Just back from a few days in the Central West of NSW, observing the near wipe-out of all railway infrastructure and operations in that region. Nowhere is this scorched-earth policy more in evidence than at Orange. Before I show a few shots of Orange over the years, its worth seeing what is left - the station and platform, two roads, the shed and the signal box in the distance.
It wasn't always this way - even fairly recently. Here is a snap of 5390 shunting a packed Orange yard around 1970.
In the mid and late 1980s Orange was always worth a drop-by, although it was a lesser venue than Lithgow, Bathurst or Parkes. For example, in October 1985 I found 8046 leading another 80 and a 48 on a Sydney-bound freight, with 7332 adjacent.
Even five years later in August 1990 the Dubbo fuel train was often a daytime visitor.
It wasn't all freights - Orange was 'home' to the Silver City Comet. In the next three photographs it is seen in Orange in May 1977, May 1978 and at the end of its days - in June 1988.
The Comet was the signature rail service, but from the late 1970s the Central West Express became an XPT service. Four years later we snapped one such service on the outskirts of Orange.
And to wrap up this installment,HPC 402 was caught at Orange station on 25 March 1993 during its numerous trips to the region when involved in radio testing for the then State Rail Authority.
Will take a 'now and then' look at Orange East Fork in the near future.