27 December 1982. That was my first mistake.
My second mistake was to set an unrealistic goal - to get to Goulburn in time to capture the Spirit of Progress. Well, bad weather and over optimistic navigating got me nearly to Goulburn just in time to see the Spirit depart northwards. Hoping that the darkness would lift, I paddled back to Marulan just before 6:00am.
I did have time to set up for a shot which I knew wasn’t going to work, and it didn’t. Still, 29 years later, if you look hard, you can work out that that the Spirit was truly once a majestic train being hauled by a 422 and a 42 class combination, making up time.
Having stuffed one photograph at dawn, I should have headed for home. Instead I pressed on to Goulburn for the second time that morning. Pleasingly, 42106 was in charge of an up morning passenger. Here it sits in Goulburn station, about to haul two nicely repainted carriages as part of its consist to Sydney.
So far we have two photographs - one blurred, the other with a pole growing out of the centre of the train. Did I mention that I’m not good in the mornings?
Pressing on southwards, nothing was running at all, it seemed. Arriving at Cootamundra at least the loco depot had some interesting exhibits.
Apart from the 600 class diesel train, the 421, 48 and 80, lurking down the yard was CTH trailer No. 55 and a 600 class trailer which I think was numbered 728 as it was the only ‘candy’ member of its class at this time. Here’s a closer snap of the pair.
I am not sure just why I didn’t stop at Junee on the southward journey. Youthful inexperience I suppose. Anyway, I pushed onwards towards my destination and was mighty pleased to see a blob headed my way near Henty. The blob turned out to be the Intercapital Daylight Express, with 42207 and a 44 on the front of a power van, eight passenger cars and two vans. A very tidy load, even for holiday times.
Because its such a mixture, Mr Smarty Pants must have decided to take a second shot of the rear end.
As I had my passport I crossed into Wodonga where a reasonable stable of fine blue beasts were corralled, as evidenced in the next four snaps. First up, a couple of Y class shunters, Y138 and Y170.
The next steed was S302, sadly quite as a mouse.
A couple of T classes rounded out the depot’s allotment - T351 and T366.
Although it was only late afternoon, I was stuffed from my early start. Lodgings at the Albury Caravan Park were secured, and then it was back out to North Albury to catch a glint shot of an under-threat South Mail. Although it was well into the twilight, magnificent light streamed across the fields until two minutes before 42211 appeared in charge of its train. So, the day finished much as it started, in the dark – curses! So, 29 years later I present a ‘post glint shot’.
And then, owing to my first mistake of the day, I fell very fast asleep for about 12 hours.
The return journey was similarly bereft of trains. I did capture two of note. The first was 42108 and 4431 on a Sydney-bound freight, carrying a load of bulk paper bound for use in the newspaper or magazine industry.
The second train was 42202 on a rake of empty steel wagons heading north from Junee. I tried to chase it, but lets just say that its crew were even more keen to get to civilisation than I was.
I arrived in Cootamundra, still with hours to go, the weather closed in completely. As my nice new Gemini was getting pounded with wind and rain, I gave up on photographic pursuits in favour of a nice sedate return to the Illawarra.
I really learnt a lot that trip, about driving long distances, believing bad weather forecasts and staying at home, the futility of chasing trains between Christmas and New Year and the limitations of 4 cylindered cars on the Hume Highway. Still, rack it for experience and move on, I say...