Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Farewell 2015

I threatened one more post for 2015 so here it is...I have been reflecting on the 250+ snaps and videos I have taken of trains this year and there are a few personal favourites - as well as quite a few dogs! It didn't take too long to select a personal favourite which is the following shot.

Yep, a couple of humble and tatty 48s stowed at Werris Creek on the 4th day of July this year. Why did I pick it? Well, it was part of a great weekend away in those parts but its a bit of a sentimental favourite too.  Going back a few years my annual photo collection was littered with 48s but these days they are scarce beasts in my hemisphere.  Probably not before time you may well say, but I do fear for their continued operation on the mainlines of NSW.  

If they are to operate then perhaps it will be only with Graincorp on their seasonal wheaties, a condition that I discovered 48215 (nee 48149) to be in on the same day and at the same location.

So, there you have it... these were the only two 48s I saw all year earning their keep.  Sure, I have seen the two butter-menthol hued 48s doing their XPT transfer work around Sydney and a couple of restored/heritage units, but its otherwise been a lean year!  

Even with 165 units in the class I always lapse into thinking that I have tons of shots of every 48 that ever went around. Not quite the case, though I think the case is proved with 48157 which haunts me.

I only have a couple of shots of 48153, the earliest being from 1 March 1984 when it and 4809 (another haunter of mine) were snapped at the Erko end of AcDep shunting the Southern Aurora cars.

And 48161 has been similarly elusive - only got it for the first time in 2009 at Port Kembla squished between a couple of mainliners...

So before I finish off the year I want to thank everyone who has indulged me by visiting this blog over the last year. I don't measure value by page views but getting these shots out and onto this blog is far better in my opinion anyway, than have them festering in some mouldy drawer. 

Fittingly, I will depart this blog for this year with my final train-shot for 2015. It was one of those classic events - know the train is coming, left things to the last moment, broke thong when running to bridge with camera, had to run in bare feet with baby in backpack on-board - get to hear the Alco go through under the bridge with 20 yards to run. Make the effort and get it disappearing around the corner at Hurlstone Park...

Happy New Year... May 2016 bring you all the little Alcos you desire!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Flyer

Hopefully this won't be the last blog for 2015, but it may be.  I trust all have survived Xmas and Santa has been good.

I was leafing through a few spreadsheets this afternoon and was amazed to see that today is the 45th anniversary of the last steam hauled Newcastle Flyer. The honour that day in 1970 went to 3820 but I only have shots of her classmates.  Here to start is a couple of 3813 ascending Hawkemount around 1969 on the Midday Flyer.

3820's immediate sibling, 3821 seemingly standing still but probably rocketing along.

Another one from Hawkemount, this time the evening Flyer with 3822 up front.

The demise of steam haulage of the Flyer was the start of a general deterioration in the service.  By the late 1970s non air conditioned rolling stock was a sometimes replacement, like this day when 4618 took the Flyer out of Sydney.

And here is a little cameo of 3820 - I have great hopes of seeing a black 38 ride again.


Friday, December 18, 2015

A few 48s in Central

Here's a few shots I nearly didn't take.If you are like me, there is never a real lot of time between getting to the station and getting on the train. Usually just enough time to get a pie, muffin, donut (or all three) and a coffee. 

It was only every third of fourth trip that I managed to get out the camera, which was (at the time) a shocking little plastic instamatic. It produced low quality grainy prints which gives the grittiness in the photos I am now about to post.

In 1994 I was chasing 44s, 45s and 442s.  I would stop for those.  Less so their little Alco sisters, the 48s.  Anyway, here are a few to remember from the first half of that year...

The year was only a fortnight old when I found 4804 alongside platform 1, but obviously couldn't be bothered walking over to photograph it up close.

I returned the following day to find the 28th and 31st members of the class tied up against 42212.

I was so happy I even took a second shot - a close up of 4831's cab.

On 18 January I found 4841 hiding behind a real mainline loco.

On 24 April 1994 4859 and 4826 were working a ballast through the yard.

And finally, on a cold winter's evening in June 1994, 4817 was found in the same place as 4804 had been captured earlier in the year.  This time I did walk over.

Ciao for now!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Hey Porter!

With apologies to the late great John R Cash, I thought I would post a few photos of a class of loco that we saw all the time (being Wollongongians) but never thought to hunt down before it was nearly too late. The eight Porters at Australian Iron & Steel's Port Kembla's steelworks.

We never snapped them in action but thankfully the senior photographer worked at Australian Iron & Steel and so risked life, limb, disciplinary charges and an honourable mention in the Illawarra Mercury just before the demise of 75% of the class in early 1975 to get the following four snaps inside the plant.

Here is a line of stored locos. OK, so we can't really blame him for cutting off the front of the first loco.  This was being shot on an Agfa Instamatic which had a viewfinder that indicated the general direction in which the photo would be taken.

Better luck with this side-on shot.

The next two shots show the last hours of the unlucky six locos -Bandicoot, Brolga, Baradine, Burrawa, Bellbird and Badger.

In writing up this post I actually discovered that only Bandicoot had been built by Porter in the USA. Four of the class were built by Clyde and three in the steelworks itself.  And apparently I thought Badger had escaped the fate of its siblings to reside in Dorrigo but authoritative sources (Wikipedia) suggests that it is actually Bantam with Badger's plates. So, it appears I am never too old to learn a couple of things.

Ciao for now!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Xmas tradition continues...

Today LVR and 3801 Ltd ran their annual steam tour for disadvantaged kids out of Central. Always a good and happy scene to pass by on the way to work. Those kids are very special. So are the volunteers who pull it all together.

Here's a few shots of the consist.

Ciao for now!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

An afternoon's constitutional

About 30 years ago I lived adjacent to North Wollongong station for about six months. Despite nearly getting rattled out of bed every time something bigger than a CPH came through it was fine. It was in the last days of pre-electrification and everything was on the coast - 44s, 421s, 45s, 422s and 442s. Even the odd 80 and a myriad of 48s.  And the rolling stock - past condemnation. Squeaky, leaky and decrepit.

And I took nearly no photographs.

Except one afternoon when I should have been studying. And here are some of them.  It was probably early to mid 1985 and it was a dull, cloudy day. And the earthworks for the poles was complete so you knew everything was about to change.

I started my 'break' from study by hanging around the southern end of the down platform. Nipped off a few photos of a two car diesel headed north.

Keen eyed viewers will notice that the overhead pedestrian bridge has been lifted to accommodate the catenerary and that the poles have reached the station from the north.. 

Next through was 48101, a former Dubbo loco, with a four car suburban set.

I won't post two photos of every train, but I will post as many photos of that signal that I can. Its a ripper.

The final from this location was 4899 rolling with empty BHP BLXAs and Government CHs. It was probably headed off to Corrimal Colliery, from the look of the consist, The Gipps Road level crossing is still in operation, with a car scooting over the lines in the distance.

Then I took myself off to Victoria Street - after 30 years I can probably confess that I walked a direct line (if I could remember). It didn't seem like trespassing in those days. 

I had plonked myself on a bit of an embankment on the western side of the line near the old Federal Cokeworks but didn't get much passing traffic.  So after taking my life in my hands (by walking through the narrow Victoria Street road underpass) I ended up on the eastern side which had the original alignment for the Mount Keira coal mine tramway and the Shell fuel siding.  There was still an old water column still in evidence and the alignment can be made out, just.

Then it was back to photographing trains.  I didn't record the order and the negatives are gone, so here is just a selection. First, another two cr diesel set headed into Wollongong.

Candy 4808 on an up local passenger service. Its marker lights show how gloomy it really was.

4456 on a passenger service from Sydney. I love this shot as much for the semaphore signals as the train itself.

Another one of the signals, this time with 4860 on a local passenger.

Now for the last train - 4859 with a very short ballast.

I'll wrap things up with a final shot of the signals.

All in all, a very good walk.

Ciao for now!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

46s at rest

Just thought I'd start the week with a few shots of 46 class electrics stowed at Port Kembla from 1989 to 1994. Not for any reason in particular except that they were rather interesting looking beasts that ended up wearing distinctive liveries under their common hue of coal.

To start, three shots of 46s in Indian Red. Throught the wire and under the wire here are 4604 and 4605

Then 4619, carrying a memorial to Valley Heights loco depot.

Then the custard pot 4606.

Next up, 4626 and 4630 at the same spot on 6 February 1993.

Going to duck over to the nearby coal loader for this next one. 4606 had lost its custard pot scheme by this time, but it still retained its coal dust overlay. The date was 29 October 1994.

 And to wrap up, Boxing Day was usually a day to find a bounty of locos in every depot. In 1994 4613 was to found peaking out from behind a Tangara set.

House cleaning is calling. Better wind this up here.

Ciao for now!

Monday, November 9, 2015

This morning's capture

Just love the boredom of the commute to work being interrupted by these sorts of workings.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Alcos at Central

Work has to wait. Paced these three in from Redfern. Not sure what it's all about, but it's a good omen for the week.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

More on a little green mogul

About three and a half years ago I posted a solitary shot of 2535 in its guise as shunter at Bulli Colliery.

For a vintage steam loco that operated well into the 1970s we have very few shots but I did manage to scrape a few more together from the virtual family album.  One of these shots dates from the early to mid-60s owing to the youthful parlance of on of my uncles, captured in the cab.  The remainder are definitely close to the end of its working life.

So, if you want to read more, go to:

If you want to just relive a few more memories, just scroll down...

Ciao for now