It is time for another installment in 'What went past the back fence at North Wollongong?' - this time covering diesel-hauled coal trains. My 4 January 2014 post carries a swag of photographs covering steam-hauled coalies, and you electric-loving fiends will not be left out as I have a few snaps of electric-hauled coalies too, just waiting for a future post.
But now, to bust the myth that coal on the Coast meant double 48s (though 99% of the time from 1964 to 1994 it did!), here goes with a smattering of battered and torn slides and prints of (mainly) other types of diesels hauling the black diamond.
Before 48s there were 70s.. and in the early 1960s 7001 and 7009 got to tread the mainline with one such service.
Then this was no doubt a complete surprise - a trialling 49 and the class leader no less. No wonder the shot is framed crookedly. Thought to be around September 1963.
The late 1970s was not a period of high fashion in Wollongong. If there was colour in anything, it was likely to be the wrong hue. This partially explains the colour combination in the next train, led by double BHP D class locos. Just why anyone would bother painting a CHS coal wagon in gloss is beyond me. It looks rather dandy in the afternoon sun.
Sorry if you got the idea that this would be a 48 free zone. Here's a couple, with 4847 leading 48159 in the first shot and two 48s on the Coalcliff coalie in the second. Both are morning shots from 1980 or so, which suggests that I was too scared of the bull in the paddock on the sunny side to cross the lines (using the underpass at the creek of course) with my then-new Practika camera.
It wasn't all double 48s. Sometimes a mainlner would be conscripted - such as on this evening in 1980ish when 4419 got the 2nd loco job.
Around the 1980s a series of terrific NSW rail photography books emerged, like Units in Focus. Cracking photography by real pros with serious lenses. They all told stories of big lash-ups, even quad workings over the Liverpool Ranges. Stuff almost unheard of on the Coast on those days and now, of course, routine to the point of mundane.
The closest we seemed to get to the big locos in the Illawarra was on weekends, when some serious coalies ran in from the west on Sunday afternoons - at least that is when I saw them. So here are three, and the first is triple 80s - 41, 23 and 34on a down coal headed to the Inner Harbour.
Next up is another all-Alco offering - this time an 80 and a 44 lead 44212 back to the big smoke.
And the third offering from that period involes 8027, 8016 and 8032. I have great memories of these trains passing, as they usually were working up into the higher notches. Whereas 48s burbled along, these mainliners made time.
By the late 1980s we were into well into the candy era. Just didn't sit well at the front of a coal train, as shown by these double 81s.
While things then got fairly boring for a while, by the 1990s variety crept into loco workings once more. On 9 May 1993 I managed to get 8027 leading 42204, 8148 and 8182 northward on a coal.
And finally, near to times present. These days its a steady diet of 82s - believe me, they rumble past my residence with alarming frequency. One coal working I have yet to mention is the Metro Colliery working - usually with a 82 top and tail these days. On the 14th day of 2005 8257 one on the end of one such service... Someone needed to do a spot of mowing by then - its starting to interfere with the photography!