Saturday, September 8, 2012


Its time to continue with my selection of favourite locos (that still exist - as opposed to favourite locos which are now whiskas cans).

Alco-built 4473 is one of my favourites, and these days it looks better than ever, even though its just turned 46 years of age.

When it entered service for the NSW Government Railways in September 1966 it was out-shopped in standard Indian Red livery.  While I do not have a photograph of it in this livery, its second incarnation was the 'reverse tuscan' scheme.  In this guise it was seen through the mighty Praktica lens in January 1979 at Scone, on dusk, hauling a loaded fuel train to points north - Tamworth or Armidale being possible candidates.

Ten years later 4473 wore the same livery - the gawd awful Red Terror scheme.  On a Saturday in March 1989 it was found peaking out of the Maldon Cement Works siding.

About three years later 4473 was once more headed up the north-west.  This time it  was paired with a newly-painted 48116 on an empty grain train, with the vintage Alco at last being captured with its 'number 1' end leading.

A year later it was still up the north, but mainly confined to cycling up and down the north coast line as a second unit.  In February of 1993 is was snapped following 44202 through Bulliac.

Then it was gone, for a while at least.  Withdrawn in July 1994, it did not trot along rails in anger for another 11 years until returned to service by the Lachlan Alco Group. 

When it did return, it did so in style.  Based for most of its recent life in Eveleigh, it has often found favour to head the Cockatoo Run or ARTC track inspection trains. In 2010 it had just completed a trip of the latter type when I had an opportunity to get a long distance shot of it basking in the afternoon light.

Around the time of its return to service, 4473 was produced as a model in HO scale by Trainorama, as evidenced by the following slightly blurry exhibit.

In recognition of this production, a plaque was affixed to the prototype, as shown in the  last photograph of this sequence.

I am looking forward to seeing 4473 tread the rails for another 46 years.

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