Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Flying Pig, 3642.

RTM's 3642 ran a flying tour to Port Kembla Inner Harbour on 3 September 1967, whilst wearing the sober NSWGR Black. By all accounts it was a fairly dull day, not made any more sunny by the deterioration in these slides from the family vault. Still, they show a loco in fine condition, with a decent crowd of appreciative locals and travellers alike.

Here is the tour cresting the rise into Wollongong.

Then it was caught running around the inner harbour loop.

And coming back through Mount St Thomas.

Back at Wollongong Station the loco was watered while standing at the up platform, amongst a throng of admirers.

And then it was back off to Sydney, to complete the outing.

3642 has made many more trips to the 'Gong since, most recently in July 2013. It's turned out to be a very dependable and popular visitor to the Coast since that trip 46 years ago this week.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Central in the 80s, at night

I am no photographer, especially after dark, and now I am going to prove it in a three-part series.

I walked through Central and Sydney Terminal hundreds of times in the 1980s, and particularly in the latter half when I was commuting from the coast. Usually I was rocketing through, late for a train. Sometimes there was a chance to stop and smell the diesel exhaust in the air, usually on Sunday nights. So here is a collection of shots taken of mainline diesels at those times, things that seemed fairly humdrum then....

First up, the ubiquitous XPTs. I must have been very mellow to get the camera out of the bag for this shot.

Electric locos made it into Central rarely after the electrification to Newcastle went through. The major exceptions were to work the Gold Coast Motorail, the Brisbane Limited, and successor services. On dusk, 8605 is on one such service.

For a period, much later in the evening the West Mail and northern mail trains were also worked by electrics, and here is class leader 4601 being readied to go west on what was, from memory, a two car plus van consist.

Onto diesels... here is a rather daggy and slightly overexposed 4480 resting on one of the relief roads. It could be the 'spare', as the Railways often kept a backup loco at Central to cover a failure.

In keeping with the daggy 44 theme, here is the class leader shut down.

Now I am going to run through a fair proportion of the GM 422 class roster, starting with an immaculate 03.

42209 has just worked an up service from the Southern Highlands, and has been decoupled from its train.

Next up is the 15th member of the 20-strong brigade, tucked away behind a FG carriage.

Possibly my favourite is 42217 peering down the yard.

And to the last of this series, bicentennial 42218 in all its glory.

And now for the last word in 80s power... 8144 readying itself at the head of the Spirit.

That's all for now: be back soon....

Friday, August 16, 2013


4458 is one of those non-desscript workhorses built for the NSWGR which has more than paid its way over the last five decades.

Entering service in  February 1961, sadly I don't have a few photograph of it in pristine condition;whenever I or members of my train-hunting family came  across 4458 it always looked a bit shabby, or slightly ridiculous.

One of our earliest shots of 4558 was grabbed at South Grafton loco depot in the mid 1980s, after it had received the 'reverse' livery introduced in 1979.

A little later on that decade it was caught hauling a passenger express in northern NSW... The patrons of this service that day were fed from a carriage more at home on the Nullabour.

From the sublime to the ridiculous... as it was just in its declining years in government service, 4458 scored a not-quite-right coat of paint. It was then dispatched to work the yo-yo, possibly still the dirtiest train in NSW.  Here it is in the early 1900s at Moss Vale.

I am missing a shot of 4458 in another preceding livery... I have the smallest of partial shots of it following 4405 in Central whilst in a red terror livery. This would have preceded its blue period.

Anyway, back to the near past and back to the drab and ridiculous. This time 4458 in drab, while 4488 does ridiculous as Priscella, combining to blast a trippie through marrickville.

Sublimity has been restored as 4458 heads towards its inevitable demise. A couple of years ago the handsome IRA all-silver livery was no sooner applied than the scourge of most Alcos, oil leaks, sprang amidships.

And then I rediscovered this veteran at perhaps its own Boot Hill... resting out the back of Goulburn loco in the winter sun only a month ago. It looks like it may be going nowhere fast, job done after 52 years of service?

Yawn, NRs...

Now this sounds like a very boring set of shots, but they are a relatively colourful and somewhat groundbreaking loco (in Australian standards anyway).

When NRs commenced in the mid 1990s, they heralded a new era of higher horsepower locomotion.  

In near to original condition, though wearing a Pacific National signboard, NR88 leads a sister through Coniston with the evening steely about a decade after its introduction to service.

NRs were groundbreaking in other ways. Several were allocated to dedicated services, and were painted accordingly. Here a weathered NR57 sits in its Seatrain livery behind an equally tatty NR53, in its Trailerail scheme.

The third of the original trio of dedicated liveries was the grey Steelink, shown here at Maitland on NR58 on an Adelaide to Brisvegas intermodal.

After the initial trio got a coat, not much happened for more than a decade. The second phase of special liveries celebrated passenger services, rather than freight haulage.  First up, two examples of the first Indian Pacific oral blue livery, once more at Central.

I think NR26 was the lead loco on that occasion.

A nice contrast to blue is red, and NR75 got the red treatment in honour of the Ghan passenger train. Here it is at Footscray in the mid noughties.

One of Australia's least run passenger services is the Southern Spirit. That didn't stop Pacific National painting NRs 84 and 85 into a fairly attractive livery. Here NR85 tails two vanilla NRs through the Hunter.

The most recent livery in honour of a passenger train was applied to NR18. Here is is at, you guessed it.... Central, having just come off the Indian Pacific: its reason for uniqueness just beside it.

Its time to finish with possibly the best of the set... I really like the Southern Cross flavour to the current Pacific National design, and not in some brogan sort of way either.  Here is NR62 leading a couple of sisters through Moss Vale recently.

Until next time!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Thomas rides again...

Am thinking of changing the name of this blog to 'things happening at Central'. This morning's walk through enabled me to grab a few snaps of 1803 aka Thomas the Tank Engine.

Thomas looked like he needed a rest after hauling a four car Tangara.... lol!

Thomas's big cousin, a boxy Alco 44211, was hanging around to make sure he didn't get into trouble.

Will try to post something about a place other than Central in the next blog!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Thursday's Special

Having received tips from various newsgroups throughout the day about the RTM's South Australian Aurora tour, I headed to Central for the second time this week.

I am old enough to remember the real one, and tonight's version had enough to remind me of those happy times.

The first view...

Apart from the power van and eight sleepers, there were two fully laden lounge cars (including a certain former Deputy Prime Minister, I think), and three dining cars. Dinner looks promising...

Up front there was a welcome imposter in the form of CF4409 as the second unit.

And leading the consist, the venerable 4520...

I do hope the door seals are better than usual, as its going to be a chilly night on the Highlands tonight!

An on time departure was made as 18:39 hours, into a wintry and wet Sydney Yard.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Today's dance

Just a quickie from Central today... The changeover of NRs for the Indian Pacific occupies many of my Wednesday lunchtimes, and today was no different. 

NR27 did the honours of bringing the up Indian Pacific into Sydney this morning, assisted by DL39. Journey over, the NR awaits a crew to head over to Chullora.

NR28 has the corresponding role. Here they are, metaphorically nose to nose.

NR28 then collected the DL, and went off to sit at the head of the single motorail wagon.

Should be an on-time departure this afternoon.