As its mid-January, there’s still time for a couple more January family holiday stories. At least issuing these stories encourages a few family members to log on to see how they are being committed to posterity.
It also gives me a chance to remember what summers used to be like... caravans so small the rest of the family had to stand outside if one wanted to get changed, Toranas so hot you couldn’t sit on the back seat in your stubbies and, well, you know the rest.
About 31 years ago one of my family members decided we should go on a holiday in January, to the airless Bundanoon. That summer was one of those summers. For the most part it was too hot to photograph trains during day. It was even too hot in the evening to walk down to the station to have a chat to the signalman in his box to see what was coming. Anyway, here’s a small selection of what we saw those few days...
One of the loveliest combinations on the main south at that time was an Alco double-header. When we scored 4405 and 4516 on a goods it was never going to get better.
This next photograph has been retouched slightly, in an attempt to lighten some detail on the lead unit hauling an Inter-Capital Daylight Express service to the southern border. While the second unit, a 42 class, is clearly visible, unfortunately the 442 leading the train remains persistently dark. This shade is not entirely the fault of the photographer – 442s seemed to be regularly doused in coal dust or some such blackening agent in those days!
OK, so there was one loco combination possibly better than double Alcos – and that was double GMs. So when 42109 and a 422 trundled through one morning on an up limestone, it was very pleasant indeed.
I said earlier that the evenings were more bearable for humans than daytime, which probably explains why I can proffer a few more examples of rail workings at this time of the day. First up is 44237 on a down wheat train.
Then it was time for a number of the ‘name trains’ – the expresses working the south of the State. From the north 4461 arrived on a down Southern Highlands Express.
We also usually hung around for the Riverina Express. On this day it hadn’t succumbed to the heat and was heading to Sydney just as it was starting to get really dark.
Finally, here’s a train that ran in the dark through Bundanoon for probably ten months of the year. It was the all-stations sweeper from Goulburn. The benefit of photography in high summer is that even after the sun had gone, one could still snap 44223 humming whilst passengers embarked and alighted.
All in all, a terrific holiday!