Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tin hares in the Illawarra

Continuing with the broad South Coast theme, though diverging from North Wollongong at times, its time to take a peak at the CPH rail motor class. Known affectionately these days as 'tin hares', their ubiquitous presence on Illawarra passenger services in the 1970s and early 1980s produced less affection.

Built for low level passenger demand on light regional and rural branch lines, their deployment on standard commuter services was a travesty. Linked into multiple workings, set on tight timetables and expected to carry full passenger loads during peak times at the end of their working life, they produced an unacceptably inferior service for South Coast passengers during the decade prior to electrification.

Enough grizzling; lets see what they looked like from the outside. Here is your standard 4 car working, roaring northwards to... surprise surprise... North Wollongong.

That train would have been off to Waterfall, where everyone would have tumbled out into a suburban electric service to complete the trip to the State capital.

In this next shot, CPH 5 leads two sisters into North Wollongong station, in early 1985. This train was actually the first service out of Wolllongong after a particularly protracted strike. From memory it was nearly a week's duration.

Moving away from Norff Gong, it is time to head to the place where it all happened, Wollongong itself.  At Wollongong loco depot, two hares slowly baste in the afternoon sun.

On duty in Wollongong east Dock is CPH 37 with a sibling. These were headed up the escarpment to Moss Vale, though it was relatively rare for double CPHs to work up the hill.

As if proof was needed, here is the same train actually on the climb to Dombarton.

Returning to the prosaic, here is another 4 car consist, going away from the Port Kembla terminus.

And to finish up, two shots from up the line. The first is a cracker of CPH 32 heading north with two others in tow. This photo is so good it doesn't deserve to be in our collection, which suggests it was knocked off the internet and inadvertently classified as one of ours. I certainly have no recollection of taking it. To the unknown photographer, apologies.

Finally, this one comes from an earlier period. CPHs top and tail a CTH trailer car into Helensburgh, with a Wollongong-bound service.

Until next time!